Map Navigation Training, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Tuesday 7/28/2009

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Mass Start Survey

When should we have the mass start? It's an optional mass start, so remember you can start any time that's convenient between 6:00 and 7:15 at the latest.

But if you want to be part of the mass start, I don't want to start it too early before people can really make it. I test jogged the course (without doing the allowed skip) in 50 minutes. So we could start as late as 7:00 for the mass start.

A mass start is fun! I think it has a lot of training benefits by giving you the feeling of competition. Even if you're not competitive, it's a spectacle!

If you are interested in the mass start, please send an email to me, and tell me this:
1. What's the earliest you could arrive?
2. How long does it take you to get ready once you arrive?
3. Percent chance you'll show up. Even if it's low, I'm hoping you can help us determine a good consensus, so please respond if you're interested.

This will give me a window... so if you don't arrive at your predicted time, you should still arrive before the mass start if you are a few minutes late, given that it takes you some time to get ready. And we can figure things out from there.

I'll update this page and email everybody back when a mass start time is determined.

Event Update 7/25:

I've set courses in Golden Gate Park a few times, and I've participated in other events there. I've always enjoyed myself, but this course excites me more than anything I've seen before at Golden Gate Park. Including the BAOC club sprint championships courses I set there, which I really liked.

And I think it boils down to this: it's the format. We have a lot of good course designers around. But none have had the opportunity to use a format in Golden Gate Park that takes advantage of the fragmented nature of the terrain - so many obstacles. True, the sprints do that... but they're short. Perhaps this is a harbinger of things to come, and maybe BAOC will produce a goat-type race here in the future.

Seeing as there's not a BAOC Golden Gate Park event on the calendar yet for this year (and BAOC's schedule is packed the rest of the year,) this might be your only chance to enjoy a course in Golden Gate Park until 2010.

Truly interesting terrain, traversed by a wild 'n crazy course featuring a fork (choose between two checkpoints on the way to the third,) a butterfly loop (splits participants into two groups running the same two loops in different orders,) a window (a section of checkpoints you may visit in any order, like a small score course,) and the skip (you may skip one, and only one, checkpoint throughout the entire course.) Whether you choose the mass start or go solo, I think you'll enjoy it.

And it's good practice for the upcoming 8/2 Crown Beach and 8/16 Lakeside events - similar courses will be set.

Goat statistics: 21 controls, 5.9 km distance, 100 m climb

5.9 km too long? Start the course, and do as much as you like before coming back.

Map Notes

The map has a lot on there. It's decent, but not perfect. The bad areas, I avoid. But I can't make the whole map perfect. Vegetation is generally accurate, but far from razor sharp. Think of everything as a guide - if there's a patch of thick vegetation mapped as dark green, it will be there, but maybe not the exact shape or dimensions it has on the map. Not everything mapped as dark green is truly dark green - some is impenetrable (or you'd be a fool to try) and some you can pick your way through without too much trouble. With the course legs I set, you shouldn't be able to gain too much time by exploiting the vagueness of the map. Trails are generally accurate, but there are numerous unmapped smaller footpaths.

And the scale is 1:7500, with 10 foot contours.


I didn't see any poison oak, and I usually notice it. It's definitely in the park, though. But it's never high or super bushy. Usually I take a "poison oak bath" when I get home, but I didn't this time, because I was pretty sure I avoided any. And I'm a paranoid hypochondriac.

Cars. Fortunately, the course does not have you cross roads too much. But when you do, be careful, and put down that map!

People. Give 'em space!

Disc golf players... just keep a heads up if you choose to go through the course area, marked clearly on the map as "Disc Golf Course" in purple ink.

Gear Up

I was glad I wore pants to shield myself from vegetation. And testing the course in my running shoes, there were a few instances where I would have felt more secure with more traction... I just couldn't go as fast as I wanted, for example, down this one slope. Of course, knowing me, I would probably be just as cautious with the extra traction,

Original Announcement:

Expect a medley of map navigation exercises in the always fun Golden Gate Park. Most probably a sprint course will be in the mix. Maybe little sprint courses, each with a different twist. This should be interesting. Courses open 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., cost is $5, social option nearby afterwards.


From Highway 101 North or Interstate 80 West: Take the 101 North – Golden Gate Bridge exit. Stay on the freeway until it ends on Octavia Blvd in San Francisco. Cross Market and follow Octavia Street a couple blocks to Fell St., and turn left onto Fell. Follow Fell Street west for 1.5 miles, which will bring you to the east end of Golden Gate Park. The third lane from the left continues into the park along John F. Kennedy Drive. Stay on JFK Drive for about 1.5 miles. Shortly after crossing under 19th Avenue, you will see Marx Meadow on your right (on the north side of JFK Drive.)

From Interstate 280 North: Take the Route 1 North/19th Avenue exit. Continue north on 19th Avenue, then continue straight through the park on Crossover Drive staying in the left lane. Bear left onto Crossover Drive. Turn left onto Transverse Drive, and then a right onto JFK Drive. Marx Meadow will be on your right (on the north side of JFK Drive.)

From Route 1 South: From the Golden Gate Bridge, follow Route 1 South (Park Presidio Boulevard). Take a right mid-way through Golden Gate Park on Crossover Drive. Turn left onto Transverse Drive, and then a right onto JFK Drive. Marx Meadow will be on your right (on the north side of JFK Drive.)

Public Transit:

The SF Muni 5 Fulton line runs along the north edge of the park, and Marx Meadow lies between the stops at 25th and 30th Avenues. The N Judah light rail train thingie also runs from downtown along the south edge of the park, and would involve more hiking / jogging / navigating to get to Marx Meadow. See the map in the next link!

Golden Gate Park, City of San Francisco

Event Contact: Rex, 5 1 0 - 6 8 1 - 6 1 8 1,