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Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Date: (Sun.) Jan. 26, 2020
Location: Richmond, CA
Event Director: - 925.862.2978
Course Setter: Steve Gregg
Type: C; Our annual visit to this fun, fast park. White, Yellow, and Orange courses for beginner through intermediate. In addition, we will offer a “One-Man Relay” for advanced orienteers.

Jan. 24 Update: Be sure to read the “Final Notes From the Course Setter” below.

Course Setter’s Notes

By Steve Gregg

Along with regular White, Yellow, and Orange courses, this year’s Point Pinole event will feature a “one-man relay”. Just like last year, the Relay will have three legs with standard relay forking, but this year, the idea is to have the same person run all three legs, with a single E-punch stick. Each leg will be 1.5 km in length, for a total distance of 4.5 km. The Relay maps will be printed at 1:4000 scale.

In order to use the most technically interesting and least poison oak infested part of the map, the Relay will have a remote Start, approximately 1 km north of the staging area at Palms Picnic Area. (Sadly, we are not allowed to stage an event out of the new, second entrance anymore, so don’t park there or walk there.) There will be virtually no climb, and each of the three Relay legs will have 8 controls, so the event will feel like a forest Sprint, featuring accurate navigation at speed. There are some areas of tall grass and annoying deadfall that will slow you down, but I still expect the winning time to be well under 30 minutes.

The Relay is tentatively scheduled to start at 11:30 AM, but be alert for changes to this tentative schedule. (NOTE: This is 30 minutes later than the time shown on the pre-registration page.)

Please register for the Relay online ( if you possibly can, so that we will know how many maps we should print, and have them ready for you ahead of time. There will be no fancy map exchange zone this year. Each competitor will be given all three maps before the start, in a single map case. You can either start your run carrying all three maps and discard one at the end of each leg, or start with a single map, and exchange it for the next map at the Start/Finish zone, in a manner of your choice.

The White, Yellow, and Orange courses will all start and finish at the Palms Picnic Area, and those maps will be printed at 1:7500 scale.

Here are the course stats:

    Course    Length    Climb   Controls
    White     2.6 km     45 m      11  
    Yellow    2.8 km     70 m      12
    Orange    4.2 km     75 m      10
    Relay     4.5 km    100 m      24

Relay Logistics

We are going to attempt an event format that I’m quite certain has never been done before in the history of BAOC. It will be a “one-man relay”, which differs from a Motala in the unpredictable forking that can and will occur in the middle of each of the three loops.

Last year’s regular relay event had this same format, but with a different person running each leg. Which brings me to the major problem with running a “one-man relay”. I don’t want to go into the ugly details here, but the bottom line is that each competitor will have to use a different E-stick for each leg. Fortunately, the club has more than enough rental E-sticks to make this happen, so as part of the regular entry fee for the event, you will get two rental E-sticks, to use along with your own personal stick.

So how do we plan to deal with this at the map exchange area, you ask? Here is our plan for the event format:

  1. Each competitor will bring a backpack to the remote Start.
  2. At the pre-race briefing, each competitor will receive their three maps, each one in a separate map case. The map cases for the loop-2 and loop-3 maps will also contain the E-stick that the competitor will need to use for that loop. The sticks will be cleared and checked ahead of time.
  3. Each competitor will put the loop-2 and loop-3 maps in their backpack. Then all the backpacks will be lined up in a row, near the changeover control for each loop, which is a FINISH control.
  4. Competitors will line up at the Start, with their loop-1 map, and their personal E-stick. When the start is announced, competitors will run to the first control on their loop-1 map (no START punch). Helpful hint: The first control may well be forked!
  5. When a competitor finishes the first loop, they will first punch the FINISH control with their first stick. They will then proceed to their backpack, dispose of their first map and first stick, and retrieve their loop-2 map and their loop-2 stick. Competitors will then head towards the first control on the loop-2 map.
  6. Exactly the same procedure will be used at the end of the second loop, to proceed to the first control of the loop-3 map, using the loop-3 stick.
  7. When a competitor finishes the third loop, they will punch the FINISH punch for the third time, which will indicate the end of the race. Competitors will then take all three sticks back to the download area at Palms, and Jay will do his magic with the sticks to give you your total time for the event.

