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Briones Regional Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 15, 2009
Location: Lafayette, CA
Event Director: - 510.409.9285
Course Setter: Jonas Kjäll
Type: C; ADVANCED COURSES ONLY--there will be no Beginner (White/Yellow) or Intermediate (Orange) courses available due to park restrictions on parking

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Event Write-Up


Cool weather and moist ground greeted orienteerers to Briones North for a day of advanced course offerings. The beauty of the park was apparent with lush, green hills and overcast skys. Challenging courses awaited in the steep forests. A great day for orienteering it was.

Advanced-only courses, an unmanned Start and Finish, and using the GeBe printer for E-punch made for limited use of volunteers. Everything went smoothly throughout the day, and my only worry was eased as I happened upon Philippe at 3:45 PM as I was shagging controls. (More on that below.)

A big thanks goes out to all those who helped make the event happen. Scott Aster handled the registration duties along with Greg Ehrensing, who also helped with E-punch download and control pick-up. Peter Graube assisted with control pick-up. Mark Blair, Toby Ferguson, and Rosemary Johnson all helped in getting the proper equipment to me. Jay Hann for helping me figure out how to close the ailing pop-up tent I borrowed, and for setting up his training exercises. I noticed many orienteers making a go at his bearing circle. And we thank Denise Defreese, Briones park ranger, and the East Bay Regional Park system.

Comments From The Course Setter

By Jonas Kjall

I hoped you all enjoyed the courses in north Briones. Based on the comments I got, I think that was mostly the case. Unfortunately the weather was not really on our side, but apart from a few wet glasses, and some pretty dense fog near the peaks, most were not affected too much. So I think the main drawback was that the Red and Blue runners missed most of the stunning view, that can be seen in sunny weather, of Walnut Creek with surroundings.

The winning times on the courses were mostly within reasonable limits. The lengths were a bit on the short side, but the hilliness more then compensated for this. If you avoid the open flatter areas, north Briones is definetely one of our most hilly maps. I tried to keep the climb to a minimum, especially on the shorter courses, but on the longer courses the focus was more on making technically challenging courses in "new areas".

On Brown, Dennis Wildfogel did a fast run and won the course on 52:28. He told me before the race that he wanted to run a course with not to much climb, so he could run fast and practice orienteering technic at high speed. Based on the results, he followed that plan well. There was a good turn out of runners on Brown, and among the other finishers I can mention the scout who had missed that only advanced courses were offered, but still went out on Brown and managed to find most of the controls—good work!

Green had the biggest turn out of all the courses. Together with Brown, they got a challenging start with two tricky controls on the big slope in the west. Most of the runners did very well in this tricky part, fastest to the two first was the junior Daniel Kopisch. Kent Ohlund had the overall fastest time on Green, 61:26. He made a good race, only lost about two minutes to control number four when he climbed up a bit too much instead of just contouring.

There was a tight battle on the Red course for the first position. In the end Blaz Lopez stood as the victor with the time 79:18. Slightly before Tapio Karras, Matthias Kohler, and Steve Gregg, all within almost 2 minutes. The winning time was a bit long, but the main reason for this was the trickiness of the course, especially control number three. Steve Gregg for example lost around nine minutes on this short leg.

The toughest course without doubt was Blue, and a few brave runners managed to defeat it. Mikkel Conradi won with a big margin with the time 105:45. This might seem to be a lot too long, but I think if the course was only 350 m shorter (i.e., 7.2 km) it would have been within the guidelines. A part of it, I think, is that the Blue is normally a bit shorter then the guidelines. The guidelines say 75–80 minutes for a 100-point runner (which I think we don't have in BAOC) makes a good race, and also the length should be roughly twice as long as Green, for example. Looking at the WinSplits, there was a lot of red on the Blue splits, so the runners missed a lot, so I guess I managed to make a technically challenging course. Unfortunately, I never ran the course myself on time before—got the flu two weeks ago, so I had to skip that. I had planned to have splits for the different route choices, but I will give it a try soon and see if I can make it in 85 minutes.

Lastly among all the heroes on Blue, I have to mention Philippe. Unfortunately the time ran out for him, so he was called back after finding the first 15 controls. So, with a bit more time, he would have made the whole course. He told me he had some problems since he forgot to bring his compass (and his cleated shoes!). When I asked him if he was an experienced orienteer, he answered he had orienteered before. After some more questions I realized he had never done this kind of orienteering before, only some bike-o on roadmaps in France some years ago!

