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The Astrogaine at North Grant Ranch

Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Oct. 22, 2006
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Directors: - 925.462.2254, - 408.262.3457
Course Setters: Mark Blair, Kelly Wells
Type: 4-hour or 7-hour Rogaine with the usual age/gender team divisions

Note: The registration deadline has passed. The final list of pre-registered teams and participants is on the Registered Teams page. (However, if you haven't registered, see good news below.)

Under the watchful gaze of the famous Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton a few kilometers distant, the Bay Area Orienteering Club will hold an "astrogaine" in the northern portion of Joseph Grant County Park east of San Jose. This land of sparse oak forests and open grass range, which is one of BAOC's largest mapped areas, has never before been used for a rogaine competition.

Participants will have their choice of either a 4-hour or 7-hour time limit. (Don't worry. As usual, you won't have to decide how long you want to be out there until you're actually out there.) During recent years, this format has proven to be quite popular. This competition will make use of one of the club's newest and most up-to-date maps.

In a rogaine (Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance), for those unfamiliar with this type of event, teams of 2 or more participants are launched in a mass start to find orienteering markers distributed over a wide area. The markers are assigned point values, with highest values assigned to those markers that are hardest to reach. Each team's goal is to visit whatever markers they can reach within the time alloted, in whatever order they like, to maximize their point total. If they return to the finish (typically the same as the start) after the time limit expires, they will lose points for each minute of overtime.

See the Course Setters' Notes for more information. In particular, please note the Rules and Procedures.

Teams and Classes

In the Astrogaine, a team must consist of at least 2, and no more than 6, members. Each team will register in one of 9 classes, based on the age and gender of its members. Qualifications of these classes are listed below:

Open Men (team is all men of any ages)
Open Women (team is all women of any ages)
Open Mixed (at least 1 man, at least 1 woman, of any ages)
Masters Men (team is all men whose average age is at least 40 years)
Masters Women (team is all women whose average age is at least 40 years)
Mixed Masters (at least 1 man, at least 1 woman, average age at least 40)
Veteran Men (team is all men whose average age is at least 50 years)
Veteran Women (team is all women whose average age is at least 50 years)
Mixed Veterans (at least 1 man, at least 1 woman, average age at least 50)

An "average age of at least X years" actually means two things: (1) the sum of the ages of all the members of your team must be at least X multiplied by the number of team members. (2) At least half your team members must be at least X years old. So one 30-year-old and one 50-year-old, for example, would be a perfectly legal Masters team but two 30-year-olds and one 60-year-old would not.

For each of the two time limits (4 hours and 7 hours), competition will take place within each one of these 9 classes, making a total of 18 individual class competitions. For each time limit, combined rankings will also be posted on the BAOC website and Bulletin in a number of categories: All Teams Combined, All Open Teams, All Masters Teams, All Veterans Teams, All Men's Teams, All Women's Teams, and All Mixed Teams.

Click here for information about teams that have already registered.

What You Need To Do Before The Event

Pre-registration is required for this event. The registration fee is $30 per participant (not per team). The event fee includes a T-shirt. (Sorry, folks, the T-shirt is not optional. Otherwise there's just been chaos when we try to make a wild guess of how many T-shirts to order as event day approaches.) The fee can be paid on the day of the event, but we'd strongly prefer that you send in your fee by ordinary mail sometime before the event. Please make all checks payable to "Bay Area Orienteering Club" and mail to:

Mark Blair
2760 Hartley Gate Ct
Pleasanton, CA 94566

If you decide to pay the entry fee on the day of the event, you must pay with a check — we will not be handling any cash that day.

