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Fall Meets Promise Creative Orienteering Challenges and Time to Attend National Meets

Only five local Club meets are scheduled this Fall, but they are jewels in the rough, with something different for each event. They are spaced from September to early November and allow Club members ample time to attend A-meets, long events and rogaines, which are presented nationally (see the schedule of local, regional, and national orienteering events).

Before we begin a detailed summary of the Fall local meets, a few general comments are appropriate. Often fall weather in Chicago is dry and delightful, with bright sun cutting through the colored foliage, the smell of autumn in the cool, dry air, and an absence of bugs and poison ivy. After the first frost, usually in early October, the grass and underbrush has wilted and lies flat on the ground, making walking and running off-trail directly through the woods and fields much easier.

But this is Chicago, and winter is never far away. Bring a nylon shell jacket and perhaps a polypro undergarment for good measure. And in a backpack, include a change of clothing and a warm sweater so that you'll be comfortable on the way home.

All meets start with a Beginner's Clinic at 9:30 a.m. for those that need a review of the fundamentals of the sport, and the first start times are usually handed out by 10 a.m.. Competitors may start anytime up until noon. But if you plan to take more than 2 hours to complete your course, please get there early since controls will be picked up beginning at 2 p.m.

Five courses of increasing length and difficulty are always offered. Generally it is a good idea to start with a course you know you can complete easily; if you want more "O" after finishing, you can always mark your map with the next harder course and go out on that one too! No charge for seconds! But be sure you check out at the Finish before driving away...we keep tabs on you and will start a search if you haven't checked out within 3 hours of your start time.

Registration is $8 per punch card (individual or team), with a $3 discount for Club members. Extra maps are $2 and compass rentals are $1. And the new Club long-sleeved Hanes tee-shirt is only $15 and benefits our Mapping Fund. So without furthur ado, here is a run-down on the five local meets this Fall:

September 8—Willow Springs
Willowbrook (Rich Gaylord)

The first meet of the fall will be at one of our best natural areas... Willow Springs Woods. In addition to the regular courses, Meet Director Rich Gaylord has planned a special Pink Course for athletic beginners and others just looking for a chance to run flat-out in the woods without too much concern for navigation. A Pink Course is as long as a Red Course but as easy to navigate as a White Course. This is a great meet to recommend for your friends who like to run, but are not familiar with using a map and compass while they run. Others may wish to go out on the Pink Course after completing their normal course in order to prepare for some of the longer events this fall.

A couple of good bars, pizza parlors and Polish restaurants are located on Archer Avenue on the north side of the orienteering map, and in the old canal town of Lemont about 3 miles to the southwest. Most have some sort of Sunday menu. And the old Willowbrook Ballroom on Archer Avenue has Sunday tea-dancing to a live orchestra—worth seeing, if not actually doing.

Public Transportation:
Take bus #379 from Midway Bus Terminal at 10:45 a.m. The bus goes south down 88th Avenue 1/2 mile east of Willow Springs Woods. Request the driver to stop at 87th St and walk west across LaGrange Road and through the north part of the map to registration (about 1 mile from bus).
Driving: Take I-55 (Stevenson Expwy.) 13 miles southwest from the Loop. Exit at LaGrange Road-South (aka US-45, Exit 279A), and drive 1.5 miles across the I&M canal to Archer Ave (Route 171). Take Archer Ave southwest 1.5 miles. Turn left on Flavin (Willow Springs) Road, go up the hill and turn left into the forest preserve.

September 15—Deer Grove
Palatine (Dave Macauley)

Giving fit summer runners a challenge, Meet Director Dave Macauley has fashioned a long, LONG championship-level Red Course (10 km minimum) that will take competitors all over this large northwestern forest preserve. After the Club's 2-day A-meet last spring, the Board of Directors has started to consider presenting a long-format national orienteering event in 2003. The Red course in today's meet will be a warm-up trial of such an event. Those not interested in a long, LONG Red course are invited to register for the Green course, which will be of normal Green length.

This meet is the only fall competition that will NOT be presented in the large Palos complex of forest preserves. Accordingly, attendance should be very large if the weather co-operates, and you should plan to arrive early to ensure a parking spot and map. If you need motivation to get up early, Walker Bros. Pancake House (east of Rt 53 on Dundee Road) makes the best baked apple pancake on the planet.

Public Transportation:
A Metra train arrives at the Palatine station on Sundays at 11:24 a.m. from Union Station in Chicago. From there you walk north on Smith Street, past a 19th century cemetery, to the Bike Path which will lead you directly into the Forest Preserve and Registration just prior to the noontime cut-off (2 miles walk).
Driving: Take Dundee Road west from Rand Road and Hwy 53 in Arlington Heights. Turn right (north) on Quentin Road for .5 mile, then left into the forest preserve. Continue straight at the intersection to the parking area in the far southeast section of the preserve.

