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Bayfront Park

Date: (Sun.) Jul. 30, 2006
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Event Director: - 650.906.9672
Course Setter: Brad Wetmore
Type: C; White, Yellow, Motala (1-3 loops), Fog-O, and Trail-O courses

NOTE: Preregistration is REQUIRED for the August 6th Urban Festival Of Orienteering ( event at Joaquin Miller Park, and can be arranged during this event.

Please join Event Director Nick Corsano and Course Setter Brad Wetmore at Bayfront Park for a special "Executive Edition" BAOC event. (Called that because Nick and Brad are our newly-elected President and Event Coordinator, respectively.)

BAOC returns to cozy Bayfront Park in Menlo Park on Sunday, July 30. Mostly open, with modest hills and numerous trails, Bayfront is a great place for beginners, while still providing an adventure for the experienced orienteer. This year, there will be regular foot orienteering, as well as BAOC's first local Trail Orienteering course in four years.

Trail O is the version of the sport that emphasizes precise map reading and accurate terrain observation, instead of speed and stamina. You have a clue sheet and a map with control circles on it, but instead of going to that location and punching, you follow a trail to a "viewing station" (not on the map) from which the control feature is visible. Three to five control markers are set up in the area; your mission is to determine which is the correct one, based on matching the terrain with the map and the control description. A complication is the fact that "None of the above" may be the correct answer! Your score is determined by the number of correct answers you give. There will be a timed control, where the number of seconds it takes to identify the correct marker will serve as a tie-breaker. The controls will vary in difficulty, but most will require sophisticated map-reading ability, and will be difficult for beginners. Because all competitors must stay on well-graded trails, people with limited mobility (even people in wheelchairs) can participate.

For the regular foot-orienteering courses, we will be offering White and Yellow courses for beginners, and a trail-less 1-, 2-, or 3-loop Motala. For the Motala, at the end of each loop, you will choose to enter the map exchange for another loop, or enter the Finish chute and call it a day. You need not declare your intentions at the Start, you can decide at the end of each loop.

Because of the trail network crisscrossing the park, the absence of mapped trails will encourage orienteers to practice using the remaining terrain features (contours, terrain type, etc.). This is very good practice for more remote areas. We anticipate E-punch will be used on all the Foot-O courses.

The third loop of the Motala will offer an exciting additional challenge! You'll be amazed at how quickly your map will "fog" up, or perhaps the printer ran out of ink. That's right, we'll be offering Fog-O during the third loop! Fog-O intentionally leaves sections of the map blank, with only the immediate terrain around the controls visible. This will allow you to practice bearing and pace-counting skills in a more forgiving environment than the far reaches of Nisene Marks or Big Basin.

Since Fog-O can be a very useful exercise, the Fog-O course will be available as a separate course to anyone not doing the third loop of the Motala. Folks on the 3-loop Motala automatically get the Fog-O, but are still on the clock. For everyone else, simply register for the Fog-O course.

Hopefully everyone has read this far. If you are on the third Motala loop, and return to starter to complain about a printing error, ...

Course-setter's Tip of the Day: Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, and after running your course(s), climb to the top of one of the hills and enjoy the great views of the South Bay Area. From your excellent vantage (and lunch) spot, you can also watch your fellow orienteers attempt to best your "unbeatable" time.

Come for the orienteering, stay for the views.

The following additional notes were provided by the Event Director on July 27, 2006:

Facilities: Bayfront Park has a bathroom and running water, but no picnic tables. Bring a blanket or portable chair for hanging out.

Conditions: There is not a lot of shade, so we recommend sun screen and a hat. The grass has been cut to ground level in most of the park, and there is no really savage vegetation that is not easily avoidable. Every course except White and Trail-O will encounter some tall grass and/or weeds, so you may want leg protection. The cut grass makes slopes a bit slick, so cleats can help.

Weather: We can all be grateful that the event wasn't last Sunday! I expect a high around 80, with a breeze off the bay, nice and cool until the fog burns off (that happened about 11:30 today).

Statistical Sidelight: There will be 86 control bags in use at the event. Bayfront is only 160 acres, about 0.65 sq km. This means we have a density of 132 bags/sq km — the highest, I am certain, of any BAOC event since the 2002 Bayfront meet. It was almost unavoidable that we have a couple of spots where a Foot-O control is closer than 60 meters from a group of Trail-O controls. Trail-O participants shouldn't be affected, because the Foot-O bags will be either completely invisible from the viewing station, or at least not in the same field of view. We offer this advice for Foot-O runners: If you see a cluster of bags, those are Trail-O controls, so they are not yours. All Foot-O controls have e-punch units, none of the Trail-O bags do.

Driving Directions

From the Peninsula, take Highway 101 to the Marsh Road East exit. Stay to the left so that you can go straight ahead into the park at the traffic signal where Marsh turns right into Bayfront Expressway.

From the East Bay, cross the Dumbarton Bridge. Go to the fifth traffic light and turn right into the park.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Because of erosion concerns, please do not park on the west (outbound) side of the park road.

Car-pooling: For East Bay folks, a convenient spot is the Park & Ride at the NW corner of the Newark Blvd / Hwy 84 interchange, just before the Dumbarton Bridge. Take 880 to 84 West, go to the first exit (Newark & Ardenwood Blvds), go right, make a U-turn at the first light, then turn right into the parking area.

Public Transit: SamTrans bus #296 goes from the Menlo Park train station (connections to CalTrain, VTA and SamTrans) to Middlefield Road and James Ave, near the west end of Marsh Road. From there, it is about a two-mile walk along Marsh to the park.