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Merritt College

Date: (Sun.) Sep. 7, 2008
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setter: Rex Winterbottom
Type: C; White, Yellow, and Motala afternoon courses

Please note that fees and time limits apply, unless otherwise mentioned below. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Note: This is an afternoon event. See the schedule below.

Perched up in the hills of Oakland with a grand view of the bay, Merritt College provides surprisingly gently rolling terrain for orienteering enjoyment. No steep climbs here, but enough climb to add some interesting challenge to the navigation. One of the East Bay's community colleges, Merritt has about as many buildings as a four-year university. The campus is pleasantly landscaped with a nice mix of more intricate spots where you slow down, and some open spots where you can let it fly. Another new map by Rex, drafted to the 2007 ISSOM Sprint standard at a 1:5000 scale.

There's plenty of room for the White beginner's course to meander around the campus, and a Yellow fits well, too. Perhaps it's hard to believe: I'm electing not to hold a sprint here. I think the combination of the small size of this campus, and variety of areas, lends this map nicely to a Motala. Which is like 4 sprints strung together. Meaning you should expect about 4 km of darting around on 4 copies of the map.

Remember, this event starts at 2:30 PM, and goes until 6:00 PM, or when the awards are done. Awards will be given out on all courses. We will have refreshment treats for all participants, too.

I think the selling point for this event is the excitement you will have with this Motala. If you can't make the mass start, you can do an individual start earlier or later, same program, just without the crowd. Check this out: you'll get a stack of 4 maps. The top one is your first map. Then, after you finish your first map and return to the start, you'll dump the map (given back to you later) and start on your next map. Repeat until you finish your last map. The first 3 maps will be arranged in all the possible combinations—for example, if they are labeled map A, map B, and map C, then it's possible you could go ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, or CBA—that's 6 possible orders. These will be evenly distributed to the participants. The fourth map (call it D) will be the same for everyone.

So you will see a lot of people punching a lot of controls out on campus, and you'll have to think carefully about what you're doing! Who says a campus map has to be easy? We can enjoy a fun and challenging experience here at Merritt College. E-punching will not be offered—we will have control bags with pin punches.

Signed and streamered from the AC Transit 54-line bus stop, registration is in the center of the campus. Restrooms are close by. We'll have water. And we'll also have some refreshments you can enjoy after your course. Appropriate attire is running shoes and light clothing—protective clothing is not necessary. Poison oak is very remote here, and the courses won't go near it. If foggy, it can be cool in the afternoon and early evening, so you might want a sweatshirt or a jacket.

This Google map link (,-122.167346&spn=0.002471,0.003905&t=h&z=17) should get you started on the campus. Make sure labels are turned on, and look for the bus-stop symbol south of the "A" pointer.

The Course Setter's Notes have more specific details about the map, courses, and terrain.

Volunteers are needed for the usual jobs—please contact to volunteer!

Event Schedule

2:30 – Registration
3:00 – Starts
4:00 – Motala Mass Start (note time change from 3:30!)
(also, you may elect to do the Motala earlier or later than 4:00)
4:30 – Registration Closes
5:00 – Last Start
6:00 – Finish Closes, control pickup begins

For those interested, and anybody is welcome, the social afterward will either be at Sparky's on Redwood Rd. (greasy spoon serving Niman Ranch meats) or Round Table Pizza on Joaquin Miller Rd. (more options for vegetarians).


Here are the course details:

  Course        Distance   Climb   Controls   Comment
  White          1.0 km     15 m      10      Trails
  Yellow         2.5        40        14      Off trails
  Motala A       0.9        25         5      Mass start at 4:00
  Motala B       0.8        15         5
  Motala C       0.5        15         5
  Motala D       1.5        40         5
  Motala Totals  3.7        85        20

More information is available in the Course Setter's Notes.

Driving Directions

Take CA Highway 24 to CA Highway 13 south towards Hayward. Exit CA Highway 13 at Redwood Rd / Carson St. Turn left onto Redwood Rd, and follow it up the hill a bit more than 1/2 mile to Campus Dr. You should see signs for Merritt College. Turn right onto Campus Dr. and head up about 1/2 mile to Merritt College.

Alternatively, you can take Highway 13 north from Interstate 580 and exit at Carson St, following the freeway frontage road (Mountain Blvd) up the hill, and turning right onto Redwood Rd.

Or if coming from downtown Oakland on Interstate 580, exit at 35th Ave, turn left, cross MacArthur, and drive up the hill across Highway 13 where 35th Ave becomes Redwood Rd.

Coming from Interstate 880 is not recommended, but High St is the exit, and you have to jog over to 35th Ave by making a left at MacArthur and then turning right onto 35th Ave.

To make your own directions, the address is 12500 Campus Dr, 94619.


Parking is free along Campus Drive, which is close to the bus stop, which has signage to get you to registration in the center of campus. It's not very easy to park any closer than that, actually. But if somehow there's not a space available along Campus Drive, the campus lots cost $1 to park, and they technically are supposed to be monitored on Sunday.

Public Transit

The AC Transit 54 bus drops you off very close to the registration area, and there will be signs and streamers from the bus stop. On Sundays it runs from the Fruitvale BART station 2 minutes past every half-hour—12:02, 12:32, 1:02, etc. until 7:02, and takes 20 minutes to get there. If you take another AC Transit line, such as the NL from San Francisco, or the 57 and transfer at 35th Ave and Macarthur, then it's only about a 10-minute ride. The last 54 leaves Merritt College at 7:30 PM.