How are courses measured?
Courses are measured as the crow flies, in a direct line from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! Courses are measured in kilometers, so a good rule of thumb is to simply round up to miles to estimate how far you will go. So in a 5 kilometer race, you’ll likely travel up to 5 miles.
The UW map is Cascade’s best sprint/urban map! The map is almost crazily detailed; you will need to read the map carefully and features will feel like they come up very fast. Coupled with the fact that you will be on flat pavement most of the time, it is extremely easy to overrun features. Luckily, it is not too hard to relocate. The best competitors should be able to keep at a running pace the whole time, but it takes careful concentration! Unlike previous uses of this map, the cartography is at 1:4,000 scale, using the sprint mapping standard (ISSprOM 2019).
There isn’t much real “forest” on the map, despite what it might appear at first glance. What is mapped as white is usually separated trees with grass in between; the white shows the edge of the tree canopy looking up. In many cases the white will just be the canopy from a single mapped lone tree. Speaking of trees, there are two tree symbols, a green circle for large trees, and a green dot for small trees or large bushes. In practice the small trees are often fairly large.
The very light gray denotes a building canopy, pass through, or overhang; you can run under this, and often will need to. There are also a few bridges mapped with the bridge symbol instead of as canopies; this means that you can either go over or under them. The dark gray is a building that you may not go into. Thin stone walls with the lines with dots on them, are passable, while thick black walls are not passable. Pay attention to the many stairs on the map; your control may be at the top or bottom (check the control description!)
You will also see a lot of olive green on the map. Don’t confuse this with forest; the olive green is landscaped area and is it illegal (and grounds for disqualification) to step into this. There are also a few patches of true green; these are often, but not always, low ground vegetation, with some being holly or blackberry. Only the darkest green is very hard to get through; the other two shades can usually be easily gotten through if you want to.
You should check your control description sheets carefully; the course setter will often tuck controls out of sight, but the control description will always tell you exactly where to look. A few symbols that might need explanation:
- The flower inside a square is “landscaped area”; the olive green described above. In this case the control will always be placed so that you can reach it without your feet going in the landscaping.
- The “statue/monument” symbol can denote a fairly large variety of things, from actual statues to a wide variety of art works of varying sizes.
- The “tree” symbol sometimes denotes a bush that is mapped with the green dot symbol.
- X denotes a man-made object: these are usually electrical/HVAC boxes, but can also be large pipes or other industrial objects. They won’t be benches, signs, or light poles on this map.
The Varsity, Short Advanced, and Long Advanced/Intercollegiate courses overlap themselves fairly extensively, check the control numbers and make sure you are heading to the correct control.