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The Sprints at Point Pinole

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 24, 2008
Location: Richmond, CA
Event Director: - 510.779.8808
Course Setter: Steve Gregg
Type: C; Prologue and Chase sprint courses, plus White, Yellow, and Orange courses

Course Setter's Notes


NOTICE TO PROLOGUE RUNNERS! As most of you will not read all the way through these notes, I will start with a very important new map symbol that I have added this year. On the Prologue course, you will encounter several green circles on the map, all of which stand for stumps remaining from trees that the park has recently cut down. These stumps are all about half a meter tall and maybe a foot in diameter, and are very noticable in the open terrain in which they are located.

By comparison, as has always been the case on this map, green Xs stand for lone trees.

Welcome to Point Pinole! As in 2007, this will not be the club sprint championships, but rest assured that the open, flat, and not-too-technical terrain will still let the speed-burners in the club really show their stuff! The fastest runners in the club are capable of running under 5 min/km here, especially if we have good weather leading up to the event. Unfortunately, that is not likely to be the case this year. Come prepared to encounter wet terrain and muddy, slick conditions. Spikes or cleats are highly recommended on the advanced courses.

This year all the courses will be printed at a 1:5000 scale. The contour interval is 2.5 meters.


Here are the details for the courses:

   Course                    Length    Climb   Controls
   White                     3.1 km    50 m       10
   Yellow/Scout              3.3 km    50 m       12
   Orange                    3.4 km    65 m       11
   Prologue (see note #1)    2.8 km    20 m       14
   Chase (see note #1)       3.8 km    75 m       12
   Notes:  1.  The Prologue has an unmanned remote finish
               1.1 km from the staging area.
           2.  The first Chase start will be at about 12:45.
               It's a remote Start, 0.7 km from staging area.

Here is some descriptive information about the courses:

Potential Dangers

Ticks (the ranger says there are many of them in the woods), small pits and depressions hidden by tall grass, fallen and/or logged eucalyptus trees that can easily trip you up. (I suggest you wear spikes or cleats instead of running shoes, especially if it's wet). There is little poison oak in the park, and it usually takes the form of big bushes that can easily be avoided.

Weather Issues

Right now the forecast is for heavy rain in the days leading up to the event, which may well take us back to the Point Pinole mud and swamps that all of us old-timers know and love. Should that be the case this year, make sure your shoes are well-tied, as the mud can suck them right off if you step into a really bad spot!

Map Notes

  1. Contour line anomalies: For reasons that even Bob doesn't seem to fully understand, the Point Pinole basemap came with many tiny, seemingly random contour line bends that don't correspond to reentrants or spurs in the field. I have smoothed out a lot of them, but have not had time to check and fix every single one. Due to the very open terrain, this will not cause any navigational problems, but you'll probably need to take a different mentality from most of our ultra-hilly BAOC maps. On most of our current maps the tiniest contour line bend could well correspond to a huge reentrant or spur in the field, and we all have learned to think accordingly. On this map, however, a tiny contour line kink may well represent nothing at all.
  2. Vegetation mapping: It's a good thing this map is on OCAD! At Point Pinole they perform eucalyptus logging and brush burning on a regular basis, and this activity dramatically changes the nature of the vegetation from year to year. Thus this map will never be "complete"—every year new field checking will need to be done to try to keep the vegetation mapping as accurate as possible. In addition to this, it was very difficult for me to accurately represent the different thicknesses of the eucalyptus in the forested areas. My basic color scheme was this: Light green for eucalyptus thick enough to be difficult to run through, white for "normal" runnable forest, and in the areas where the eucalyptus was dramatically thinned out but not completely removed, I used the "rough open with scattered trees" symbol. Unfortunately, the darned eucalyptus grows back up so fast that after a few years have passed, the previously thinned-out areas start to look a lot like normal "white" forest again. So don’t expect to notice major differences between the thickness of the vegetation in the forested areas.
  3. Like the Monte Bello map, this map uses black dots to separate the different grades of whites, yellows, and oranges. These dots are there solely to improve the readability of the map—you should not necessarily expect to see "distinct vegetation boundaries". Now that we are using a better printer to produce our maps, these black dots are perhaps no longer necessary, but I have not had the time nor the inclination to remove them and make a test printing.

Goat Alert

I was just informed [on Thursday] by the park ranger that, contrary to what I had been told, there will be some goats in the park during the event. Apparently this is because they need somewhere to take shelter from the heavy rain forecast for Saturday evening. In case you haven't seen what this looks like, there are a couple of hundred goats in the herd, fenced off by lightweight, movable electric fencing.

The ranger has told me where the goats are now. Fortunately there are no controls in this area, and only one leg on the Yellow course will go through this area. But apparently the goat operation is totally independent from the park itself, and the ranger cannot guarantee where the goats will be on Sunday morning.

When I go out to the park Saturday to place all the controls, I will discover the location of the goats, and then on Sunday morning, I will inform you of any last-second changes that need to be made in either out-of-bounds areas on the map (due to the goats being there), or controls that are now inaccessible and have been either moved or thrown out. But I'm hoping any problems will be minimal.