2018 California Orienteering Week (COW)

California Orienteering Week (COW)

Stage 4: Mills College Campus

Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.407.1876
Course Setter: George Minarik (BAOC)
Type: A; Urban Middle-distance National Event with recreational beginner courses

Latest Changes:

Note about E-stick capacity added. (3/18)
Arrival Logistics added. (3/15)
Embargoed area is specified. (3/14)
Driving & transit directions added. (3/14)
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: 9:30 AM to 12:30 AM
Recreational registration open: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Beginner clinics: 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Competitive start window: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Recreational starts open: 11:00 AM to noon (this changed on 3/6)
Courses close: 2:30 PM (except for competitive starts after 12:30)

Campus is Out of Bounds!

Except for the entry road, parking lot, walkways directly to the Assembly Area, the Assembly Area itself, and the walk to the Start, the entire campus is embargoed from 6:00 AM on March 21st until course closure. That means you may not enter other areas of the campus on that day until after the entire competition is completed.

Arrival Logistics

Registration and restrooms are in Haas Pavilion, a 200 m walk from parking. We also have use of the locker rooms in that building for changing and clothing storage (but don't leave valuables there). (A PDF map of the area is linked from the Parking section below.)

The Start is 150 meters from registration. The Finish Arena is in the main quad, another 200 meters from the Starts.

It is prohibited to walk into the campus past the Start line until after you have finished your course.

After you have finished, there are ample spectator opportunities in the Finish Arena. (It is prohibited to walk past the Finish area until after the entire competition is completed.)

Notes for Competitive Entries

Notes for Recreational Entries


Here are the final course details:

    Course    Length    Climb   Controls
    White     2.0 km     30 m      19  
    Yellow    2.2 km     30 m      21
    Orange    2.8 Km     70 m      23
    Brown     2.9 Km     70 m      25
    Green     3.5 km    100 m      29 (*)
    Red       4.2 km    140 m      30 (*)
    Blue      4.6 km    140 m      34 (*)
    (*) Note that SI-Card5 and SI-Card8 E-sticks can record only 30 controls!  

Recreational (non-competitive) entries will be allowed on the White, Yellow, and 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 "2.0 km" course might cover about 2 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 Mills College, you are in the Start Triangle when you are at the Start Line.

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

Driving Directions

The address of the college is 5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94613  (Google Map (https://www.google.com/maps/place/37%C2%B046%2756.9%22N+122%C2%B011%2713.9%22W/@37.7824631,-122.1877422,11z))

From the west, get to I-580 East. Take the MacArthur Blvd exit (#25B). Continue on MacArthur Blvd to Richards Road (the campus entrance) on the left. See Parking below.

From the east, get to I-580 West. Take the MacArthur Blvd exit (#25). Turn left onto Buell St. Turn left onto MacArthur Blvd. Turn left onto Richards Road (the campus entrance). See Parking below.

From the south, take I-880 North to I-238 (exit 31A) toward Castro Valley. After about 2 miles, take exit 14 to I-580 West. After about 9 miles, take the MacArthur Blvd exit (#25). Turn left onto Buell St. Turn left onto MacArthur Blvd. Turn left onto Richards Road (the campus entrance). See Parking below.


After passing through the entrance station (they might ask you what you are coming for), turn right and then turn right immediately again to park in the visitor lot. Walk back to the main campus road, and then to the Assembly Area next to the soccer field.

A small map showing the parking lot ("Renter Parking") and soccer field is available in this PDF file (280KB). (Before you ask, we don't know the significance of the dashed orange line.)

Public Transit

The AC Transit NL bus (http://www.actransit.org/maps/schedule_results.php?quick_line=NL&Go=Go) stops at the entrance to Mills College. The bus can be boarded at the San Francisco Temporary Transbay Terminal (http://tjpa.org/project/temporary-terminal) (bounded by Folsom, Beale, Howard, and Main Streets), at the Oakland 19th St BART Station/Transit Center (1900 Broadway), or elsewhere along the bus route.

Course Setter's Notes

By George Minarik

The map scale is 1:4000. The contour interval 2.5 meters. It is an ISSOM map (International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps (290KB PDF) (http://orienteering.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/International-Specification-for-Sprint-Orienteering-Maps-2007_corrected-201211.pdf)) produced by Rex Winterbottom. (Note that Sprint maps use some symbols that are not used on "regular" maps, including several things that are considered "impassable", and thus must not be crossed [even if you are physically able to cross them].)

The Mills College Campus is a beautiful and interesting place for orienteering. In addition to the intricate layout of the campus buildings, there is a hill area that contains some runnable woods and open fields with high grasses. Lion Creek bisects the campus, and can be crossed only by any of seven bridges (see below), making for some interesting route choices.

The courses have been designed according to Sprint course standards¹ with Middle course length. We are expecting winning times between 25–30 minutes.

We recommend shoes with some good tread, such as trail runners, because of the slippery slopes. Note, however, that no metal spikes or studs are allowed. The courses will roughly contain 70% hard surfaces, 15% open fields or trails, 5% open woods running.

There will be many controls placed close together, so be diligent in checking the codes. There will be one water stop on the Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses. There are no water stops on the White, Yellow, or Orange courses. There will be water at the Start.

There are several out-of-bounds areas marked on the map as purple slash. Running through them means disqualification. Lion Creek and its banks are marked as out of bounds; cross the creek only on the bridges. There are many garden and bushy areas colored on the map as Olive Green. Running through Olive Green will also get you DSQed. In addition, there are many small garden areas not marked as Olive green​—​please step around these. In the open forest hillside, there are patches of colorful wildflowers​—​please step around these as well.

The students will be on Spring Break, so there should not be much car or foot traffic on campus, but please give pedestrians and vehicles the right of way. There is some prominent, but avoidable poison oak on the Orange and advanced courses, so you may want to consider long pants.


¹ From the IOF rules (1MB PDF) (http://orienteering.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/IOF-Rules-2018-v1.14final.pdf) "... course planning for Sprint and Middle distance orienteering must call on detailed map reading and on a high degree of concentration throughout the entire course." Also see pages 42 and 43 in the IOF Rules, which describe Sprint and Middle-distance courses.