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Kelly Wells hoofs it at the 5th annual Golden Goat, held at Shell Ridge, October 2000 (Photo: Ian Tidswell)

Sprint Champs at Point Pinole

Date: February 22, 2004
Location: Richmond, CA.
Contact: , (510) 531-6697
Type: C; Sprint Championships (plus White, Yellow, and Orange courses)
Last Minute Update

The BAOC Sprint Championships will follow the same format used in previous years, but with a little twist thrown in. The Prologue course will be 3.0 km in length, with an unmanned remote finish requiring a 1.0 km walk back to the start. The Chase will be 3.3 km in length, with a remote start 0.7 km away and finishing back at the staging area.

Click to enlarge - Montebello Open Space Preserve, looking from the start toward the finish (2004)

The controls will all be Yellow to Orange level difficulty. The twist will involve the use of a "Butterfly Loop" pattern at some point during the Chase, to split up the packs a bit. A complete description of the Butterfly Loop was already provided by Tapio in the days leading up to the Calero event (which was canceled, sadly), so please send any additional questions on the race format to him, not me :-)

For those of you who are new to this, the Prologue course will have first-come, first-served starting times just like a regular event. However, if you wish to participate in the Chase that follows, you need to be sure you arrive early enough to finish your first run by 12:00 or so, since your starting time for the Chase will be 12:30, plus the amount of time it took you to complete the Prologue. The winners of the event will be the first people to cross the finish line at the end of the Chase.

David Giese and Thorsten Graeve compare route choices at the 2002 Bear Valley Ski-O (Photo: Tony Pinkham)

As usual, the terrain at Point Pinole is flat and blazingly fast. Rumor has it that Eric Bone will be in the Bay Area for this event, and if this turns out to be the case, the winning time will definitely be under 5 min/km. I hope most of the club "regulars" will choose to compete in the championships, as this particular event format is much more fun for everyone if a lot of people participate. However, I do plan to set a regular Orange course with electronic punching for those people not interested in running the sprints. Normal White and Yellow courses with manual punching will also be offered.

Last minute update by Steve Gregg

It can't keep raining like this clear until Sunday--can it?? I went out to the park today before the big storm hit to finalize the courses. The footing was still firm in most places, but if it continues to rain like it did this afternoon for the next few days, you can expect the place to be a swampy, muddy mess by Sunday. Come prepared! If you are running the Prologue and Chase, one or even two changes of clothes and shoes would not be a bad idea.

Here are the course stats. Take the estimated winning times with a very large grain of salt, as they are based on my test-run times in perfectly dry conditions.

White--3.6 km, 55 m climb
Yellow--3.3 km, 55 m climb
Orange--3.4 km, 60 m climb
Prologue--2.9 km, 30 m climb, EWT 15 minutes
Chase--3.2 km. 65 m climb, EWT 16 minutes 30 seconds

People have gotten into the habit of starting the prologue quite late the past few years, apparently because they don't want to get cold and stiff waiting around for the start of the chase. Last year in particular, this caused quite a backup at the start at around 11 AM. I plan to use 1 minute start intervals from the get-go this year to prevent anyone from having a really long wait, but nonetheless I encourage some of you to start earlier this year! Remember, your start time for the chase is 12:30 plus your prologue time, which means the leader will start around 12:45 and everyone should be on the course by around 1:00. And like last year, the Prologue will have an unmanned remote finish requiring a 1.2 km walk back to the start. And the chase will have a remote start 0.7 km from the staging area. So don't cut it too close!

I'm very curious to see what people will think about the "butterfly loops" that will be used in the Chase. If you still don't understand how this will work, Van added a link to Tapio's description of the butterfly to the Point Pinole event site at This also means that you will NOT get control descriptions for the Chase course ahead of time, as I won't know at registration time which butterfly loop you will run and I also don't want to give away ahead of time where on the course the butterfly will be. You'll have to get the descriptions off the map if you need them. Yeah, I don't like to run without descriptions either, but I see no good way around this.

The most important map commentary is to not take the vegetation coloration too seriously. In particular, you may not notice much difference between white forest and "rough open with scattered trees". On this map, "rough open with scattered trees" means areas where the vegetation has been seriously thinned out by the park in the past. But the darned eucalyptus grows back up so fast that it doesn't take too many years for these areas to start looking like regular white forest again. Also, the park burned the open hillside on the south part of the map sometime last year, and that has made the mapped thickets much less distinct than before (since they are no longer completely impassable, and thus look more like the unmapped individual bushes). I think the contours in this area are quite accurate, though, and much more visible now that all the brush has been burned out. So you should use those as your primary navigational aid in this area.

So who will win? Eric Bone has got to be the early favorite, but he has never run on the map before, and we'll see if this puts him at a major disadvantage over Syd and Vlad, last year's top two. Wyatt will be in the Bay Area for the event (unless his plane is late) and always runs well in this terrain. Rex Winterbottom is very fit and could be in the hunt for a medal. Will Dan SH drive all the way down from Reno for the event? If so, he will definitely be a contender for the win. Francois Leonard ran very well last year too.

I haven't heard anything about which women will be running this year but for the first time, I will provide medals for the top three women as well as the top three men.

Any questions or volunteers to help? Let me know. Hope to see many of you Sunday, even if the weather conditions aren't exactly optimal.

Second Last Minute Update by Steve Gregg

After reading this, more than a few of you are going to think I am a hopeless perfectionist. If the shoe fits...

One of my pet peeves is running on a map where the control circle covers important map information near the control. I always cut the circle whenever I think this map detail needs to be more visible.

However, probably due to some sort of glitch between different versions of the Condes program, the circles that I wanted to be cut ended up not being cut on the maps Bob printed. The maps I printed here at home had the circles cut the way I wanted, and I E-mailed Bob that Condes file, but the maps I received today had full circles printed instead for some reason.

This is not the world championships and it would be ridiculous to have Bob reprint 150 maps. Just be aware that at two different places on your courses, you are almost certainly going to encounter large rootstocks that are attached to long fallen trees near controls. You might not immediately notice them on the map, though, since the circle covers them. I'll even tell you where they are, if you keep track of this sort of thing: Right before prologue control #7, and also when you are leaving chase control #5.

OK, that's my confessional for today. I feel better already.


Driving Directions

Directions: 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 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.

You will pass a detention center on your right, and the park entrance will be immediately after that, also on your right. Pay the fee (if any), park, and walk over the railroad tracks to the staging area in the meadow. If you have questions or want to volunteer to help, please contact .

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