O in the Oaks '08

Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: Nov. 14 - 16, 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.568.6740
Course Setters: François Léonard, Kent Ohlund, Dan Greene, Nick Corsano
Type: A; Full-featured "A" meet, including U.S. Trail Orienteering Championships

2008 United States Trail Orienteering Championships

Event Notes

Welcome to the 2008 United States Trail Orienteering Championships, hosted by the Bay Area Orienteering Club at Joe Grant County Park. Whether you are an experienced trail orienteer, or new to this form of orienteering, we wish you success and, most of all, fun!

Trail Orienteering was developed as an alternative to classic foot orienteering so that all people, able-bodied and disabled, male and female, young and old, can compete equally regardless of physical limitations. Each "control" consists of a set of up to five control bags, one of which is the actual control bag corresponding with the map location and control description. From a "viewing station", your task is to select which control bag, if any, is the correct one.

You are permitted to follow any mapped road or trail during the execution of your course, with the exception of trails or roads marked as out-of-bounds on your map. If you spot a road or trail that is not on the map, you are not permitted entry. Going anywhere off of, or other than, a permitted mapped road or trail is expressly not allowed, and you will be subject to immediate disqualification.

Your map will look quite similar to a classic foot orienteering course, with a start, a number of controls, and a finish. The map is 1:5000 scale, with 5-meter contour intervals. The controls of course will not be on roads or trails, so you won't actually visit them. Instead, you will be visiting "viewing stations". Each viewing station is designated by a small placard on the side of a road or trail. The viewing stations are not shown on your map.

On your control description sheet, you will see the usual symbols for each control. In addition, there will be columns showing how many control bags there are to select from, and the approximate direction from the viewing station to the control. When you locate a viewing station, first visually find all of the control bags (you know how many to look for, listed on your description sheet). Then make your selection: A, B, C, D, E, or Z (for "none of the above"). From the viewing station, go left to right, that is, the left-most control bag is choice A, the next bag to the right is choice B, and so on. A short distance from the viewing station will be a stake with a punch, where you will punch your card with your choice. Once you punch your card, you cannot change your choice, so be careful.

You are allowed to travel along any permitted roads and trails to get additional information or other views, but a friendly warning—perspective changes from different vantage points, so make sure your choice is valid at the viewing station. And remember that Z, for "none of the above", is always an option.

When you finish the course, your punch card will be scored by how many correct choices you made. There will be an "answer sheet" booklet that you can consult.

Although trail orienteering is designed so that people with physical limitations can compete equally with others, there is still a time component. First, there is an overall time limit of two hours for your course. You will have one point deducted from your score for each five minutes, or fraction thereof, that you are over two hours. (For example, two hours and one second = one point deducted, two hours and thirteen minutes = three points deducted.) Second, there will be two timed controls on your course. These timed controls are not included on your map, but you will know when you arrive at one of them (hint, look for a tent). The timed controls serve as tie-breakers when two or more competitors achieve the same overall score.

At a timed control, you will sit in a designated chair and hand your punch card to the timing person. The timing person will tell you how many control bags there are and ask you if you can see them all. Once you indicate that you see all of the control bags (or thirty seconds, whichever occurs sooner), you will be handed a map, correctly oriented, and the timing starts. As soon as you point to your selected answer, the timing stops and the timing person will mark your choice on your punch card. You are not allowed to speak, you must point to the letter that represents your choice.

At each timed control, you have up to one minute to make your selection. The timing person will warn you ten seconds before time elapses. If you do not make a choice within one minute, it counts as an incorrect choice. Also, you have a maximum of thirty seconds from the moment you sit to successfully locate all of the control bags before you will be handed a map. If you cannot locate all of the control bags, you are permitted to ask the timing person for assistance.

At timed controls only, "none of the above" is not an option. One of the visible control bags will always be the correct choice. We are a little kinder to you at the timed controls, because the penalty for making an incorrect choice is more severe. Not only do you not get any credit for an incorrect choice, but you also get a one-minute time penalty.

The first timed control will be adjacent to the Start, and you will be completing it before embarking on the main part of your course. The second timed control will be somewhere on your course. When you arrive at the second timed control, a handler will take your card, mark down the time you arrived, and ask you to wait, if there is already another participant at the timed control. When your time comes, you will be handed your card with a "checkout" time and directed to the designated chair. Thus, the time you spend waiting, if any, at the second timed control will not be included in your two-hour overall time limit.

No consultation is allowed between participants, of course! You are on your own, and it is considered bad form to attempt to peek at a competitor's answers. (Besides which, they might be wrong!) When you finish your course, feel free to review the answer booklet and talk with your fellow competitors who have also finished. Maps will not be collected, but please do not review with anyone who has not yet finished the course. Any protest, either of a control or a competitor's behavior, must be filed within one hour of one's finish time. The protest can be filed with either the Finish crew or another event official.

There is an 800-meter walk to the Start from the registration area, all on road with yellow flagging. You may also wish to try the two sample controls before starting. The registration desk can direct you to them.

The course is approximately 2.75 km in length, with a total climb of about 60 m. It is entirely on paved, gravel, or dirt roads. Mapping conventions include the use of a green dot for a single bush, or a small cluster of contiguous bushes. Single mature trees are mapped with a standard green circle, while smaller isolated trees are mapped with a smaller green circle

There will be a mass start of recreational trail orienteers approximately ten minutes after the last official start. The recreational trail orienteers will not be visiting the timed controls, only the regular controls.

The course setter for the U.S. Trail Orienteering Championships is Nick Corsano, assisted by Steve Beuerman, Dwight Freund, Karen Dennis, and David Irving. Nick is an experienced Trail Orienteering course setter, but this is his first U.S. Championships, so if you happen to see him after you finish your course, be sure to tell him how much you enjoyed the event.