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Briones – Golden Goat & Golden Kid

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 26, 2006
Location: Martinez, CA
Event Director: - 510.658.4327
Course Setter: Penny DeMoss
Type: Extra long and strenuous courses; NO BEGINNER COURSES due to park restrictions on the number of participants at this assembly area due to limited parking

By Penny DeMoss, Course Setter

This year's Golden Goat promises to be a fun test of fitness for those of you who like this sort of thing. So, what is a Golden Goat? It's an extra long and strenuous orienteering event that has a shorter (but still tough) Golden Kid option. Unlike "normal" orienteering, the participants do not have to decide which course they are doing until after they have started (see Rules below). Everyone gets the same map with the entire course. The rules vary from year to year, so be sure you understand this year's rules before starting. Due to parking restrictions at the Alhambra entrance of Briones Regional Park (the north end of the map), there will be no beginner or intermediate courses — no White, Yellow or Orange courses — sorry.

The 2006 Golden Goat will cover approximately 10.3 km, with 650 m climb, and have 24 controls. The Kid is 6 km, with 360 m climb, and 13 controls. The reason I say "approximately" is because there is a split control on both courses, and the Golden Goaters get to skip a control (see Rules below), so who knows how far the winners will actually travel? Briones is not a very technical area, so most of the controls are Orange (intermediate) level, but some are more advanced. One would need to be a fit, intermediate to advanced competitor to enjoy this event.

Registration

The entry fee is $20 for either race distance, and this includes a T-shirt. So that Bob Cooley knows how many maps to print, and so I know how many T-shirts to order, we would appreciate hearing from you if you intend to run. Please pre-enter by E-mailing us by March 19 with your name, age, sex, T-shirt size and E-punch number. This is not an official entry, or a firm commitment on your part, we just need to have some idea of the numbers expected. (No, you won't be billed for the map and T-shirt if you find you can't attend, as we always need a few extra of each anyway.) Registration will open at 9 am. You will enter by using the self-registration envelopes, $20 cash or check, and upload your e-stick at the e-punch tent. If you do not own an e-punch stick, you can rent one from registration on the morning. If you enter on the day, and have not previously e-mailed your information, it is still $20, but we cannot guarantee that you'll get a T-shirt. Please pick up a copy of the rules at registration and review them.

Start Procedure

IMPORTANT: We will be leaving the registration area at 10:20 am to walk the 1.5 km route (180 m climb) to the remote start area. Clear and check your E-punch stick before leaving the registration area. It takes 25 minutes of casual walking to get to the start. It is all uphill. The route to the start will be marked, so individuals who want to head up earlier can do so, but of course we will be bringing the maps with us.

Only the shortest of briefings will be necessary, since you will have read the rules already, right? If you arrive late, you can catch up to us, but you'll have to run, and like I said, it's all uphill. Make it easy on yourself — get there and be ready to run by 10:20. There will be water at the start, but no bathrooms. There will be no clothing transfer.

There will be a mass start at 11 am, and the courses close at 3:30 pm. I am confident that this is sufficient time for all but the truly lost to finish on time. The finish is near registration. Please remember to go to the e-punch tent to download after finishing. Carry a whistle.

Map Notes

The map scale is 1:10,000 with a contour interval of 7.5 m. The area is a combination of steep hills, open grassy meadows and valleys, creeks, ponds, and valley oak/bay forests. There is poison oak also, so bring your Tecnu and take the usual precautions. The worst of the poison oak is near the 2nd and 3rd controls. If you are careful through this area, you'll be home free, as there is very little on the course after that. There will be some trail running, much running across open grasslands, and some lovely running through open woods.

There is a curious combination of mapping techniques used on this map. One of the mappers preferred to use the style which involves putting little black dots around all vegetation changes, and the other mapper chose not to. So you'll be starting on one style, then passing in and out of the other style — wish they could have agreed on one or the other — it shouldn't affect you though, in fact you might not even notice while you're running. There will be a preview map posted in the registration area for you to peruse — check it out. The ground is soft and the grass will still be short — it should be grand. There are cattle grazing, but no angry bulls have been encountered while vetting. The last 1.8 km on both courses is virtually all downhill ... sound good? You bet.

Rules

At the start, everyone will get the same map. Everyone, whether they are doing the entire Golden Goat or the Golden Kid, must go to the first 8 controls. There is a split control prior to control #8. I'm not going to tell you which one it actually is, but for example, if the split was #3, there would be a "3a" and a "3b". You must go to one or the other, then on to controls 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

After punching at control #8, if you decide to continue on the Golden Goat course, you'll carry on visiting the controls in order, but you can skip any ONE control between #8 and the finish. If you decide to do the Golden Kid, after punching #8 you'll navigate directly to #20 (do not go to controls #9 through #19) and carry on, in order, to the finish. The Golden Kids do not skip any controls — they have that split control in the first 8, but no skips.

If you finish after 3:30 pm you will be timed out. As always, if you lose your e-punch stick during the event (or if a control unit fails to respond), use the hand punches at the controls to punch the edge of your map and notify an official at the finish. If you have any questions about the rules, just ask — we don't bite. Well, I don't anyway.

Driving Directions

Take the Pleasant Hill Rd exit off Highway 24 in Lafayette. Go north on Pleasant Hill Rd for 0.8 mile, and turn left onto Reliez Valley Rd. Stay on Reliez Valley Rd for 4.6 miles. Turn left at the large, brown sign that says Alhambra Creek Valley Staging Area of Briones Regional Park. It is 0.8 mile to the parking kiosk.

After paying and parking, follow signs 100 m to registration in the orchard. Car pooling is encouraged, as there is limited parking. There are picnic tables, so bring some snacks and cheer in your fellow competitors.