Cabin John

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November 22

Photo by Andrew GastwirthWelcome back to one of our family-friendliest orienteering venues - and one that still has plenty of navigational challenges for all levels. We will be offering a range of courses (2 beginner, 1 intermediate, and several advanced options - see below), thanks to our new QOC member (TeamUSA member) Boris Granovskiy. Note that this is a Saturday event!

Event timing will be standard: register at the event anytime between 10:45am - 1:15, start anytime between 11 - 1:30, and make sure to finish and check back no later than 3pm. Electronic timing will be used, so make sure to return borrowed timing chips at the download/finish station.

This is a small and relatively heavily used area, but it has a number of nice pockets of forest and will present challenges for beginners and experienced orienteers alike. There will be two starts: Start 1, for White, Yellow, and Orange courses, will be adjacent to the assembly area. Start 2 for Brown, Green, Red, Blue, and UltraBlue is about 600m away. White, Yellow, and Orange will finish at the assembly area, while the advanced courses finish near their start location and have to walk back to the assembly area to download.

The longer advanced courses (Red, Blue, and our special offering UltraBlue) are composed of loops that allow for better use of the available terrain. At the start of your first loop, punch the Start box. For each subsequent loop, punch the finish and then proceed to the start triangle, but do not punch the Start box. Red and Blue will consist of two loops each, and UltraBlue of three loops. The loops will be printed one to a page, so make sure you run the correct loops in the correct order. Make sure to read the course notes below too (especially the part about the multiple, un-timed crossings of Tuckerman Rd).

Brown = A (3.6km)
Green = C (5.1km)
Red = A + B (6.7km)
Blue = A + C (8.7km)
UltraBlue = A + B + C (11.8km)

As usual, youth groups and other large groups planning to attend this event should contact the Event Director well in advance so that we can coordinate pre-registration for your group; the group registration and waiver form is part of the information on our Group Leaders page.

Additional information:

  • All maps will be at 1:7500 scale (with 5m contours).
  • Watch out for the Train! Yes, given dry enough weather we expect that the quite popular miniature train ride will be running, and although you can run faster than it goes, and you might even be able to leap over it, it's still poor form to scare kids by rushing out of the woods at them as they ride the train. On the other hands, if you're bringing young kids, read up about this ride on this page.
  • Carpooling is encouraged as a courtesy to other park users.
  • Dogs on leash are welcome.
  • GPS watch loaner program continues, for anyone interested in trying one out. See Jon Torrance at the event.
  • Feel free to use our Contact Us form if you have any questions!

California Tortilla Post-Race MeetUp Special! The nearby - literally about 1 minute away - California Tortilla is offering orienteers after our event a free side of chips & queso with any purchase (use top secret code "race"). Located in the Cabin John Shopping Center (Tuckerman & Seven Locks Rds) just west of our venue, CalTort's Wall of Flame and it's spunky attitude make it a QOC favorite.

Cabin John PlaygroundsCabin John Train


Cabin John Regional Park, Shirley Povich Field, Rockville, MD (Classic)

RegistrationNo advance registration required. Just show up and have fun!
Start TimesStart any time between 11 - 1:30pm.
ScheduleSaturday, November 22
11:00 am - 1:30 pmClassic: Start window
3:00 pmClassic: Courses close: everyone must be back at finish
Event Director:Jon Pifer
Course Designer:Boris Granovskiy
Location Details

Classic, Classic
Cabin John Regional Park
Shirley Povich Field
Rockville, MD
Google Map

Take I-270 to Democracy Blvd. Merge onto Democracy Boulevard heading west and go 0.3 miles, just beyond the Montgomery Mall. [Note: This exit is not accessible coming west on the Beltway; click the Google Maps link for directions.] Then turn RIGHT onto Westlake Drive, at the joint Exxon/Shell gas station. In just 0.1 miles, after the second light, turn left at the signs to enter this part of Cabin John park. Drive straight to the T intersection and stop sign; then turn right and follow around to the parking area to the left beyond the ice rink parking area. DO NOT PARK in the area directly south of the ice rink entrance - it is reserved for ice rink users and is quite busy on weekends. Park closer to the small buildings and ticket building near Shirley Povich field, where our registration area will be located.
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
Long Advanced 11.8
White 1.72510
Yellow 2.2559
Orange 37512
Brown 3.6
Green 5.1
Red 6.7
Blue 8.7
Course NotesClassic

Terrain notes:
Advanced courses (Green and higher) will involve multiple crossings of Tuckerman Lane, a busy road that traverses the park from East to West. Each crossing will be part of a short leg, the time for which will be deducted from your total time, up to 5 minutes. Therefore, take your time when crossing the road and watch for traffic!

All advanced courses will cross Cabin John Creek multiple times. It is difficult to avoid getting your feet wet, though it's possible to find very shallow crossings. The creek can get about shin-deep in its deepest parts, so bring a change of socks!

Some of the mapped features are rather small, including rocks, dot knolls, and small depressions. These are mapped down to about 05.m meters in size. All the mapped rootstocks exist in terrain, but there are occasional rootstocks that have appeared since the last map update.

The vegetation tends to be slightly more runnable than mapped, due to the leaves being down. Finally, there is some construction going on in the middle of the map. It is marked as out of bounds on the map. Please do not enter the construction area!

If you are running the Blue or UltraBlue course, you need to have an SI card that can store more than 30 controls. Please check with the e-punch team if you are unsure whether your SI card fulfills that requirement. We have extra SI cards with more than 30 control slots that we can lend out.

Enjoy the park and have fun with some high-speed, middle distance-style orienteering at Cabin John!!

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
Epunch Owner $5 $5 $10 $5
Epunch Borrower $10 $5 $15 $10

Team or Group Entries

Participants are welcome to compete together as a single team entry. Teams containing one or more nonmembers are charged the nonmember individual rate. Teams containing one or more adults are charged the adult individual rate. For teams to receive member or junior rates, all members of the team must be members or juniors, respectively. Each extra team map beyond the first is an additional $2. Individuals or teams desiring to compete on a second course can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map.

Important Notes
  • At the event, we can only accept payment in cash or check; online, you may use a credit card or PayPal account.
  • You may become a member at the event or by joining online via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional.
  • Most of our events use an 'epunch' timing chip for electronic timing. Individuals or groups without their own epunch pay a higher entry fee (see above), which includes the loan of an epunch for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) are usually available for sale at each event as described here.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (driver's license or car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • For additional safety, whistles are available for sale at $1/each.
  • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table.