The walk to the Orange - Blue start looks brutal. Heck, it would be brutal with 5m contours, but 7.5m?!
Just how long / steep was it?
1.7 km, with 200 meters of climb.
But, for comparison, last year's walk to the start was 2.3 km with 306 meters of climb... (-;
Sounds like an example of trying to keep some of the climb off the clock.
But some kind of shuttle would have been nice, or at least have Brown use the lower start.
Yes, that was the idea. As a direct result of the high start, the Brown had a total of 90 meters of climb on the course (along optimal routes), which is below average for the Bay Area, and certainly low for this particular park. It also got to traverse some rarely-visited (on Brown), relatively technical terrain.
Shuttles weren't really an option this year. The road leading up to start was too steep for anything short of a pickup truck or ATV. The only potential shuttle drop-off location was a long drive away, about 3 km (straight-line distance) from the finish, and would have involved a net ~450 meter downhill grade as well as an additional >1.5 km downhill walk to the closest sensible start location. It might have made sense for the longer courses (I was seriously considering it for Green, Red, and Blue), but was a little too distant for Brown and Orange.
Designing a good Brown course in Bay Area terrains is often nearly impossible, and this particular park has its own set of challenges. For next year, I'll consider other start locations, but this was the best one I could find, and it involved making a few compromises...
Enough Brown runners were undaunted by the climb to the start that we'd run out of maps by the time I got there. I ran the Orange course, which was just as well since I went overtime anyway. It was a fun course; I thought the navigation was appropriate for the Orange standards. My congrats to Daniel.
I'm glad you liked my course.