Regarding the history of the Dipsea Opening Day...

by Dipsea Boy

Tom Berns, Jack Burns, Dave Covey, and Mitch DeShields at Dipsea Opening Day, 1999

In the early to mid 80s, Jim Myers and I would steer the Saturday Morning Run down to the creek (via Ocean View) and run up to Cardiac and then back to the Mountain Home Inn parking lot.  This run had no real significance, except that it was part of our Dipsea training.  We would pretty much race from the creek to the top of Cardiac for bragging rights.  If you were in your thirties, as most of us were at the time, you needed to break 20 minutes on this run to be taken seriously.  Jim Myers dubbed this run "Dipsea Opening Day."

One year, probably about '85 or '86, while we were waiting for the group to form up, I jokingly made-up a prayer to the Dipsea Gods as we stood at the creek (not out in the parking lot). The next year, I made another prayer, Steve Lyons added a prayer and the tradition was underway.  In 1990, someone put the Opening Day in the Gazette and Greg Nacco printed up T-shirts that he gave away.  He printed up shirts, which were sold or given away (you know Greg) through 1993.

The 1992 shirt (March 21 that year), for example, had a cartoon of Calvin and Hobbes careening down a hill in a little red wagon.  Hobbes says, "Hey Man, this is Dynamite!"  To which Calvin replies, "No, Hobbes, this is Suicide!"  On the back of the 1993 T-shirt, were song lyrics, like Bob Dylan's, "Once upon a time, You ran so fine, Did the Dipsea, in your prime," and Hank Williams', "I love you baby, But you gotta understand, When the Lord made me, He made me a Dipsea man," and Frank Sinatra's, "When I was thirty-fifth, It was a very good year."

Regarding Pickett's hat, one year Don placed his hat on the ground and commanded us all to jump over it.  Then he did the same thing another year and told us to run around it.

In 1995 (I believe), Jerry Leith, then president of Tamalpa, called me at home to inform me that the Dipsea Opening Day would be on such-and-such a date.  I was flabbergasted.  I couldn't believe that Jerry was taking control of the Opening Day.  The result that year was two Opening Days, Jerry's and the one with me, Jim Myers, Greg Nacco, and Steve Lyons.  The following year, I said, "The hell with it.  Opening Day started off as a joke and now people are taking it seriously.  It's time to let it go."

And since that date, Jim Myers and I have boycotted the Opening Day, but the pictures on this site of the 2006 Opening Day (it looked small and informal) made me interested in coming back to this event in the future.

You might be interested to know the Jim Myers created a tradition of "zipping up the Dipsea for the winter."  Sometime in the fall, we would run down to Muir Woods and then run up the fire road from Franks Valley Road to the top of Cardiac, thereby "zipping up the Dipsea."  According to our tradition (never endorsed by Russ), we were supposed to stay off the Dipsea Trail until opening day (or the Dipsea Gods would be angered).  Russ, of course, always said that Dipsea Opening Day was the day following the second Sunday in June.

Respectfully submitted,

Dipsea Boy


A note from Roy about the 2006 Dipsea Opening Day:

Last year, (2005), it simply didn't happen. A few of us noticed and talked about doing an informal one, but never did. This year Jamie mentioned it again, and I agreed we should do it so we did a completely impromptu version. The one thing I remembered besides the speakers that Jerry always had lined up was that someone, (I thought it was Don Pickett), laid down a hat and everyone did a lap around it for luck.