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O in the Oaks III 2-Day A-Meet

Date: Oct. 22 - 23, 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.984.8124
Course Setters: Mattias Eriksson, Dean French
Type: A; 2-day combined-time "classic-distance" event

Event Director's Notes

By Robert Lewis

Welcome to the Bay Area Orienteering Club's O' in the Oaks III A-Meet. A lot of work has been done by a lot of people to provide a high-quality, enjoyable event for you.

The event is a two-day combined-time classic-distance event held on October 22-23, 2004 at Joe Grant County Park, just east of San Jose, California.

Terrain and Map

Joseph Grant Park is owned by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department. The 9,553 acres that make up the park are moderately steep, but are quite interesting with lots of forest for a San Francisco Bay Area park. The terrain is approximately 50% open oak and bay forest, 40% grassland, and 10% brushy. The white forest has good visibility and running, except on the steep slopes. There are numerous rock features and quite a bit of fine contour detail. There is a moderate trail network. In addition, there are many unmapped animal trails. Most of the streams will be dry (and thus often run-able, although stony), and the lakes and ponds very low or dry in October. Grass stickers and thistles are abundant on some of the open areas, so be sure to wear long pants (and gaiters). The grass is quite high (although dry in some areas) and might decrease your speed.

The map for the Orange and Advanced courses was produced in 2003 by Vladimir Zherdev and Zoran Krivokapic for the 2004 US Long Course Championships. For the most part, Zherdev mapped the lower portion of the terrain, while Krivokapic mapped the upper half. The mapping styles of each vary, especially in their interpretation of the vegetation. One noticeable difference is that the lower portion of the map contains dozens of distinct vegetation boundaries. Many of these mapped boundaries may not be as distinct as indicated.

There are numerous areas of undergrowth on the map and these may not be evenly mapped. The dark green map symbol is fight, which usually means Manzanita or other brush or brambly undergrowth. The map symbols of green parallel lines indicate either brushy sagebrush areas or areas of thick poison oak. The closer the lines are, the more difficult it is to traverse the terrain. Green hatched lines mean thick poison oak and/or sagebrush. Consider avoiding these green hatched areas.

There are multiple rock features, which are generally well mapped. Most boulders or cliffs under one meter are not mapped.

The green "O" map symbol is a lone tree. The green "X" is either a fallen dead tree or tall stump. If used for a control, the control description is a single tree followed by the ruined symbol. If a stump is used for a control, the height in meters is indicated on the control description. A green "T" is a rootstock, usually a fallen tree with the roots unearthed from the ground.

There are some very steep areas on the map, indicated by rocky cliffs, earth banks, or very close contour lines. In many case the steepest of areas will not only slow you down, but put you in danger.

All maps will be printed at 1:10,000 with 5-meter contours on a high-resolution Epson Stylus printer with waterproof pigment-based (as opposed to water-soluble dye-based) ink on coated paper in plastic map cases.

Note that the White and Yellow courses on both days will be on the neighboring Joe Grant South map, which has more trails and open areas.

Directions and Assembly Area

The Assembly Area for both competition days is the Stockman's Picnic Area in Joe Grant County Park. To get to Joe Grant County Park, take the Alum Rock Road exit from either I-680 or US 101 in San Jose, and head for the hills (east). Continue on Alum Rock Road for about 2.3 miles from I-680, and turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road (CA-130). Go about 8 miles to the park entrance on your right. The park entrance fee is $5 per car.

Parking, event registration, toilets, shuttle pick-up (day 1 only), first aid, and vendors will be located at the Assembly Area.

Registration and Packet Pick-up

Registration and packet pick-up will be available as follows:

Extended Stay America (map (
1000 Hillview Ct.
Milpitas, CA

Start and Finish Locations

There are two start areas each day — one for the White and Yellow courses (Start 1), and one for the Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses (Start 2). Start Area 1 for both days is located approx 250 m west of the Assembly Area.

For Saturday, the intermediate and advanced starts (Start 2) requires a short shuttle ride to a drop-off location approximately 1.5 km west of the park entrance on Mt. Hamilton Rd. There is no parking at this drop-off location, so don't try to drive to it yourself. From the drop-off location, it is an 800-m walk along a flat trail to the starting area.

For Sunday, the intermediate and advanced starts (Start 2) are a 2.45-km walk from the Assembly Area. Please be very careful of motorized vehicle and bicycle traffic when you cross Mt. Hamilton Rd. The first 2 km of the walk is relatively flat, with the final 450 m having an 85-m climb to the start area. Please allow at least 30 minutes to walk from the Assembly Area, catch your breath at the top, have something to drink, and be ready for your course. There are no rest rooms at the start area.

