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Lakeside Park Foot-O and Indian Gulch Bike-O

Date: (Sun.) Aug. 24, 2008
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setters: Rex Winterbottom, Mark Manning
Type: C; Afternoon event: White, Yellow, Sprint, Bike-O, and Memory-O courses

Course Setters' Notes

By (Foot-O) and (Bike-O)

Pay $10 for as many courses as you want! Oakland does not permit collecting money in parks. We will provide you envelopes to send payment to BAOC. It's easy, whatever courses you do, it costs $10 total.

Sorry, but there will not be Epunch. It is only with plans to patrol the controls that I'm going forward with using control bags, which I think is preferable to a question-and-answer format. So I'm still asking for more volunteers, so I can get the control patrol covered smoothly. I don't want anyone watching their assigned controls for too long, or to have more than 5 to watch.

I think you'll find the event and location worth the small hassle of post payment and a little extra event security.


Lakeside Park Foot-O: Feature-packed urban park with gently rolling terrain, only steep at some parts near the shoreline. Mostly open—you can see quite far in the "white" color-coded forest.

Indian Gulch Bike-O: The Bike-O course is mainly based on quiet residential streets, with some fantastic views of the Bay between the varied architecture of the Oakland Hills homes. All of the elevation is gained in the first half of the course, leaving the second half mostly downhill or flat.


Lakeside Park Foot-O: This is a new ISSOM 2007 Sprint-standard map made by Rex. Drafted at 1:5000, it will probably be printed at 1:4000 for this event. Check your map. The contour interval is 10 feet.

Some of the areas have detail I could not fit on the map without making those portions harder to read. Really, it's difficult to get lost on this map. There's plenty to navigate by. Some things are so numerous I decided not to map them: benches, picnic tables, and light poles. Particularly because many of the benches and picnic tables are movable. Not all signs are mapped, but when they are prominent enough, I used the black-circle symbol. Large trees are green circles, small trees are shown by green × symbols, and bushes are green dots. Some trees are not mapped nor color-coded into the vegetation. Why? Because there's no "pavement with scattered trees" area symbol, and I wasn't about to make a non-standard symbol, nor would I spray dozens of green circles into a tight pavement corridor and make it look messy.

A small number of water fountains and man-made objects are too close to buildings in narrow corridors to be mapped. These disclaimers are very technical. The map is good and accurate and drafted more precisely than a 1:7500 or 1:10000 map.

Some parts of the map are mapped as out-of-bounds or using the olive-green "forbidden area" area symbol typically used for settlements.

Indian Gulch Bike-O: Map scale will be 1:15000. The contour interval is 20 feet. What's accurate? The map seems very accurate for the areas of the course. Be alert for staircases on the map (marked with black dotted lines), and be prepared to walk your bike up or down these staircases while on the course.


I think advanced orienteers will find the Yellow course and the Memory course a fun challenge, along with either of the Bike-Os. Do as many courses as you want!

The White course is perfect for beginners and uses some interesting features. It's also a "Junior Sprint." The Yellow course doubles as a regular Sprint, counting for the BAOC and USOF sprint series. The Yellow course has a remote manned finish, and it's about 0.5km back to the registration area. Both of these courses use pin-punch controls.

The Memory course has a mass start at 5:00 only, so save it for last if you plan on doing it, since all starts close at 5:00. No visible controls—the Memory-O has a question-and-answer format and uses mostly monuments and man-made objects as control sites. You will carry a large 8.5" x 11" clue sheet with questions on it. Two answers are provided. One on the left edge of the paper, one on the right. When you see the feature and can answer the question, simply rip from the edge of the paper over the answer you want.

The challenge, of course, is visualizing and remembering where the control sites are. Once you get there, it's no problem to answer the question, but you must have confidence you're at the right place, because there will be no control bag. Each location has been picked so there isn't a cluster of similar features. You will not be able to carry a map with you. But if you wish, you can return to the start and look at the map again for as long as you want.

After a briefing and the mass start is underway for the Memory-O, you will gather in front of one of the 4 large blown-up poster-size maps Bob Cooley has graciously printed. And stare as long as you want before you go out looking for the features. Our vetter, Ben, stared at the map for about 4 minutes, then scuttled around the 1.0 km course in 4 minutes 31 seconds. Without going back to check the map again. An interesting challenge.

