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Vasona Lake County Park

Date: (Sun.) Dec. 19, 2010
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Event Director: - 925.872.3935
Course Setter: Dennis Wilkinson
Type: Junior; Running among the holiday light displays

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

Saturday, December 18, Update

Weather is unpredictable — today was supposed to be "100% rain", but it's pretty dry outside right now in Oakland.
Come to Vasona, enjoy the arena, but be prepared for mist, drizzle, showers, or rain, and some wet feet!
Please note that there are additions to the Courses section below.

Oaks, meadows, playgrounds, reservoirs, creeks, and a railroad runs through it. Enjoy some fun "park-O" courses by Dennis Wilkinson featuring an "arena" setup for great spectating. We're going to put you right in the action, as you will be able to see interesting portions of the courses from the gathering area. Juniors will rack up points for the BAOC COOL standings, and adults can log their points in the winter series.

To make the arena setup work appropriately, we will be compressing all the starts into a half-hour window with one-minute intervals. You must be registered by 1:30 to participate, since we will be master planning the start times. Then, you can warm up at the right time for your start. We will be starting up to five people simultaneously each minute. Since there are three Motala loops, we can have people starting at the same time on loops A, B, and C on courses 3 and 4. We're planning on having announcing.

You are encouraged to do your course at whatever pace you like — we're not emphasizing competition — it's all about the spectatability!

After you finish this event, we encourage you to go to the evening event in Willow Glen to enjoy the holiday lights and socialize.


Carefully note the schedule times below — not only are they different than usual BAOC events, if you don't register by 1:30, you won't be able to participate!! And, unless you're volunteering for the arena, you can start only between 2:00 and 2:30!

12:15 – Volunteer orientation (all volunteers except Control Pickup)
12:30 – Registration opens
12:30 – Starts open for arena officials: start crew, finish, announcer
1:30 – Registration closes
1:35 – Clinic — Beginners, Intermediates, and Advanced share tips and tricks
2:00 – First scheduled start (one-minute intervals)
2:30 – Last scheduled start (this can be extended if we have more than 30 participants on White or Yellow)
(People are welcome to start a second course after 2:30,
but bear in mind the course closing time of 3:30.)
3:00 – Control Pickup crew volunteer meeting
3:30 – Courses close, event takedown


The following courses will be available:

White (COOL Course 1) – Beginner's course that follows the trail network
Yellow (COOL Course 2) – Advanced beginner's course that offers the opportunity to go off trail to save time
Motala A+B (COOL Course 3) – Intermediate course that emphasizes cross-country navigation
Motala A+B+C (COOL Course 4) – Like Course 3, but longer

Note: A "Motala" is simply a course made of multiple loops — e.g., A+B+C means 3 loops.

Course Lengths

Here are the straight-line distances for the courses. That is, these are the distances if you were to travel along straight lines between the controls. Of course, you won't be able to do that, so your actual distance will be longer.

White – 1.8 km
Yellow – 2.1 km
Motala A – 1.7 km
Motala B – 1.8 km
Motala C – 2.0 km

Course Setter's Notes

Here are Course Setter's Notes from Dennis Wilkinson:

Vasona is a very pleasant urban park with a nice variety of terrain. Sunday's event offers an "arena" setting for the start, finish, and several controls on each course. Come and enjoy the show!

Warning: Don't trip on any of the guy wires anchoring the many holiday lights displays (these will alter your routes in the open grassy areas), and don't trip on any people or cars as well, since the park has roads.

The White and Yellow courses make a loop around Vasona's meadows and creekside trails and bridges. Since Vasona is very open in most places, the controls should be easy to spot; however, we did tuck a few Yellow controls away here and there.

The Motala course has three loops — you will have the option of doing them all or some subset. There is nothing overly tricky about these courses; they should be fast and fun! We attempted to create some off-trail travel and route choice while keeping the distance relatively short. You might find it advantageous to get your feet (knees?) wet a few times, so watch your footing. I found that the green detail in the few woodsy areas of the park was no longer entirely accurate, but the controls were placed to minimize any confusion.

About the Park

Vasona Lake County Park ( is a facility of the County of Santa Clara Regional Parks and Recreation System.

Volunteers Needed

As volunteers are added, we will update this list with names, so you know what's available.

Driving Directions

To get to Vasona Lake, take Highway 17 South from San Jose. Exit at Lark Avenue and turn left (east, over the highway at the light). At the first traffic light, turn right (south) onto Los Gatos Boulevard. Turn right again (west) at a traffic light onto Blossom Hill Road. After crossing over Highway 17 again, the park entrance will be on your right.

There is a $6 park fee per car, which you pay at a kiosk. The machine accepts credit cards.

After paying, follow the directional signs on the park roads to the largest parking lot by the boat house. Registration is at the north end of that parking lot.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event.