I want to apologize to all the runners, on especially the longer courses, for the extensive amount of poison oak out in some parts of the terrain. To my defense, I have to say that I'm not so good at spotting poison oak without the leaves, and when I made the courses there were not so many leaves on the plants.

There was a lot of discussion about control 37 on Blue and Red, so a I took another careful look of the area when I took in the controls. I have to say that I liked the map of that area better and better every time I got there. All the main reentrants are mapped properly. There are also some smaller reentrants not mapped. These should normally be mapped as well, but since there already are so many in the area, and the contour interval is 7.5 m, I think the mapper has made the right choice—the map would be too detailed and messy otherwise. The particular reentrant that held the control was not one of the bigger ones, however it was the upper part of a very distinct valley consisting of three reentrants, so I think it was right to map it. All the other features nearby were in the right relation to the control, including the distinct big spur to the west, the dark green boundary, the rough open land that, as in so many other parts of this map, was a pretty dense bush and as well had could been marked green. The only thing I hesitated a bit about was the height difference to the peak to the southeast, I think it was around 12 m, but I guess it can be anything between 8.5–15 m, so I can't really say anything. There was a fallen tree right over the reentrant and I would have liked to place the control right where that was, however under a fallen tree is not a place to place a control, so I had to decide to place it below or above. Since the reentrant was not so distinct in the top, I finally decided to put it below, so it ended up 1 m below from where I think it should have been. This made it really hard to spot from above, and was probably the reason for most having problem with it. The only thing I regret about the control was that I used the "upper part" as extra information on the clue sheet, and having it 1 m below made some sharp-eyed runners more confused. This is almost always a redundant information, since there is only one point to put a control in a reentrant, just beneath the brown line. Since only info that clarifies the location a lot should be on the clue sheet, this should hardly ever be used. What I was thinking was the upper part of the valley, the three reentrants, since there are too many reentrants in the circle to use the "arrows", but this is the wrong way to use it, so sorry about that.

As I said before, one of my main goals was to make technically challenging courses. This doesn't just contain tricky control locations, but also interesting route choices. The hilly Bay Area is especially well suited for these kinds of courses. With the Golden Goat coming up in two weeks, with Martin Kunz as courses setter, famous for tricky route choices, it is a good time to practice on this. Unfortunately I wasn't able to compare times on the route choices, because I got the flu before the event, but I think I can make some good guesses.

I have drawn the route choices on route gadget for Blue, several of these legs were also a part of the other courses. The one I think is best is Course Setter 1, the second best is Course Setter 2, and the third, where such existed, as Courses Setter 3. Before you look at the routes, take a look at the course and decide which you think is best—it is good practice.

There are four things you need to consider in a route choice: the length, the climb, the runability, and the technicality. In a hilly area like north Briones, it is very important to keep the climb to a minimum. My comments on the choices follow.

S-1: Contouring around saves you 110 m and, more important, 45 m climb compared to taking the trail, so even if the runability and technicality are worse, this is the best choice.

2-3: There is actually no route choice here. Slightly to the right is shorter and has not more climb, nor is the runability or technicality worse. Not even all the way around left has less climb, but actually more.

4-5: Again, minimizing first climb and then length is most important.

5-6: When I made the course, I planned for choice 2, almost straight, to be the fastest. However I think around left is faster. It is 100 m longer, but has only 7.5 m more climb. The runability on the trail makes it the best choice.

7-8: Contouring around in the beginning on the animal track slightly above the control has least climb and is almost shortest. The runablity is also pretty good, hard to know though.

8-9: Around left is a bit less climb but slightly longer, no big difference.

9-10: Contouring around is least climb and not so much longer.

10-11: The ridge right is less climb and shorter and with good runability.

11-12: Straight on at the end, the forest is open and fast.

12-13:A tricky choice, but I think the difference is small. The important thing here is not to think to much and spend time on that. You should definitely avoid the dark green straight on. One of the vetters tried this and lost a lot of time. Personally I didn't even see this as an option. I hope contouring to the left is fastest—that was the plan at least—it is 140 m shorter and 22.5 m less climb than all the way around left, and the forest is open and runnable. All the way around right is 40 m longer and 30 m more climb.

13-14: Straight on is 7.5 m more climb but shorter. Through the light green valley is a bit of a risk, it is hard to know about the runability. In this case the runability there was good.

15-16: Left is 15 or 37.5 m less climb than the right choices, also 50-60 m shorter.

16-17: Again minimizing climb and length.