The warm-up area for Intermediate and Advanced courses on day 1 is the trail between the shuttle drop-off point and the start area. The warm-up area for Intermediate and Advanced courses on day 2 is the trail from the Assembly Area to Mount Hamilton Road.

For Saturday and Sunday, the White and Yellow finishes will be in the field adjacent to the Assembly Area.

For Saturday and Sunday, the Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue finishes will be about 1.5-km walk back to the Assembly Area. Follow the signs and streamers. Again, be careful of motorized vehicle and bicycle traffic when you cross Mt. Hamilton Rd.

All e-punch downloading (which will be used for all courses) will take place at the e-punch download tent in the Assembly Area.


Whistles must be carried by all competitors. If you do not have a whistle, ask for one at registration at no charge. If you are injured or hopelessly lost, give 3 short blasts on the whistle, and repeat every 30-60 seconds. Any competitor who hears the emergency whistle is required to come to the aid of an injured orienteer, so please do not blow the whistle unless it is a true emergency.

The safety bearing for all Intermediate and Advanced courses is south. You will eventually reach Mt. Hamilton Road. Since the park entrance is located at the bottom of the valley, head down the hill until you reach it.

Start Procedure

For A-meet competitors, you will be called up 4 minutes before your start time. Your name will be checked off and an official will use the Check unit to double check your finger stick. At two minutes before your start, you will advance to the start line. When the horn sounds and you are told to start, punch the Start unit, and start running to the start triangle. At the start triangle, pick up the appropriate map from the map box and begin navigating to your first control. It is your responsibility to pick up the correct map.

Control description sheets will be available in your registration packet and will also be printed on your map.

Electronic Punching

SPORTident electronic punching will be used for all classes on both days of the A meet. Each competitor must have his or her own SI card. SI cards may be rented through registration.

To use the SPORTident electronic punching system, you put the SI card (also called a finger stick or dipper) on your finger, typically the index finger of your dominant hand. It is a good idea to attach a string or lanyard through the hole in the base of the finger stick, and tie it around your wrist, since the finger sticks sometimes get pulled off and lost in the forest. The replacement cost for a rental finger stick is $65.00.

Be sure to insert your finger stick in the Clear unit before starting the event. It takes about 6 seconds to clear the card of its previous data. Then put the card in the Check unit to be sure it has been cleared properly. A quick beep from the Check unit will indicate this. You may also be asked to put your finger stick in the Check unit carried by one of the Start officials to double check that you have cleared your card, and also to serve as a backup record of who actually started.

When the Start official tells you to start, insert your finger stick in the Start unit and then follow the streamers to the remote start triangle, at which point you will pick up your map and start navigating to the first control. It does not matter if you have to wait a few seconds to punch the Start unit, since your course time does not begin until you punch.

When you get to each control, check the control number, and then insert your finger stick into the hole on the top of the unit and wait for it to beep and flash, which usually occurs in about 1 second. If the unit fails to respond, use the manual punch to punch your map to document that you visited the control.

If you take a control out of order or punch a control that is not on your course, this will not cause a problem if you eventually punch all of your controls in the proper sequence. Thus, for example, if you find #5 before #4, and punch #5 and then #4, you must revisit #5 and punch it again. The unit writes the code number and the time of punch on your finger stick, and the controls must be taken in sequential order to count.

At the Finish, be sure to punch the Finish unit. Once you punch the Finish unit, you may not re-enter the competition area, so be sure you have all of the controls before you punch the Finish unit.

After you have finished the course and walked back to the Assembly Area, proceed as soon as possible to the Download station (in the blue e-punch tent). Download your card into the computer. You will receive a printout of your splits after you download.

Note: Be sure to punch the Finish unit and download your results even if you do not finish your course. Telling the Finish crew that you retired from the course is not sufficient, as the computer will not know you have returned unless you download your card. If you do not download, we will have to assume you are lost or injured, and may have to send out a search party for you.

If you are renting a finger stick, you may keep the finger stick if you are returning the following day to compete. All rental finger sticks must be returned on Sunday. If you do not return your rental finger stick, you will be charged a $65.00 replacement fee.

Course Closure

All A-meet competitors will have the full three hours to complete their courses. Therefore, the courses will probably close about 3:15 on Saturday and 2:15 on Sunday.

Please punch the Finish control and download your results at the download station, regardless of whether or not you have completed your course. If you do not check in, we will have to assume you are either lost or injured, and will have to institute a search party for you. Also, please be considerate to the organizers, and report to the Finish by course closure time. If you cannot complete your course by the course closure time, please retire from the course and return to the Finish in order to arrive before course closure time.

According to USOF rules, if you go over three hours, your time will not be counted anyway and you will be marked as Overtime (OVT). Please do not try to get "one more control" if it means you cannot return to the Finish by closure time.


