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Almaden QuickSilver — Golden Goat

Date: (Sun.) Nov. 20, 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Directors: - 650.248.9595, - 408.348.1282
Course Setter: Vladimir Gusiatnikov
Type: Extra long and strenuous courses; NO BEGINNER COURSES

Course Setter's Notes

By Vladimir Gusiatnikov

Hi all, the notes below are meant to complement the notes from the 2003 event (

Welcome to the 2005 Golden Goat at Almaden Quicksilver, the second one at the park. I was the course setter for the first edition, and my notes ( from two years ago are still available for perusal at With the exception of course-specific items, the old notes are correct. Their most important points are restated below, along with the particular information about the 2005 Goat and Kid.

The Map

The map was made in 2002 by Yefim (Yukhym) Shtempler (one is the Russian spelling, the other one, Ukrainian). For an area of this size, it was a quick and dirty job, and it shows. For the most part, relief contours are excellent and are highly to be trusted. Rock features are somewhat accurate: if it is on the map, it most certainly exists in the woods, in the correct location. The threshold for boulders mapped with the "small boulder" symbol is generally 1.0 m, although in many cases boulders smaller than that have been mapped. Boulders larger than 2.0 m in height are shown with the "large boulder" symbol.

Vegetation mapping, however, is only suggestive of reality, and in many cases one can disagree with either the grade of runnability shown, the shape of the vegetation boundaries, the style of representation, or all of these. In general:

About 9 hours of fieldwork were put into the preparation for the 2005 Goat. Areas around most controls should be quite accurate. The quality of the map in-between is that of the original survey.

The special map symbols are the black O, the black X, the green O, and the green T. The black O is a distinct tree in the brush. The green O is a distinct tree elsewhere (alive or dead, but standing). The green T is a dead tree lying on the ground, with the junction of the T showing the location of the roots and the stem of the T oriented along the trunk's direction. The black X is a man-made object. Most of the ones you encounter used to be automobiles; you will probably pass by the world's steepest parking lot.

The map is at 1:10000 with 5-meter contour interval. We will be using approximately 9.5 km2, more than half of which has never been orienteered in. The printed sheet size is 17" × 17", and maps will be placed into appropriate-size unsealed cases. Control descriptions are printed on the front of the maps. Both courses are shown on the same map, with the Kid a shortcut of the Goat; the shortcut leg has "KID" printed along it. Control numbering on the map is that for the Goat.

The Skip and the Fork

There is a fork on the Goat course. Take either Fork A or Fork B. There is no fork on the Kid.

You can skip any two controls on the Goat. The skips may be consecutive. You can skip the forked control, or the beginning or tail ends of the fork. The Goat has 19 controls. There are 20 controls in all on your map because one is forked. You should arrive with at least 17 punches.

There is only one skip allowed on the Kid. If you start with doing the full Goat in mind but think there is a chance you may opt for the Kid, you should not skip two controls early. This will make you ineligible for the Kid.

Contrary to rumors, there is no Micr-O segment. Maybe in the future. Unlike in 2003 or 2004, there is no Window segment.

The Courses

The expected winning time for the Goat is 110 minutes, and for the Kid, 85 minutes.

  Course       Length     Climb   Controls (before skip)
  The Goat    11.64 km    1025 m         19
  The Kid      6.90        615           10

Here's how these lengths and climb were calculated: The course was laid out with no skips and the preferred fork. The climb was then calculated along the shortest sensible route. The course setter's preferred skip saves 110 m of climb for the Goat. Saving more is possible both with skips and with taking longer, contouring routes. Most of the climb comes late in the course.

In order to aid you with the decision, the unskipped course fraction at the Goat/Kid split is as follows:

               Length    Climb
  % of Goat     41%       30%
  % of Kid      70%       50%

Course statistics will be adjusted after the race to reflect the course actually taken by the winner.

Out-of-bounds areas are marked on your map, but not in the terrain. Those areas include sensitive wildlife or soils, and private property. Please exercise good judgment and stay out of those areas. Our continued use of the park hinges on us following the instructions of the park rangers.

You are allowed to run along the shore of Guadalupe Reservoir. The water level is higher than mapped, but well short of the peak. The ground on the shore is solid and very runnable. You are allowed to run along Hicks Road, but traffic is a hazard, and doing so is discouraged.

Competitor Safety

The biggest hazard is cliffs. Be very careful when you see an abrupt break in the ground ahead of you. Remnants of mining activity include steep earth banks and mine shafts. Most of the shafts have been capped by the park.

Poison oak is abundant. Use Tecnu. There are coyotes and rattlesnakes in the park, and they are quite active and have been seen during fieldwork.

There is moderate but high-speed traffic on Hicks Road, which constitutes the southern boundary of the map area. The road has poor visibility in places. The road is not a good route, and you should not run on it.

In compliance with the park's requirements, there will be a manned aid station at 61% of the Goat's unskipped length (43% of the climb). There will be some basic food and communications. If you are injured, transport out of the park will be available at this location. Unfortunately it is not possible to arrange for some of your own stuff to be dropped off there.

A paramedic will be present at the event.

There are 7 water locations on the Goat and 3 on the Kid, not counting the Start or the Finish. The water stops are more than 3 km of unskipped course distance apart in the beginning, decreasing to less than 1 km in the end. Only plain water is provided.

The safety bearing is south to Hicks Road. Once you get to the road, stay put, do not walk on the road.

Event-Day Logistics

The Start and Finish are less than 100 m away from any point of the parking lot. The mass start for the Goat and the Kid will be at 10:00 am. Courses close at 1:30 pm, giving you 3:30 to finish the race. If the start is delayed, you'll still have 3:30 to finish your courses. The course-closure time will then be announced at the start. Please be back by the course-closure time, or a search party will have to be sent out for you.

There will be no e-punching. We suggest bringing an old-fashioned split watch to keep track of your intermediate times. Paper punch cards will be provided at the registration. All but three controls are on stands. These stands have a punch at the top. Please use the punch on the stand, and not the punch attached to the control flag. The punch patterns are not the same, so it will be a great help to the punch checker if everyone agreed to use the punch on the stand.

After the Race

Courses and discussion will be on Attackpoint ( for your split-analyzing pleasure. Hopefully there will be a way to put the courses on RouteGadget as well.