Pre-registration is now closed, but there is good news: If you don't have an Astrogaine partner but would still like to participate, and if you're willing to give up your T-shirt, then you can show up at the Astrogaine Start/Finish area at 7:45 A.M. on the day of the event to get together with other people seeking partners. If you find someone you'd like to run with, we'll register you as a team on the spot.
Mark Blair, Astrogaine Event Director
A slight correction/addition to Event Director Mark Blair's latest missive concerning "late" entries to this Sunday's Rogaine. Penny has ordered a few extra t-shirts for the event, so we request that all "late entrants" for the event, including individuals who come on the day, please indicate your t-shirt size on your e-mail entry to Mark Blair. The chances are very good that we will have enough shirts for everyone. I will be in charge of the t-shirts on the day, and I need to have an accurate accounting.
Harold DeMoss

Each participant must also submit the following information by 3:00 A.M. on October 17:

Your name
Your gender (which is sometimes not obvious from the name)
Your age on October 22, 2006
Your T-shirt size (Small, Medium, Large, or Extra Large)

This information can be sent to the mailing address above or (much easier) e-mailed to .

Finally, one representative member from each team must submit the following information, either to the mailing address or e-mail address mentioned above, by 3:00 A.M. on October 17:

Names of the members of your team
Class (one of the 9 listed above) in which you wish to register your team
Team name (optional)
Representative team member's mailing address

When we receive this information, we'll mail your representative team member a standard BAOC entry form and waiver of liability, which must be signed by every member of your team and handed in at the start line on the day of the event.

What You Need To Do On The Day Of The Event

The mass start for the Astrogaine will take place at precisely 8:30 A.M. on October 22 at an open area just north of Mount Hamilton Road near the southeast corner of the very large pond (or lake) in the northern part of the park. When you drive up Mount Hamilton Road from San Jose, follow the "ORIENTEERING" road signs to the main entrance of Joseph Grant Park, enter, pay the $5 park usage fee, and continue to follow the "ORIENTEERING" signs into the park. (This is the main part of the park south of Mount Hamilton Road.) We'll be using the two parking lots next to the Stockmans' Picnic Area. (These are the same lots used for parking in last October's A-meet.) From here, follow the orange streamers along a route that will cross Mount Hamilton Road and lead you to the start. (Again, this route is identical to the one used in last year's A-meet to lead participants from the parking lots to start/finish areas on the other side of Mount Hamilton Road.)

E-punch will not be used for the rogaine, just good old-fashioned manual punch. You will be carrying a (rather large) plastic-sealed map, another 8.5-by-11 inch sealed sheet with punch card and control descriptions, a mandatory safety whistle, and whatever other gear you decide to bring.

Plan to arrive at the parking lots at approximately 7:30 A.M. and allow about 15 minutes to walk to the start. This should give you plenty of time to turn in your team's signed entry form, receive your map and punch/description sheet, listen to a short briefing, huddle with your teammates during an 8-minute period immediately before the start when you get to turn over your maps and begin planning your strategy, then finally lunge forth into the wilderness when the start whistle blows at 8:30 A.M.

All participants must report to the finish line, which is the same as the start line, even if they do not use the full alloted time.

Further details will be posted here and on the Bay-O-Net as the event approaches, or will be explained before the mass start on the day of the event.

TO ALL ASTROGAINE TEAMS AND TEAM MEMBERS: If you have not already paid your registration fees, please have the exact change ($30 per participant), preferrably in the form of a check, ready to hand over at the Start. Please also have your application/waiver, which must be signed by all members of your team, ready to hand in.
I'll see you all this Sunday. I think that you, and we, will all enjoy a spectacular day in the mild autumn sun.
Mark Blair, Astrogaine Event Director

One Other Thing

Start looking for that ideal rogaine partner!

Driving Directions

Take the Alum Rock Road exit off I-680 in San Jose, and head for the hills (east). This exit is about one mile northeast of the 280/680/101 interchange. Continue on Alum Rock Road for about 2 miles, and turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road. Go about 9 miles to the park entrance, which will be on your right.

After paying the $5 entry fee (which might be self-service, requiring exact change), go to the parking area designated by the O' signs.