The top three finishers (based on their combined, 2-day times) in all classes will receive awards. Thanks to Scarborough Orienteering for sponsoring the awards again this year. The award ceremony will begin as soon as the top 3 places in each class are determined. The awards ceremony will be held in the Assembly Area, and will probably occur close to 1:00pm on Sunday.

Important Dates and Times

Friday, October 21

  7pm-10pm — Packet and T-Shirt pickup at Extended Stay America in Milpitas

Saturday, October 22

  8am — First "early" worker start times
  9am-1pm — Registration and T-Shirt pickup at the Assembly Area
  10am-noon — "Normal" start times
  12:15pm — Last worker start time
  3:15pm — Day 1 Course Closure

Sunday, October 23

  8am — First "early" worker start times
  8am-11am — Registration and T-shirt pickup at the Assembly Area
  9am-11am — "Normal" start times
  11:15am — Last Worker start time
  1:00pm (approx) — Awards Ceremony in Assembly Area
  2:15pm — Day 2 Course Closure

Event Officials

Event Director: Robert Lewis
Course Setters: Mattias Eriksson (Brown, Green, Red, and Blue) and Dean French (White, Yellow, and Orange)
Vetter: Bob Cooley
USOF Course Consultant: Don Davis
Map Production: Bob Cooley
Registrar: Steve Beuerman
Recreational Registration: Ev and Jean Beuerman
Start Time Assignments: Steve Beuerman
Starts: Scott Aster
Finish: Alan Glendinning
Signage and Equipment: Mark Blair
E-Punch: Trinka Gillis
Recreational Results: Marsha Jacobs
Event Flyer: Tony Pinkham
T-Shirts: Tony Pinkham
Dinner: Rex Winterbottom
Early Shuttle: Mark Rice
First Aid: Joan Roos
Awards: Kelly Wells
Control Pickup: Harold and Penny DeMoss and Kelly Wells

More About the Park

Grant Park is located at the base of Mt. Hamilton. The major feature of the park, the Halls Valley is suspended between two ridges in the Diablo Range of the Coastal Mountains. The park's terrain was formed by earth movement along the still active Calaveras Fault.

The oak-woodland community at Grant Park is typical of California. Oak trees provide breeding habitat and food for over 32 species of birds and 39 species of mammals. This habitat is so unique and important to wildlife that its protection is essential. The oak community includes such species as the Blue, Black, Live, and Valley Oaks.

At one time, Grant Park was the location of a successful wildlife management plan designed to re-establish the threatened Tule Elk population. Although most of the herds have now migrated out of the park, Grand was selected because of its wildlife sanctuary status and ideal habitat.

Visitors may see European wild pigs in some areas of the park. These pigs have cross-bred with domestic pigs. The pigs eat acorns and grass roots; therefore, they have to "root" for their food.

Sharing the Trails

Some trails within the park offer recreational opportunities for multiple users, while others are limited to specific activities. Competitors need to be considerate and need to yield to horse, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on all trails.

Mount Hamilton Lick Observatory

All competitors will get good views of Lick Observatory. Lick Observatory is a leading astronomical research observatory with a long and distinguished history. Since it's founding in 1888, Lick has been part of the University of California, an institution which, since Lick's early days, has grown from a single campus with a handful of students to ten campuses, three national laboratories, and more than 180,000 students. The Observatory has grown along with the university, keeping pace with — and contributing to — the enormous advances in astronomy over the last century. Today, Lick continues as a world-class research institution, a leader in the development of new instruments and observing techniques, and an active center for teaching.

Lick Observatory is located on 4200' Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range, east of San Jose, California. Largest among its nine research-grade telescopes is the Shane 3-meter Reflector, active since 1960. The 3-meter is in operation every clear night of the year, used by many different astronomers from within the UC system for a variety of projects ranging from observations of our solar system to distant galaxies. UC astronomers, using the telescopes on Mt. Hamilton, have contributed to virtually every area of optical and infrared astronomy.

Lick Observatory is open to daytime visitors nearly every day of the year (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day) from 10:00am to 5:00pm. We invite the public to view exhibits in the main Observatory building, built in 1888. Enjoy an informal talk about Lick history while taking a look at the Great Lick Refractor in the 36-inch telescope dome. These tours begin at the Gift Shop, on each half hour starting at 1:00pm on weekdays and 10:30am on weekends, continuing until 4:30pm. Each talk is about 15 minutes long, and there is no charge. Visitors are also invited to take a short walk to the Shane Dome to view the 120-inch Reflector from the Visitors' Gallery. Displays explain the Shane reflector, one of the major telescopes used to discover planets outside of our solar system.

To get to Lick Observatory, make a right out of the Joseph Grant parking lot and head south and east for about 7 miles. There are no gasoline or food services at Mt. Hamilton or anywhere along the road outside of San Jose.