If you really need a map, you can do the course under a separate category. However, consider doing it without taking a map with you. I think it's excellent training and practice.

The Bike-O courses will share one map and you can choose which course you are doing while out on the map. Like the Memory-O, it has no control bags and uses a question-and-answer format. Bike-O participants will also get one question sheet, and answer the appropriate questions for your course. You will need a pen or pencil to mark it and we will provide some. The questions are based on street signs you will find at intersections.

Here are the statistics for the courses:

  Course        Distance    Climb    Controls    Comment
  White          1.5 km      10 m       10       Junior sprint
  Yellow         2.9         20         17       Adult sprint
  Memory O       1.0         10          6       Mass start at 5:00
  Short Bike    11.7        255          9
  Long Bike     14.1        396         12


Lakeside Park Foot-O: As Ben suggests below, running shoes and shorts are great. No need to suit up in your full-body armor. However, it can get cool with the fog, and you might want a sweatshirt or a light jacket available.

Indian Gulch Bike-O: It will most likely be warm on the course. Cycling or athletic clothing is advised. There are multiple route choices and some that include staircases. Cycling or running shoes should be fine. With the course being quite hilly, your bike should have appropriate gearing. Using a single speed could be a challenge, but road and mountain bikes will be fine.

Vetter's notes – Lakeside Park Foot-O – by Ben Legg

I test ran Rex's courses at Lake Merritt this weekend. It was great to go running in the park. Rex has done an excellent job with his first map. Lake Merritt is not a large park, but it's packed with features. His sprint map captures this detail really well. The terrain is flat and open, so you can really practice running at high speeds. No uphill slogs! Running shoes and shorts are appropriate gear.

I think advanced runners will particularly enjoy the Yellow course, which doubles as a fun sprint. The White course provides a nice tour of the park, and is accessible enough to push a stroller along. The Memory-O is also a fun game—I'm already curious to see how people attack it!


Lakeside Park Foot-O: This park gets major use on weekends. You will enjoy the spectacle of many people of all walks of life, ages, and cultures. Please be respectful of the people using the park by avoiding interfering with their activities such as picnics and games as you pass through the area. If this means altering your route, please do so. We want to set a good precedent in our first time using this park, and it will be safer for all if you make good choices out there.

Mostly, the courses avoid crossing the roads with vehicle traffic. One crossing has a crosswalk. The other does not, so be careful of vehicles. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour, but even so, look before crossing.

There are some forbidden areas, and I set the courses so that you shouldn't need to go in or through Children's Fairyland or the Botanical Garden. The three large olive-green squares on the map are lawn-bowling greens that are fenced all the way around. In no circumstances should you go across them—Go around. Also, stay out of the bird sanctuary—you wouldn't save time going through it anyway. It's mapped as out of bounds.

Although we plan on providing control security, there is a chance a control bag may be taken or moved. If you get to the site and you're pretty sure you've looked around, just move on and inform somebody at the Finish when you get there.

Indian Gulch Bike-O: Cars—I designed courses to avoid most major roads. There will be a little traffic between the Start and the first checkpoint, and from the last checkpoint to the Finish, as you go under highway 580. Plan on slowing down when you cross roads, and looking carefully in both directions. Follow all traffic rules. People—There will be other road users and pedestrians out on the course, so watch out for them. Be polite.


We will provide water at the registration area but none on the course due to the high traffic. There are quite a few mapped water fountains.

There are bathrooms near registration. If you'd like to see other bathrooms, there are two more buildings 200 meters further away in different directions, if you're looking to get the best of what's out there. There will be a map marking the location of all 3 sets of public restrooms in the park.

You're responsible for locking up and looking after your own bike if you are bringing a bike.


Sorry, no dogs are allowed anywhere in the park. This is clearly signed everywhere.


At the end we'll have a short awards ceremony and a toast. I'm starting a new business called terraloco, and providing the map for this event is the first thing that has tangibly happened with it. (More information about the business coming soon.) So, I'm inviting anyone interested to a dinner and launch party literally across the street at Los Cantaros Taqueria, 336 Grand Ave. I booked the back room for 6:00 to 8:00, and it has a limit of 30 seats. So just RSVP with me if you'd like to join in the fun. Anybody's welcome up to the seat limit.