Please note that the above is the “default plan”, and there certainly are acceptable variations. For example, some runners might prefer to carry all three sticks with them at the start, if they have a convenient pocket in their O-suit, and can keep track of which stick is which. Or wear a stick on each finger, which is what Matthias did last year. That’s certainly allowed. Feel free to ask if you have other questions about the event format, as there may well be other little issues to address that we have not even thought about yet.

And one last very important point, in all caps: TO GUARANTEE YOURSELF A SPOT IN THE RELAY EVENT, YOU MUST REGISTER AHEAD OF TIME! It’s going to take significant effort before the event to enter everyone’s name into the timing system, and to get the maps and the rental sticks organized, packed up, and ready to go. Jay will need to do the majority of that work ahead of time. The registration deadline is 6 PM on Saturday, the day before the event, so you can certainly wait to see if the weather is going to be to your liking on Sunday, but please don’t forget to pre-register if you plan to attend. A limited number of relay spots will be available the morning of the event, but it will be first-come, first-served, and we certainly cannot guarantee you a spot if you wait.

Weather forecast as of Monday, January 20th: Unfortunately, showers are still in the forecast for Sunday, but with only a 50% chance, so we could get lucky.

Please come to this event with a sense of humor, as there certainly are a multitude of different ways that things might go wrong. Nonetheless, it should be a fun event in interesting, fast terrain, and I’m confident that we will pull it off successfully.

Questions and Answers

Q: Will SI Air sticks work without having to insert them in the punch units?
A: Yes, all of our units are in beacon mode, so they work with SI Air+ sticks. The sticks do need to be turned on to work without inserting. This is done by the CHECK unit. (The FINISH unit turns off the stick.)

Q: Will the rental sticks be SI Air+?
A: Yes and no. We will have SI Air+ and Model 10 sticks. They will be allocated as follows: If your personal stick is an SI Air+, then you get SI Air+ sticks for legs 2 and 3. Otherwise, you get Model 10 sticks.

[Editor's Note: Keep in mind that there is a significant charge for lost rental sticks. Be careful with them!]

Final Notes From the Course Setter

(Added Jan. 24, 10:00 PM)

Yes, please do sign up for the relay by 6 PM Saturday. You will get three double-sided maps, each one printed on the back with your name, your team number, and the loop number. And, in case you are wondering who Michael Crone is, he is an orienteer from England who will be in the Bay Area for the next month or so​—​and will perhaps be the favorite to win the event, or so I understand.

As mentioned in the Course Notes above, please bring a backpack to the remote Start. Since there is not going to be a string or board of any sort to hold your loop-two and loop-three maps this year, we decided this would be the easiest way for you to keep track of your maps, and to keep them dry. Although it looks like the rain will end early Sunday morning, the grass will still probably be quite wet, so keeping your maps nice and dry will be important.

I plan to distribute all the maps at the remote Start, as part of the pre-race briefing. This might take a while, so you might want to get to the remote Start by 11 AM or thereabouts, to give yourself time to get your maps, and position your backpack in the map changeover area. Hopefully we will be able to start the race at 11:30 sharp. To get to the remote Start, head north on the paved path from Palms for about a kilometer, over the top of the little hill, and back down the other side. The remote Start will be at the picnic tables on the left side of the path, directly across from the little pond on the right side of the path.

Additionally, if you anticipate needing water during the race, bring that to the remote Start with you, too. There will be some water available at the Start/Finish area, but it might be easier and quicker for you to take a sip or two out of your own personal bottle, when you change to your next map and your next stick.

Some of you Point Pinole regulars are quite familiar with grazing goats causing last-minute course changes. As of this afternoon, the goats were well south of the relay area, but you never know where they might be by late Sunday morning. Let’s hope they won’t get in our way this year.

If you're interested, the details of the Relay "teams" are available here.

I think that’s about it! Looking forward to our first run of this new event format.

– Steve

Driving Directions

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

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. Instead, use the address 5551 Giant Highway, Richmond.)

To get there, take the Richmond Parkway exit off Interstate 80 in Richmond, and go west for 1.3 miles. Shortly 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.

There is an entrance kiosk at the parking lot, but they might not be there to collect the $3 fee.

Please carpool if possible, since parking might be limited.

From the parking lot, walk up the hill, over the railroad bridge, and follow the paved path to the staging area.