Nisene Marks

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Contact: Vladimir Gusiatnikov, 408-744-9047, x272

If you watched biathlon at the Olympics, you'll appreciate the format of this event. (Does everyone get a gun? Do we get to shoot the fast rabbits? Answers: No and no, but hold on for our next scheduled adventure: monster truck-O.) Biathletes cover a cross-country ski course and try to precisely hit a set of targets at a number of shooting ranges throughout the race. Instead of targets, we'll have controls. You'll try to "hit" the controls, as precisely as you can, on your map.

Registration will be at the parking area, as well as the White/Yellow start/finish (Porter Family Picnic Area). There is nothing special about those courses. Paper punches will be used for these two courses. For the other courses, there will about a 3 km hike to and from the start/finish. Plan on about 45 minutes up, 35 minutes down, walking pace. E-punch will also be used for these courses.

White and Yellow courses statistics are as follows:

Course        Length      Controls    Climb
Yellow        3.38km         9         190m
White         1.71km         5          75m
"O-athlon" advanced courses

From now on, everything that follows applies to the intermediate and advanced courses only. There will be four courses offered:

Course         Length     Controls    Climb
Long           9.09km        12        565m
Medium         6.38km         7        400m
Short          4.85km         5        300m
Intermediate   2.71km         5        165m

The first three courses are of advanced difficulty, the Intermediate is intermediate difficulty. Compared to what was advertised in the initial event info, there are longer courses offered (in case some of you wonder, why run a 3 km course after a 4.2 km walk to the start), and the Intermediate course is shorter because some runners may be tired after the 4.2 km walk.

The format of the event is as follows. The course is marked in the woods with streamers. You will encounter controls with e-punches as you run along the streamered route. The controls are not marked on your maps. Punch the controls. Using a safety pin, you must mark each control on your map. Just stick a hole through the map. This marking may be made at any time before you come to the map check station, which is located on the streamered route near the start/finish.


At the map check station, you will be assessed a penalty for each incorrectly marked control. There will be no penalty if the mark is 2.5 mm (= 0.1 in = 38 m on the map) or less from the correct location. There will be a penalty of 0.5 points if the mark is between 2.5 mm and 6.5 mm (= 0.25 in = 98 m on the map) off; and there will be a penalty of 1 point if the mark is more than 6.5 mm off. Each penalty point equals a penalty control to find. The points are rounded up, to a minimum of 2 (but there are no penalty controls to find for a zero-point penalty). You will be told how many controls to find at the map check station. Maximum (1-point) penalty is assessed for missing and extra marks.

Maps and lengths

The map is 1:15,000 with 7.5 m contour interval. It is a 1987 offset print. Maps are cut from the original size; you may need to fold your map to fit the map case. Maps and cases will be available at the registration. The penalty controls and the start will be premarked on the maps. The finish is at the same place as the start. There will be no clue sheet for the main courses. Clue sheets for the penalty controls will be given out as you start the penalty portion of your course. You are allowed to study the penalty course in advance.

The walk to the start/finish from the parking is 4.22 km with 190 m climb. The climb is very gradual. The trip is doable in 45 minutes of fast walking. There will be water at the start/finish of the intermediate/advanced courses. There will be no water on the courses otherwise.

It is a long walk to the start and from the finish. I think that getting to the part of the park that has significantly less poison oak than the areas the club has used the most is worth the walk. You'll also get to see parts of the park orienteers only get a chance to see once in 6-8 years.

The walk to the start is not streamered; you use your map (given to you at the registration) to get to the start (marked on the map). You can start until 1:00 pm. You have to be back by the map-check station by 2:30 pm; since the courses are streamered, there is little (I wouldn't say no) chance to get lost, so you shouldn't plan on being out for much longer than it would take you to complete a trail run of the same length as your course. In other words, it will go faster than you think. Trust me.

The course lengths are subject to +/- 10% change until the day of the event. The climb for the courses is at the low end for the Bay Area, and is disclosed fairly. Compared to my other events, this will feel like more climb compared to Joe Grant 2002 but less than Joe Grant 2001.

The lengths above include a 150 m loop that you'll run while I check your map. The Medium and Intermediate courses are separate loops. The Long course consists of the two loops in sequence; you will come through the map check place twice, and will be assessed the possible penalty twice. The Short course is a shortcut off the Medium course. The lengths do not include the penalty legs. The maximum penalties for the four courses are:

Course         Length    Controls   Climb
Long            2.45km      10       215m
Medium          1.35km       6       115m
Short           1.10km       4       100m
Intermediate    1.10km       4       100m

These are the maximum distances you will cover if you miss all of your answers. The Long course's second set of penalty controls is the same as its first set - see how much you can improve your leg times on the second go-around.

If you start on Long, you may elect to not do the Intermediate loop and get a result for the Medium. Conversely, you may start out on Medium, decide that you haven't had enough running, and go on the second loop and get a result for the Long.


The e-punch instructions are as follows. The controls on the main streamered courses will have numbers:

Medium        31 32 34 35 36 37 38
Short         31 32 33 37 38
Intermediate  41 42 43 44 45

You punch the start unit as you start. You e-punch the controls on your course in sequence, as you encounter them. This will enable us to produce the usual split time result table. You also punch as you enter the map check station (Unit 101), and as you leave for the penalty legs (Unit 102); if you do not have a penalty, you still punch Unit 102 and go straight to the finish.

The six penalty controls will also be equipped with e-punches. The system will remember the times at which you were at the penalty controls, and these times will show up in the electronic results in the same way as any "extra" control you would punch. That is, the penalty controls are not programmed to be a part of your course, but we'll know when (and if) you have been at them. You punch the finish unit as you finish, that is, are all done with the main streamered course and the penalty controls. You then take a nice long walk back to the parking, and download the results.


Follow Highway 1 south of Santa Cruz and take the Aptos/Seacliff Beach exit. Make a left over the freeway and then a right at the first signal light onto Soquel Dr. After about 0.3 mile, there is a railroad overpass and the road forks; keep left to stay on Soquel Dr. A short distance later, after crossing the railroad tracks, make an immediate left turn onto Aptos Creek Road. Be careful: the sign to the park entrance is not clearly visible as it is partially covered by a bush. Take Aptos Creek Road up about 3 miles to the parking lot at its end. There is a day-use fee.