Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Date: (Sat.) Feb. 21, 2009
Location: Richmond, CA
Event Director: - 510.779.8808
Course Setter: Steve Gregg
Type: C; White, Yellow, and Orange courses; Prologue-Chase two-part sprint

Course Setter's Notes


Welcome to Point Pinole! I made my final vetting trip to the park Tuesday afternoon (2/17/09), and discovered that all the recent rain has created many areas of standing water, but very little actual mud. So if we get dry weather between now and Saturday, as the current forecast predicts, running conditions on the ground should still be very good. Cleats or spikes are still recommended on the advanced courses, as the fallen leaves and logs in the forested areas will still be quite slick. I should also note that goats have been grazing in the park for months now, which will make the ground surface as fast as it ever gets.

All maps will be printed at the standard 1:5000 sprint scale, although the Prologue and Chase maps will be large as a result. (Let me know what you think about this after the event.)


Here are the details of the courses:

  Course                Length    Climb   Controls
  White/COOL 1          2.0 km    30 m       10
  Yellow/COOL 2         2.2 km    45 m       10
  Orange/COOL 3/JROTC   2.8 km    60 m       12
  Prologue/COOL 4       2.9 km    40 m       12    (See note #1)
  Chase                 3.4 km    70 m       12    (See note #2)
  Note #1: There is an unmanned remote finish 1.5 km from the staging area.
  Note #2: First start at about 12:45. Remote start 0.7 km from staging area.

Here are some comments on the courses:

White: Easy navigation on trails. For beginners and younger children.
Yellow: Every control is less than 75 meters from a trail, and most will be visible from the trails. However, the course is designed so that, in many cases, there will be much shorter off-trail route choices to the controls, across mostly open terrain. This course should be very good practice for advanced beginners.
Orange: This course is technically easier than the Prologue and Chase courses, as it is designed both to be the COOL 3 course, and also to be appropriate for the JROTC groups that often attend this event. Advanced runners wanting maximum technical challenge are encouraged to run the Prologue, even if you do not intend to stay for the Chase.
Prologue and Chase: The starts for the Prologue will be first-come, first-served just like a regular event—but you need to start no later than 11:45 or so in order to get back in time for the chase. Remember, after the finish there is a 1.5-km walk back to the Start!!! Also note that this year, as in 2007, there will be a reverse chase, with the slowest runners in the Prologue starting first, and everyone else starting after that, based on how much time they beat the first person by in the Prologue. Normally there is about a 20-minute gap between the last finisher and the first finisher of the Prologue. The plan is to start the slowest Prologue runners at approximately 12:45 (with a mass start if appropriate), which means that the fastest Prologue runner will start at approximately 1:05. I plan to award inexpensive prizes to the first three people to cross the finish line, plus the runner with the fastest combined time for the Prologue and Chase.


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 its 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: As mentioned above, although there has been heavy rain in the days leading up to the event, the running surface is still reasonably firm, and I expect times to be fast. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of more rain on the day of the event, so come prepared with any rain gear and dry clothes that you anticipate needing.

Map Notes

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.

Vegetation Mapping: It's a good thing this map is on OCAD! At Point Pinole they perform eucalyptus logging, brush burning, and goat grazing 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:

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.

Also, we have done quite a bit of extra field checking around some of the controls this year. Expect more root stocks and small thickets to be mapped in the neighborhood of the controls than they are on other parts of the map.

Like the Montebello 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.