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Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 7, 2010
Location: Richmond, CA
Event Director: - 510.779.8808
Course Setter: Steve Gregg
Type: C; Annual Prologue-Chase two-part sprint, plus White, Yellow, and Orange courses

Course Setter's Notes


Prepare for a soggy Point Pinole this year. As I write this a week before the event, there is a considerable amount of standing water on the courses, and even more rain is forecast in the days leading up to the event. So come prepared with dry clothing, and perhaps even a second pair of orienteering shoes to use in the Chase. I would strongly recommend you wear cleats of some sort on the advanced courses, as the terrain will be slick.

It is again possible this year that there will be goats on the courses the day of the event, which will require me to make last-minute map corrections and course adjustments. Let's hope that doesn't happen!

All maps will be printed at the standard 1:5000 sprint scale, on normal 8.5 by 11 paper. Here are the course statistics:


Here are the details of the courses on offer:

  Course               Length   Climb   Controls
  White                2.3 km    30 m      11
  Yellow/Scout/JROTC   2.5 km    50 m      10
  Orange               3.4 km    75 m      12
  Prologue             2.7 km    30 m      13   See note #1
  Chase                2.9 km    75 m      15   See note #2
  Notes:  1.  The Prologue has an unmanned remote finish 0.7 km
              from the staging area.
          2.  First Chase start will be at about 12:45.  There
              is a remote start 0.5 km from staging area.

White: Easy navigation on trails. For beginners and younger children.

Yellow: Every control is less than 50 meters from a trail, and most will be clearly 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. It is also specifically designed for the scout and JROTC groups that often attend this event.

Orange: This course is of roughly the same technical difficulty as the Prologue and Chase courses, and shares many controls with those courses. You should run this course if you are an intermediate or advanced orienteer but do not want to participate in the two-part Prologue/Chase race.

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 0.7 km walk back to the start!!! Runners will be sent out on the Chase course in groups of four this year, based on their Prologue times, with the fastest group of four runners starting first, at approximately 12:45 PM. The start interval between each group of four runners will be one minute.

The winner of the Prologue/Chase event will be the first runner to cross the Finish line (even in the unlikely event that this runner did not start in the first group of four), and the final results will be based on Finish-line order, not combined time for the two separate races. There will definitely be a small prize awarded to the winner, and I might also scrounge up some prizes for the first person of each group of four to cross the finish line.

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.) On my vetting trips, I noticed a little more poison oak in the park than I have seen in the past, but it should be easily avoidable nonetheless.

Weather Issues

As mentioned above, 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: 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: Light green for eucalyptus thick enough to be difficult to run through, and white for "normal" runnable forest.

2010 Update: In the past, I used the "rough open with scattered trees" symbol for the areas where the eucalyptus was dramatically thinned out but not completely removed. As there has been no heavy eucalyptus thinning done in the park for many years now, I finally decided to remove the "rough open with scattered trees" symbol from the map, and replace it with white woods. This much more accurately reflects the current state of the woods in the park than the old color scheme.

Vegetation boundaries: 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.