You will score checkpoint visits by texting us the answer to the question on your scorecard. Checkpoint visits will be instantly tabulated, and scores available upon the teams' return. If you'd rather not use the cellphone for any reason, you can instead circle answers on the paper scorecard. More details are here...
This is the map that was used for the 2012 Mill Valley Street Scramble; the map for this event will look similar. In particular, note that the map won't show most of the street names:
The Street Scramble Experience
Street Scramble races can be enjoyed by anyone who (a) can travel under their own power for 90 minutes—walking, running, biking, or moving in a wheelchair; (b) can follow a street map; and (c) likes to explore.
(Strollers and power wheelchairs are OK for those who need them. If you can't read a map, you can be on a team with someone who can.)
When you arrive at a Street Scramble event, you will check in (some events don't sell out and allow onsite registration). Then, an hour before the start time, you will receive a map with thirty (or so) checkpoint locations circled. Each circle has a number between 10 and 99. The point value of the checkpoint is equal to its number rounded down to the tens; for example, Checkpoint 35 is worth 30 points; Checkpoint 12 is worth 10 points. The back of your map will have a description of a feature to be found at each checkpoint, such as "Statue" or "Pier". You will also receive a scorecard with the same information as on the back of your map; use this scorecard if you are not using electronic scoring.
You (together with your team, if you have a team) will then plan which checkpoints you will try to visit, and in what order. You can visit as many or as few checkpoints as you want, and in any order. Your team will need to stay together at all times. You can change your plan as you go along, but it's very helpful to at least start with some kind of plan.
About 20 minutes before the start there will be a pre-Scramble-race briefing, at which the event director will review rules and safety. There will be a countdown to the start, after which you will head out to visit checkpoints. Again, your team must stay together at all times. Checkpoints are found at the precise centers of the circles on the map. When you arrive at a checkpoint location, look for the feature described on the back of your map.
At most locations, you will need to answer a simple multiple-choice question, found on the back of your map and on your scorecard, to prove you were there. Example:
35 Statue, NE side: What is the last word on the plaque?
If you are not using the electronic scoring system, circle the correct answer on your scorecard and proceed to another checkpoint. Also write down the time of your checkpoint visit.
The other electronic option is available at all checkpoints, and involves sending us, the organizers, a text message with your answer to the question on the back of the map. For example, suppose you are Team 191 and the correct answer to the question at Checkpoint 35 is (a), "Arts". You will send, to the phone number we provide at registration, a message with the text
and you will get back a confirmation message that says
Team 191 Checkpoint 35 Answer A at 10:31:23.
To participate in the 90-minute division, you must return to the event center within 90 minutes. To participate in the 3-hour option, return within 3 hours. You can decide which option you want while you're out there. Returning on time requires planning!
Our maps run the gamut from specially surveyed and produced city and wilderness maps to improved USGS topographic maps, and sometimes include off-the-shelf (off-the-screen?) maps. We use information from a variety of sources. Our maps only have a few street names on them, so it will be important for you to keep track of where you are on the map.
It is perfectly fine to utilize other maps you may bring, or to look at a map on your smartphone. You can also use the phone's GPS; any GPS units, altimeters, and pedometers are all fair game—but please don't get so distracted by the gadgets as to lose track of vehicle traffic!
When you return, you will turn in your scorecard; if you used electronic scoring, your score will be ready and waiting for you. (In case your phone turns out to be less sweat-resistant than you thought, we can handle answers that are partially submitted electronically and partially handwritten.) All team members must finish together at the same time; your official finish time is when the last team member arrives at the finish line. It is important to be on time because you will lose points for each minute you are late. We will keep your scorecard, but you get to take your map home with you. If your answers are handwritten, we will tally your score while you enjoy refreshments, included in your entry fee. After refreshments, awards will be given out for those with the highest scores in different divisions and categories.
As a minimum, we will award the best men, women, and mixed teams in the following categories: Juniors (each team member must be 20 years of age or younger on 31 December 2013), Masters (40 or older on 31 December 2013), and Open. Awards will also be given to the best family teams; a family team is one that has anyone 20 years of age or younger, and also someone 21 years of age or older.