Finally I want to thank all who made this into a great event. The vetters, Joe Maffei, Margaret Longstreth, Marina Keating and Evan Custer for all their valuable feedback. Bob Cooley for helping out with map corrections and printing.


Briones Regional Park

Martinez, CA
Sunday, March 15, 2009

Also see control-by-control timing in the WinSplits results ( You can see the event map with the actual routes traveled by participants, and draw your own route for comparison, in the RouteGadget (introduction; this event (

  Pl  Name(s)                           Time

Brown Course   (2.9 km, 150 m climb, 9 controls)

   1  Dennis Wildfogel                  52:28
   2  Ana Herreros                    1:09:04
   3  Stephanie Maclean               1:10:00
   4  Vicki Woolworth                 1:14:22
   5  Lauren MacMullan                1:18:24
   6  Harold DeMoss                   1:22:38
   7  Scott Aster                     1:23:00
   8  Anne-Mari Jutto                 1:25:34
   9  Kelly Wells                     1:27:09
  10  Jim Fish                        1:35:17
  11  Brian Tennant                   1:59:33
  12  John Marold                     2:11:34
  13  Judy Koehler                    2:48:01

      Hannah Kopisch (COOL)             MSP    (wrong #1)
      Alan Houser                       DNF    (skipped #7)
      Terry Gleason                     DNF    (skipped #6)
      Nancy Lindeman                    DNF    (skipped #5)
      Daniel Thompson                   DNF    (skipped #9)
      David Harrison                    DNF

  Second Course

      Linda Ketellapper, Kim Muratori   DNF    (skipped #5)

Green Course   (4.2 km, 295 m climb, 11 controls)

   1  Kent Ohlund                     1:01:26
   2  Vladimir Gusiatnikov            1:03:12
   3  Andrejus Masalkovas             1:05:52
   4  Cameron Ferguson                1:10:43
   5  George Minarik                  1:13:11
   6  Bob Cooley                      1:13:42
   7  Dan Greene                      1:15:58
   8  Greg Ehrensing                  1:22:38
   9  Chuck Spalding                  1:29:05
  10  Andy Staatz                     1:31:53
  11  Kevin Staatz                    1:33:45
  12  Daniel Kopisch (COOL)           1:46:23
  13  Mark Rice                       1:53:00
  14  Johanna Merriss                 2:08:49
  15  Kevin, Terri, Lisa              2:55:30

      Linda Ketellapper, Kim Muratori   MSP    (wrong #1)
      Jennifer Kerr                     DNF    (skipped #6)
      Jeff Lanam                        DNF    (skipped #8)
      Tom Thomas (SOAR)                 DNF
      Philipp Kopisch (COOL)            DNF

Red Course     (5.3 km, 415 m climb, 14 controls)

   1  Blas Lopez                      1:19:18
   2  Tapio Karras                    1:19:53
   3  Matthias Kohler                 1:21:22
   4  Steve Gregg                     1:21:25
   5  Eric Rosenzweig                 1:32:08
   6  Derek Maclean                   1:35:39
   7  Werner Haag                     1:39:17
   8  Bruce Wolfe                     1:40:46
   9  Jonathan Owens                  1:41:35
  10  Gavin Wyatt-Mair                1:56:57
  11  Luc Poppe                       2:07:43
  12  Jeff Dickert                    2:10:52
  13  Theo Verhoeven                  2:13:16
  14  Steve Smith                     2:14:00
  15  Manfred Kopisch                 2:15:22
  16  Damian Swift                    2:18:08
  17  Mark Blair                      2:24:50

      Shura Kretchetov                  DNF    (skipped #5)
      Steve Harrison                    DNF

Blue Course    (7.6 km, 550 m climb, 18 controls)

   1  Mikkel Conradi                  1:45:45
   2  Francois Leonard                2:08:10
   3  Greg Khanlarov                  2:17:33
   4  Rex Winterbottom                2:24:29
   5  Toby Ferguson                   2:34:17
   6  Alex Finch                      2:37:57
   7  Dennis Wilkinson                2:42:06
   8  Greg Favor                      2:42:28
   9  Penny DeMoss                    2:45:11
  10  Mark Manning (ARNAV supplies)   3:11:46
  11  Peter Graube                    3:11:47

      Fyodor Konkov                     DNF    (skipped #11)
      Kevin McCarty                     DNF


DNF = Did not finish (missed one or more controls)
MSP = Mispunched (one or more controls wrong)