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13th Annual Golden Goat

... and introducing the ...

1st Annual Junior Goat

Shell Ridge Open Space

Date: (Sun.) May. 4, 2008
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Event Director: - 510.619.5728
Course Setter: George Minarik
Type: C; Extra long and strenuous courses, plus a regular Yellow course

Course Setter's Notes


Here are some things you should know before you run in next Sunday's 13th Annual Golden Goat races at Shell Ridge in Walnut Creek.


  Course        Length    Climb   Controls   Winning Time
  Golden Goat   10.0 km   745 m      20      109 minutes
  Golden Kid     6.2 km   470 m      13       78 minutes
  Junior Goat    2.7 km   155 m      11       37 minutes
  Yellow         2.7 km   155 m      11

Starts are a three-minute walk from Registration. The Finish is close to Registration.


   9:00 AM  Registration opens (normal fees apply)
   9:20 AM  Meet at start for Junior Goat instructions
   9:30 AM  Junior Goat mass start
  10:00 AM  Yellow course starts open
  10:50 AM  Meet at start for Golden Goat and Kid instructions
  11:00 AM  Golden Goat and Golden Kid mass start
  12:30 PM  Yellow course starts close
   2:00 PM  Awards ceremony (possibly earlier)
   3:00 PM  Courses close

Junior Goat

A mass-start race for young orienteers up to the age of 15. It is of White/Yellow or advanced-beginner difficulty, and has been designed to be fun.

Parents may shadow their juniors as long as they stay at least 10 meters behind them, and don't give them assistance unless they are totally lost.

Since the Junior Goat will finish close to the registration table, everyone waiting to compete in the Goat/Kid should cheer on our young orienteers as they finish.

Yellow Course

This is not a mass-start race, but the usual interval starts between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon. It is the same course as the Junior Goat, and is meant for anyone not competing in the Goat/Kid races.

Golden Goat

This is a long and hilly mass-start race. Strategies and rules are different than a normal orienteering race. For instance following is allowed. Talking to competitors is allowed (but tackling competitors is still not allowed). Goats usually have forked controls or ones that you can skip. This year's Goat does not have either of these, because of the fence-crossing restrictions of the park.

Golden Kid

This is a shorter version of the Golden Goat with the same mass start. In recent years it has become prestigious to win the Golden Kid. The first 10 controls are the same as the Goat. At control 10 (about 50% of the Goat race) Kid runners will split off and proceed to control 18, while the Goat runners go on to control 11. You can run either the Goat or the Kid, and do not have to select your course until control 10.

Map & Terrain

The scale is 1:10000 with 5-meter contours. When this map was made in the mid 1980's we thought it was hot stuff. But now mapping standards have become higher, and this mapping style seems outdated. Through the years, corrections have been made by various club members. But you will notice that these corrections are not consistent in all areas of the map. So the frequently used north part of the map tends to be more accurate than other areas. Conversely the little used eastern part of the map has the substandard quality of an improved USGS map.

The forest areas are mostly open and runnable, although the steep topography will slow down the pace. Generally vegetation is mapped poorly. Do not rely on forest boundaries. There are many lone trees or small groups of trees that are not mapped. I added the only lone tree depicted on the map, because I needed a control point. This tree is mapped as a small green circle.

The ground has gotten hard, and is now again pocked with animal holes.

Grasses are now very high, over 2 meters in some areas, and can be slow to get through. But then some areas have been grazed and are similar to a lawn. From the map, there is no way to tell which areas have been grazed, so this adds a bit of luck to your route choices.

Rock features are variably mapped. The north part of the map does a decent job of depicting the rocks. The southern and eastern parts of the map have many unmapped rock features, and poorly mapped rock features. I have tried to use only well mapped rock features as controls points. However there is a control point set on a somewhat complex cliff feature that is not mapped in great detail. This control will be set high and in plain sight, so deducing the complexity of the feature will not be necessary.

Several large trails have been added to the southern section of the map. There are still many small unmapped trails that I didn't have time to include. Most of the trails relevant to your route choices are now on the map. The trails on the map are depicted unevenly. For instance, many vehicle tracks are mapped as foot paths.

Most creek beds are dry. Some are very steep and filled with forest debris or unmapped bushes. Most ponds are full of water.

Fence crossings are not allowed except at gates. Mandatory gate crossings are indicated on the map and on the control descriptions. If you decide to cross a fence anywhere but a gate, please disqualify yourself.

There are several out-of-bounds areas on the map. They are depicted as closely spaced red or purple vertical lines. On the south side of the map there is a residential area that is out of bounds. A possible route choice on one of the Goat legs could take you off the map and through that area. (You would have to cross a gate or fence.) If you choose to venture into this area, you will want to disqualify yourself.

There will be several water controls on the Golden Goat and Kid course, but none on the Junior Goat course. There is another water station at a mandatory fence crossing on the Goat course. This is indicated with a cup symbol on the map. There will be limited water at the Start and Finish, so bring your own drinks up from the parking area.

Safety Issues

Poison oak is growing sparsely throughout the park. Mostly in the form of avoidable large bushes with shiny green leaves. Some of the worst of it is located in deep creek beds. Wash with Technu after your race.

There is one road crossing of a moderately used park road. Also, a route will take you though a paved parking area. Watch for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

There are planted saplings throughout the park in protective covers of white plastic. Don't step on these.

This is horse country. Please give horses and riders the right of way.

Other possible hazards include steep cliffs, rattlesnakes, cattle, coyotes, ticks, unmapped barbed wire, mountain bikes, unleashed dogs, and rare mountain lions.


Thanks to our vetters, Mikkel Conradi and Joan Roos.

Hope you have a great time in this beautiful park.