Entry and Registration
The first 50 teams to enter get technical-fabric T shirts with the Street Scramble design. That's right, a complimentary shirt for each and every team member! Please select the shirt size during the registration process. These shirts can be obtained at the event only if we do not sell out, or if there are cancellations. If you would rather not have another shirt—even as cool as this—we offer a discount.
The design shown is for the 2012 Los Gatos Street Scramble. Designs for the 2013 series will be different enough that you won't regret obtaining a shirt if you already have a 2011 or 2012 Street Scramble T shirt.
Pre-registration is open. Team members may enter together (be entered by the same person), or separately. If you would like to go with a team, but don't know your teammates' names yet, you can enter yourself and other members can join the team at a later time.
As with all events by Get Lost!!, fees for teams, including families, are capped. Three, four, or five people enter at the team price; each team member gets a map. The fees are:
Fine print: Each team member of the first 50 teams that enter must be entered by the last entry deadline in order to be guaranteed a shirt in her/his size. Because of the lead time involved in printing the shirts, it is not possible for us to provide shirts to late-entering participants.
More fine print: Team member additions after the deadline increase the price, so as to account for the extra cost associated with providing supplies and insurance to the participants at the last moment. Team member substitutions are always free.
On top of these prices, we offer the following discounts:
The BAOC discount only applies to individuals, not teams. That is, a registration for two people who are both BAOC members will cost less than the team price. A three-person team is always best off taking the team deal.
These discounts are taken and combined automatically by the registration system. Make sure to indicate the team association, individual participant's club membership, and the correct (or at least approximately correct) ages for the team members.
We accept credit cards online through Google Checkout, and cash, checks, and credit cards on site.
1. Directions and Parking
We are super thrilled to enjoy the hospitality of Sports Basement for the inaugural Walnut Creek Street Scramble. Coming from the west or the south, take the appropriate Ygnacio Valley Road exit; from the north, the N Main St. exit. Follow the exit ramps and/or streets until you actually reach Ygnacio Valley Road, and go about 2.0 miles east. Sports Basement will be on your right. There is ample parking.
The registration will open at 8:30 am.
Safety is our first priority. All cyclists must wear a helmet and stop at all stop signs and red lights.
Two freeways go through Walnut Creek, Interstate 680 and California Highway 24. These freeways are marked in blue, and pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited on them. There are several places to cross over and under, all on streets and multi-use paths; they should be obvious on your map, and they are not otherwise accented.
BART tracks through Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill are elevated and/or fenced off. Under no circumstances may you enter the tracks.
In several places, multi-use paths follow canals. You may not enter the canals or cross them anywhere other than at mapped path crossings. That is, don't hop any fences! Specifically, pay attention to which side of the canal the path is on. If the canal is between a street and a path, and there is no connection shown between the street and the path, there is no possibility to cross the canal legally and safely.
Finally, Ygnacio Valley Road is a very busy multilane road. We insistently suggest that you only cross at dedicated pedestrian and bike crossings, and only when the light is green specifically for pedestrians or bikes.
We strongly encourage you to wear a Street Scramble safety vest to enhance your visibility. You can borrow one from us at no charge.
3. Urban Adventure Hunt series 2012/2013
This event is the ninth one one in the series. Here is last year's announcement, but in brief, it works this way: Each Street Scramble event is worth a maximum of 1000 points, and Mill Valley and Santa Cruz Street Scramble events, with their 7-hour competition, are worth 1600 points. We will add together the points from the 12 events that are scheduled between late June of 2012 and late May of 2013. If your team participates in the 90-minute division, we will multiply its points by 1.5; if it is in the 7 hours, there is no penalty, enjoy all the extra points that a long run or ride in the city entails! In order for event scores to count for the series, your team should keep the same name, compete in the same age/gender category, and maintain at least one common member for the Street Scramble events it participates in.
Prizes: In each category (foot and bike; Open, Masters, and Juniors; Men, Women, and Mixed; and Family), there is a single first-place award to the best team, and it is a free entry to San Francisco Night & Day Challenge in 2013. A team has to participate in at least three Street Scramble events in order to be eligible for the award. But furthermore, we'll combine your points from the Street Scramble events and SFND, and a few very lucky—or fast—teams will win an expense-paid trip to the Seattle Night & Day, which occurs about a month after SFND!! We will showcase one or two categories for this award.
