2018 California Orienteering Week (COW)

California Orienteering Week (COW)

Stage 3: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Date: Monday, March 19, 2018
Location: Richmond, CA
Event Director: - 510.407.1876
Course Setter: Steve Gregg (BAOC)
Type: A; Middle-distance National Event with recreational beginner courses

Latest Changes:

Arrival Logistics added. (3/13)
Driving Directions added. (3/13)
Start times (https://www.orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/a40/reglist/home/cow2018) have been assigned (3/12)

Table of contents

Details will be added here as they become available.

"Believe the Website"

The printed material in your registration packets went to press as information was still being added to the event webpages (i.e., the main event page and all seven "Stage" pages). Thus, if there is a conflict between the printed notes and the website, believe the website. We apologize for any confusion that might occur.


Packet pickup: 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Recreational registration open: 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Beginner clinics: 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Start window: 10:00 AM to noon
Courses close: 2:00 PM

Mapping Workshop: noon to 5:00 PM

Arrival Logistics

This section provides comments about getting to the Start on time, with time estimates for the various steps. See the driving directions below for how to get to the event venue.

Please carpool if possible, since parking might be limited​—​it’s a popular park even during the week.

From the parking lot, the Assembly Area (Palms Picnic Area) is a 600 m walk up the hill and over the railroad tracks to the meadow.

Extra clothing left at the Start will be carried back to the Assembly Area.

Notes for Competitive Entries

Notes for Recreational Entries


Here is final course information:

    Course    Length    Climb   Controls
    White     2.4 km     50 m      13  
    Yellow    2.2 km     50 m      11
    Orange    3.8 km     65 m      17
    Brown     3.2 km     70 m      17
    Green     4.0 km     85 m      21
    Red       5.0 km    105 m      25
    Blue      6.0 km    115 m      31

All the courses have roughly 2% climb.

Recreational (non-competitive) entries will be allowed on the beginner-level (White and Yellow) and intermediate-level (Orange) courses.

Beginners should note that the course Length is simply the sum of the straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make). (A rough rule of thumb is to mentally replace "km" with "mi", so a "2.4 km" course might cover about 2.4 miles.)

Climb is an estimate of the cumulative "up" that would be encountered on the optimum route, with no regard for any "down" along the way. As with course length, the actual climb you encounter will depend on your route choices (and errors).

Start Procedure

The same start procedure will be used at every Stage of the COW event. It is described here.

At Pt. Pinole, you will not be in the Start Triangle when you punch START, pick up your map, and start your course. You must go 100 m down a wide road to get to the Start Triangle.

Note that there is a 1 km walk from the Assembly Area to the Start. Be sure to allow time to get there before your start time.

Assigned start times for competitive entries are available here (https://www.orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/a40/reglist/home/cow2018).

Mapping Workshop

There will be a mapping workshop at this event. The details are available here.

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates for the parking lot are 37.992,-122.356. (Note: If you look for the park by name in Google Maps, you'll get wrong final directions.)

To get there, take the Richmond Parkway exit off Interstate 80 in Richmond, and go west for 1.3 miles. Immediately after the stoplight at San Pablo Avenue, turn right at the next light onto Atlas Road. After 0.8 miles on Atlas, you will cross over a set of railroad tracks and encounter a stop sign. Turn left onto Giant Highway at this intersection (do not go straight). You will pass a detention center on your right, and the park entrance will be immediately after that, also on your right.

Note: You want the Giant Highway entrance, not the Atlas Bridge entrance, which we are not permitted to use.

There is an entrance kiosk, but they are currently not collecting the $3 fee.

Please carpool if possible, since parking might be limited.

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

Course Setter's Notes

By Steve Gregg

Welcome to Point Pinole! I made the original map of this park over 20 years ago, and we have held local meets here almost every year since then, but this is only the second time we have used the park for a National Event. It is probably BAOC's flattest forested map, and should be a welcome change for those of you who have run on our steep hills. The map is printed at 1:7500 scale, with 2.5-meter contours.

The park has an extensive trail network, and you will never be more than about 100 meters from a trail on any course. Nonetheless, navigation can be challenging here, especially when running at top speed. The park is full of point features, both manmade (pits and ruins), and natural (lone trees and rootstocks), and your main challenge will be to navigate accurately to these features.

Although I am no doubt biased, I believe the map has held up well over time. I have worked hard to add newly fallen trees to the map every year, and many of their rootstocks will be used as control points. These rootstocks are marked as brown ×s on the map, and if the fallen trunk is long enough to be noticeable (which is the case more often than not), the trunk is mapped with a brown line extending out from the brown ×. Finally, in a few cases enough vegetation has grown up on and around the trunk to warrant mapping it as fight, in which case there is a strip of green on top of the brown line. I believe all of this will make complete sense in the field.

If you ran on this map when it was first made, but have not been here for a few years, you will definitely be surprised by the amount of poison oak you will observe. The White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, and to some extent Green courses have been designed to steer you clear of the worst of it. But on the Red and Blue courses, there will definitely be a few legs where you will be treated to the sight of some impressive patches of the stuff. Unless you are sure you are immune to poison oak, I strongly recommend full leg and arm covering on all the advanced courses. It will not be possible to avoid brushing up against at least a few isolated ankle- or knee-high stalks, no matter how careful you are to avoid it.

My vetter (Gary Carpenter) and I have worked tirelessly this last month to find and map any poison oak patches that have grown large enough to be relevant for navigation. The tall, impassible patches have been mapped as dark green fight, and most of the fight that you will encounter in the forested parts of the map are poison oak patches. These poison oak patches are easily avoidable, and you might even find some of them to be helpful for navigation. However, please do not assume that all the poison oak patches you might encounter in the terrain are on the map.

The other type of poison oak that has been mapped are a few areas of knee-high stalks, which are dense enough to be noteworthy. These areas have been mapped with the green-striped, undergrowth symbol. They can be run through at close to full speed, but runners who are sensitive to poison oak might not want to do that. There are not many of these areas on the map, and the courses have been set to completely avoid the most extensive areas, but you should be aware of what that symbol means on the map, since it is somewhat non-standard.

I hope you have a pleasant day of flat, fast running! In the past, the best Blue course runners have been able to run at 5 min/km pace in this terrain, and although the vegetation is definitely thicker now than it was back then, I still expect to see some very fast times.