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Lake Tahoe Training Weekend

Date: Aug. 4 - 5, 2012
Location: Lake Tahoe Area
Event Director: - 510.325.8080
Course Setter: Bruce Wolfe
Type: Training; Two days of training events at Burton Creek (Sat.) and Spooner Lake (Sun.) -- camping option at Donner Memorial Park

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

Latest on the Tahoe training event (as of Friday, Aug. 3)

It's warm up here at Tahoe, but reports are that it'll cool off a bit with a chance of showers by the latter part of the weekend — plan accordingly, since I won't have water on the courses. In fact, as this is training, onsite "services" will be spartan — although I will have some compasses, gaiters, and shoes for sale (hey, gotta pay for gas...). All bags will have punches, but we won't use punch cards — punch on your map or tag the bag as you see fit.

Bags are out at Burton — since Burton is one of our most technical areas, use this day as true training. Suggested training options:

  1. Various point-to-point options using the controls I've placed — since this is training, it's fine to re-do the course or design your own.
  2. Pair with someone of similar ability, and use the streamers I'll have along to practice short legs: the pair picks a start triangle, then each person sets a streamer as part of a two-leg course. Each of the pair returns to the start triangle once the streamer is placed, and both mark the two points on the map. Start at the same time, but go to the other person's streamer first, then to the one you placed (but now you're coming at it differently), picking it up while there, then return to start triangle — be as competitive as you want. After each "course", compare notes with your partner as you walk/jog to another "start triangle" to do it again — rinse/repeat.
  3. Map hike: on your own or in a group, walk out into the terrain and just try to find and recognize each of the features shown on the map. After a while, put the map away, walk/jog for a bit, then look at the map and use the features you see to locate yourself on the map — I even suggest doing some of this before going out on a course.
  4. Offer to pick up controls — I'll need to leave Burton by 1:00-ish to finish getting things set at Spooner, so helping pick up and bringing to me at Spooner on Sunday would save me another trip to the North Shore.

Bags are going out this afternoon at Spooner, with a few more on Saturday. More emphasis on route choice (and enjoying the amazing views). Here are some comments about the day at Spooner:

  1. Lots of controls spread on both sides of Hwy 28, so do the score option, with group start at 10:30, or do a point-to-point option a la #1 above.
  2. Fewer technical areas than Burton, but the terrain is still unlike the Bay Area, so a dose of either #2 or #3 from above would benefit you.
  3. Control pickup is always good training! Also, we may have some beginners — if so, helping me put out a short course around Spooner Lake would be great!

Additional training ideas — if you've been to either area before, bring some old maps and revisit some areas that gave you trouble at a walk/jog pace to see if you can understand why you had trouble — I'm happy to offer suggestions.

Vegetation is changing at these areas (more so at Spooner), but interpreting areas where it's changed will be part of your training, so go with it!

See you between 11:00 and 1:00 on Saturday at the North Tahoe High School parking lot, or between 10:00 and noon on Sunday at the parking on the west side of Hwy 28 near the intersection with Hwy 50 — follow the "Watercraft Inspection" sign. Look for the beige 80's vintage Mercedes 560SL — there won't be too many of those around!


Original Announcement

At long last, more details on what's in store for the August 4–5 training weekend at Tahoe!

Some background: for a number of years, I have set the orienteering courses for Big Blue Adventure's mid-summer Lake Tahoe 24/36-hour adventure race using a mix of the Burton Creek, Northstar, and Spooner Lake maps. That's usually meant that I set 12 to 14 controls at Burton or Northstar, combined with 20 to 25 at Spooner. The adventure race uses a score-course approach to the orienteering courses, with placement generally at the intermediate level and the emphasis on route choice. I design the courses such that the top teams can get close to all the controls and the lesser teams much fewer. So, after the many hours I spend to set the courses, why not maximize use of them once the adventure racers have come through?

This year, the adventure race will start at 10 PM Friday night, the 3rd, from Northstar, and finish at 10 AM Sunday morning, the 5th. The racers will go through Burton Friday night/Saturday morning and Spooner late Saturday/Sunday morning. So, you all get to have at Burton on Saturday, and Spooner on Sunday, as follows:

There will not be event fees, as such, but there will be nominal fees for the maps.

More to come as I get more adventure race details. For planning, I'd appreciate hearing from you if you plan to come — you can also let me know what you would like to do at Burton on Saturday. And, while I'll be staying at Tahoe for a few days after the 5th, I welcome offers of control pickup.



Some people are camping — ask for details.

I have a campsite reservation at Splitrock Campground at Donner Memorial State Park for 2 nights. The site is for 8 people and 2 cars (additional parking is available). At this point I have my 2 sons joining me, so there is room for 5 others. Let me know if you are interested in sharing the campsite.


Both Burton Creek and Spooner Lake courses from the Lake Tahoe Training Weekend are now available on RouteGadget. Visit this page ( for an introduction, or go directly here ( to select a venue and draw your route.

The events are set up using the "no results" mode where competitors need to enter their name, total time, and any cumulative splits that they might have taken.

Note that if you are uploading a GPS track, you don't need to enter any times.

You can draw your route even if you didn't take any splits — just enter your name and total time. Note that RouteGadget requires cumulative splits. Both splits and total time need to be in MMMSS format. For example, 0:57 is entered as "57", 5min43s as "543", and 1hr12min32s as "7232". That's easy.

To see other RouteGadget events worldwide, visit this site (

Happy Routes,