October 6—Swallow Cliff
Palos Park (Joe Sehnal)

Bordering on the Cap Sauers Holding map, this might be a two-map meet for the Red Course runners; meet directors often are tempted to route advanced courses through the long, open-wooded valleys and ridges for which Cap Sauers is noted. In addition, the District has done extensive cutting and burning of buckthorn, underbrush and non-native plant species in these forest preserves, so running and hiking should be much more open and friendly than you may remember on the Swallow Cliff map. But the downside is that the map may not accurately show vegetation thickness in all areas.

Public Transportation:
Take Pace bus #381 from the 95th Street Terminal (in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway) on the Red elevated line at either 8:30am or 9:30am. Get off bus at end of line at Moraine Valley Community College and walk west on 107th Street one mile to turn south on Hwy 45 (96th Avenue) which takes you across the Sag Channel. Turn east again on Calumet Sag Road (Hwy 83) for half a mile, then turn right on Kean Avenue to Registration. On the return, ask someone in the parking lot to drop you at MVCC where return buses depart every 30 minutes all afternoon.
Driving: From the north, take LaGrange Road-South from Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Exit at cloverleaf just after crossing the Sag Channel onto Hwy 83-East. Turn south on Kean Avenue (next right) and then follow orienteering signs into the parking area.

October 20—Palos North
Lemont (Rachel Ashley)

The new, enlarged map of Palos North which was introduced at last Spring's A-meet and World Ranking Event will be used at this event. In order to promote better orienteering memory, Rachel will ask the Red and Green competitors to begin their courses with NO MAP in their hands...working only from MEMORY!

Memory-O will be featured on the first couple of legs of the courses, after which, a map will be provided. At each Memory Control, a sealed map showing the next control will be available to examine, but not to take. Only after completion of the memory portion of the course will runners be provided with a real map of their own. Competitors unable to find the control using their memory will have to return for a second look, and possibly third look at the map.

Memory-O improves your ability to visualize the terrain in advance, and adds to your comfort level in navigating through the woods. Map memory is an ability that can be developed, just as running ability. And if an orienteer can develop his memory, and thereby reduce the amount of time he spends looking at the map, he will be a faster, more accurate orienteer.

Regular White, Yellow and Orange courses will be offered. However, those competitors may wish to try Memory-O too by putting away their maps, picking up a Green cluesheet, and giving the first couple of Green memory controls a try.

Public Transportation:
Take Pace bus #381 from the 95th Street Terminal (in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway) on the Red elevated line at either 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. Get off as the bus turns left at 88th Avenue about 40 minutes later. Walk west on 95th Street past Willow Springs Woods to turn left on Archer Avenue. Continue southwest to Red Gate Woods (3 miles from bus).
Driving: From the Stevenson Expwy (I-55) take LaGrange Road - South (Hwy 45) across the river and exit on Archer Avenue to the southwest. Continue for 4 miles and follow orienteering signs into parking at Red Gate Woods.

November 10—Waterfall Glen
Lemont (Dave Brewer)

Beginning again at the Argonne Employees Picnic Pavillion east of Cass Avenue, this last meet of the season promises to be a run-off of the several top orienteers for the Club 2002 Championships, which will be awarded at 1 p.m. Competitors in the running for the Championship should begin their course by 10:30 a.m. so that results can be compiled before the award ceremony.

The new 1:10 000 OCAD map of Waterfall Glen shows lots of green woods. But by this time of the year, much of the vigorous foliage will be on the ground, and running and sight-lines will be open and easier. Nevertheless, thanks to the extensive trail network in this section of the forest preserve, course times are quick and the benefits of various routes are only subtle differences.

Public Transportation:
This is one of our most difficult maps to reach because Pace has canceled Sunday service on the dozen or so buses that serve the surrounding areas, leaving you with a long jog from the one remaining bus. Take the #381 bus at 8:30 a.m. from the 95th Street Station of the Red Line elevated train. Get off at the end of the bus line at Moraine Valley Community College at about 9:15. Walk west through the southern part of the Country Lane and Palos North maps to the Hwy. 83 bridge. Walk north on the bridge sidewalk across the canal and river and turn left on Bluff Road. Walk north through the woods from Bluff Road on any trail to Registration in the large open picnic area 500m. north (7 miles walk/jog). On the return, ask someone in the parking lot to drop you at MVCC where return buses depart every 30 minutes all afternoon.
Driving: Take I-55 (Stevenson Expwy) southwest from the Loop for 19 miles and exit 273A and drive south on Cass Ave for 1.5 miles. Enter the parking area on your left, pass through the gate and take the gravel road around to the right. Watch for the red and white orienteering signs to direct you to the registration area.

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