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Roberts Regional Recreation Area

Date: (Sat.) Mar. 31, 2007
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setter: Rex Winterbottom
Type: C; Sprint Course and Line-O Course Only

Roberts Park is the sister to Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. It sits across the other side of Skyline Blvd., adjacent to Chabot Space & Science Center. We offer only (a) an exciting Sprint Course, (b) an optional, self-paced line-O map training, capped off by (c) a social party potluck at the event director's home, featuring a screening of Gymkata. Note that there are no Beginner's Courses at this event. This is a low-profile, barebones event.

The Sprint course will earn points for both Peter Gagarin's US Sprint Series ( and BAOC's inaugural Sprint Series.

Registration and Starts – Not the Usual Times, 4:00 to 6:00!

Registration is at the end of the parking lot. The Start and Finish are a short walk up a hill. We will need volunteers, as I cannot be in both places at once.

4:00 P.M. – Registration, Starts open
6:00 P.M. – Registration, Starts close
6:30 P.M. – Finish closes and control pickup begins—all competitors must report to the Finish by 6:30 P.M.
7:30 P.M. (or earlier, if possible) – Social begins at Event Directors's home.

There are restrooms in buildings on the map, and water is available at fountains on the map.

Course Information

  Course     # Controls    Length   Climb
  Sprint         15        2.5 km   80 m
  Line-O          0         TBA     TBA

What's a Sprint? Prepare for radical changes of direction. A variety of leg lengths. Different types of terrain—open redwood forest with a few man-made features, park landscape, trails, and surprisingly little nastiness. Stick to the trails, when they're available, and you should do well. As long as you're on the correct trails. And there's plenty of navigational challenge and high-concentration map reading.

What's a Line-O? Try to follow the line. Read your map on the run. Take a partner and take turns navigating. Pick features out along the line, etc.

More statistics will be available when I design this, but expect it to be 5.0 km or less with 100–200 m climb.

You can do as much, or little, of the Line-O as you like, and modify it to suit your needs. It's something to do besides the Sprint that will make you hungry for the potluck, and give your day more training benefit.

Map and Terrain Notes

The map scale should be 1:5000, with 20-foot contours.

The map is generally accurate, especially the area used by the courses. Various shades of green usually means nasty, and trails are recommended when deciding between the two. You can do the course without full body armor—i.e., shorts and no gaiters, regular running shoes—and be competitive. Unless it's openly runnable, control sites are near enough to a trail to avoid the nasty. Park landscape, open forest, trails, and a little pavement are what you should expect.

Stay out of the Out of Bounds areas! There are some sensitive areas the park is trying to let grow back into their natural state. Stay out of the cross-hatched areas marked on your map, and any place with a sign in the park telling you to stay out. The courses should not tempt you to venture there.

Hazards, Etc.

The Poison Oak is avoidable, especially with the nature of the course design.

On a nice day, expect many people in the park, and be respectful of their experience. Especially picnicers—there are many picnic tables. Give good clearance around them if they're on your path to a control—don't buzz right by someone's face at top speed!

There are cars. Be careful when crossing the parking lot. One of the controls is set right by a crosswalk at the end of the parking lot near the entrance, as suggested by the ranger.

Social Potluck Party

Come to the Event Director's home, and we'll share food and drinks potluck style, recap the fun of the courses, and share conversation. You may stay and enjoy Gymkata, a 1985 Cold-war era thriller featuring a kung-fu trained gymnast on a clandestine mission to a made-up central-Asian republic dubbed "Parmistan," with the goal of winning a "game" that involves running through the woods and navigating dangerous obstacles. Sounds like orienteering to me, except you could seriously get your butt kicked by the other competitors or the "referees." The winner gets a wish granted by the King, and the Americans want a missile base close to the Soviet Union. Add a love story in there and you get an 80's classic. The movie's an after-dinner bonus for people who feel like staying to check it out. Whether it beats the Swiss O-Week 2006 DVD is up to you to decide. It's certainly cheesier. Directions to the Event Director's home will be available at the event or upon request of the Event Director.

Gymkata preview on YouTube! (

Driving Directions

From Highway 13 in the East Bay (the Warren Freeway), take the Joaquin Miller Road exit. Go uphill (East) on Joaquin Miller Road. Make a left at the next light onto Skyline Blvd. Go about 1 mile, and turn right at the O' sign into the parking area. Do not turn into the Roberts Recreation Area pay parking area. The Orienteering parking area will be about 1/2 mile further down Skyline.

Public Transit

There is no longer a regular AC Transit Bus going to Chabot Space and Science Center.

Your option is to carpool from a BART station, such as Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, or Macarthur.