We are sorely late with updating this year's series standings, and hope to do this the week after Walnut Creek Street Scramble.
4. Event rules
Each team must stay together throughout the event. It is not allowed to split up to cover more ground. The finish time is taken when the last team member crosses the finish line.
Travel under your own power only. It is not allowed to take BART, buses, or cabs.
It is not allowed to look up answers to checkpoint questions without actually going to the checkpoint; in particular, you cannot use Street View, Panoramio, or the likes. Using Street View would be just like driving past everyone in a car at a running race! You can, however, use the map on your smartphone, and GPS. You are welcome to use any and all maps of the area you may bring. We also plan to provide an electronic map of the course for use on smartphones.
Please stay off private property.
All checkpoints are directly reachable by bike. We think that a mountain bike will be advantageous at this event over a road bike.
Almost all of the trails and paths shown on this map are bike-legal. The only restriction that we know of is in Walnut Creek Open Space: bikes are permitted on paved and unpaved roads over eight feet in width. The trails on which bikes are not permitted are shown on our map with short brown dashes; however, upon inspection in the field it turned out that many of these are actually wide enough, and some of these short-brown-dash trails have checkpoints located on them. If there is a checkpoint on a trail, rest assured that this trail is bike-legal.
To the best of our knowledge, dogs on leash are allowed on all streets, paths, and trails on which you are likely to travel on this course.
7. The map
The map for this event is an off-the-shelf (off-the-server?) OpenStreetMap, with unmodified, default colors and slightly modified symbols. Please take your time to study them: on the main OpenStreetMap page, select "Map Key" in the lower left-hand corner, then zoom most of the way into an area (say Walnut Creek) so that the Map Key panel displays all of the symbols. We also copied this symbol panel here, and it will be on the map.
The quality of OpenStreetMap around Walnut Creek is generally very good. Most trails and paths are on it, and are classified and drawn correctly. A small number of streets are either a bit generalized (are shown less windy than they really are), or no longer exist (we crossed these out). We added elevation contours to the map.
The map is at 1:20,000 scale with 10 meter contour interval. Compared to the symbols for Get Lost!!-made maps, the most important difference is that the meanings of grey and pink/purple colors are reversed. We use grey to show passable built-up areas, and purple to show the impassable ones. OpenStreetMap uses two shades of grey. The darker grey is for residential areas, which usually aren't passable. The lighter grey is for rural private areas, such as farm fields; these are not passable, either.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your route and as you navigate with this map. First, always mind the gap! If there is a grey gap between streets, or between a street and a path, or between a street and a park, it almost always means that there is not a legal way to cross between the two. There are areas in which a path runs parallel to a street, and you'd think there's an easy way to cross over, but if there's a grey gap shown and no connecting path, this usually indicates that there is a high fence between them. In a number of places, a street ends and another one immediately begins, with no gap shown between the two ends; in these situations there is usually a way for pedestrians and bikes, but not cars, to get through.
It is possible to access all parks and open space (shown in various shades of green) from immediately adjacent streets, and also at points shown with red-triangle access signs. However, in this particular area OpenStreetMap can sometimes be overly optimistic as to what the park boundaries actually are. Several blocks are shown as all-park, whereas in reality there are houses along the street. If it makes a difference as to whether you can get through or not, we marked the houses with purple crosses (access is forbidden). We also crossed out a few places in which you may be strongly tempted to shortcut.
While inside a park and on foot, you can legally go anywhere. There are a number of places at which going cross-country is a valid and preferred option. In commercial areas, shown in pink/purple, you can travel on mapped driveways and alleys and across parking lots (shown in light yellow); quite often in these areas, you can also take shortcuts between the buildings.
OpenStreetMap shows a number of gates across streets; you can assume that all mapped gates are open. Many more gates are not shown, so don't be surprised if you see one ahead—if the street or path is drawn as continuous, with no grey gap, the gate is unlocked, just pull the handle!
