The Dipsea : Second Sunday in June : June 8th, 2014
Double Dipsea : Two weeks following Dipsea : June 22nd, 2014
I knew that The Dipsea is considered an 'Open' course where in theory you can use any route from start to finish and that the race is handicapped based on criteria such as Age. However, 'short cuts' are only allowed IF you know them and don't violate any of the regional park rules, etc. In other words, you better know the short cut well or don't take it lest you get lost or DQ'ed.
I needed to find an experienced Dipsea runner and fast! I solicited FB trail groups around the Marin area and was lucky to find not only knowledgeable trail runners, but friendly and willing to show a newbie around. Specifically, Leigh-Ann and Eduardo from 'NorCal Trailheads (mentias adventum trekkium) offered to help and I ended up running with Leigh-Ann because Leigh-Ann started later and at a non-suicidal pace I could maintain.
We agreed to meet at the Old Mill Park entrance on Throckmorton Ave at 7:30AM and sure enough Leigh-Ann arrived and was waiting 7:30AM. Downtown Mill Valley parking is metered (2hr and some 4 hour) but outside the park is first come, first served all day. I got there 15min early and managed to secure a spot right by the entrance. Not sure what I'm going to do on race day other than get there hours ahead of the race start.
We waited for one other runner a Triathlete named Chris then off we started. It should be noted that at the park entrance is a restroom and water fountain. What more could a runner ask for?
We got about a few paces then bang stairs. Nothing but stairs and short stretches of road over and over again. You basically climb for 70 min, then run down for 70 min as it is a mountain after all. There are several neat things about running in this area that locals might not appreciate because they live there and those are:
- Lush plant growth! OMG there are redwoods, ferns, lichen and basically green everywhere. In the East Bay we get about a month of green around St Patricks day then the rolling hills turn brown.
- Incredible running weather! It started about 54 degrees and warmed up to about 60? We started on the Mill Valley (MV) side with partial sun but by the time we got up to about 1000 ft we were in the clouds with condensation forming rain drops that would rain down tree leaves but not quiet making the earth. On the Stinson side it was a bit windy with mist and felt great. In the East Bay at this time we are at least 10-20 warmer.
- Beautiful redwood trees! OK that's plant/tree growth, but redwood groves are just in their own special category.