There are a few walled-off apartment/townhouse areas in which the streets are public, but the walkways between buildings are not. The large and obvious no-trespassing signs in these areas pertain to these interbuilding spaces; to the best of our knowledge, you are allowed to travel along the streets.
At this Street Scramble, we are introducing something new. An electronic map of the 35 checkpoints will be available at map issue time, one hour before the start. You are welcome to download this map on your smartphone, and use it however you wish.
8. Course notes
The course has 35 checkpoints worth 1000 total points, picked by Vladimir and vetted by Lisa Tracy and Malcolm Nicoll. Walnut Creek is the least hilly Street Scramble area of the 13 venues that Get Lost!! has so far explored. We believe it is possible for a very fit cyclist to get to all checkpoints within 3 hours, but it is certainly not possible to clean out the course on foot. Thirty-one of the checkpoints are in Walnut Creek, three are in Pleasant Hill, and one is in Lafayette.
A sensible route to take to travel to all checkpoints is 55.3 km, measured along streets, paths, and cross-country where appropriate. Cyclists who intend to clean out the course will travel an even longer distance, since they will most likely prefer riding a few extra miles to carrying the bike up and down the hillsides.
The late penalty is 10 points for each minute, or fraction thereof. Remember, you can switch from the 90 minute division to the 3 hour division at any time, even while you are on the course.
9. Cellphone scoring
Cellphone scoring will be offered for this event, and here's a short tutorial.
Our receiving phone number is +1 503 567 8924. (It spells out LOST X24. Hope you aren't.)
Start with registering your team's cell phone number. You can send us answers from more than one cell phone. We don't pull the phone number information from your registration, so this step must be done for at least one phone. From this phone, send us a text message that says T followed by your team number. You will find out your team number at check-in, or if you would like to complete this step early, e-mail us and we'll let you know your team number. For example, if your team number is 142, text
You will receive a short confirmatory message. It may take a few seconds for the system to issue a confirmation to each of your commands and answers, sometimes up to about half a minute, more if your phone moves in and out of coverage.
After you have registered your team number, you're clear to head out on the course! One of the neat features is the ability to retrieve checkpoint questions and answer choices as you go. Just say Q? followed by the checkpoint number, like this:
And now to the most important part—sending us answers to checkpoint questions! Just send us the checkpoint number and the answer choice, in this order or answer first, with or without a space; the answer (as all commands) is case-insensitive. For each answer, you get a short confirmatory message.
Please take care in answering the questions. Sometimes, teams give a literal answer, for example if the answer choices are (A) 1; (B) 2; (C) 3, a team can text 2. This answer will not count as a wrong answer and the system will simply ask you to try again. Only the first valid answer choice counts. If you send in a wrong answer choice, for example if the correct answer is B and you say A, the mistake cannot be corrected.
You can find out how many checkpoints you have visited, and how many points they are worth, by texting S?. This score is not graded; that is, the points are calculated without take into account whether your answers are correct or not.
The full command set is
Q? R? S? T/T? U W?
We already went over most of those. The remaining commands are: R? tells you how long your team has been on the course; T? replies with your team number on record; U is used to unsubsribe the phone number; and W? lets you know which ones you got wrong.
The system is currently on Eastern time. We may or may not be able to fix that before the event. Finally, if you encounter an error message, please let us know after the event.
Please do not send praise, comments, blame, bug reports, missing checkpoint notes, or status updates to this number—they are all quite welcome, but use +1 971 998 0321 instead. They will all be read and acted upon.
We will not be using QR codes at this event.
10. Pen-and-paper scoring
When you mark your answer, please also make sure to write down the time you visited each checkpoint. Doing this is not mandatory, but allows for some entertaining post-event route analysis. Your finish time will be taken when you hand in your score sheet.
We maintain a discussion board for all our events on Attackpoint. Popular among adventure-sports athletes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries, the site is the one to go to for the latest adventure-running news, schedules, discussion, and gossip.
Forum for the Walnut Creek Street Scramble.
We also post updates to our Facebook pages:
Facebook event for the Walnut Creek Street Scramble.