Seneca Creek

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February 29

The BumbleIt’s the 8th annual Super Bowl Saturday Bumble! THE WHAT? The Super Bowl is over! Well, due to limited venue availability, we decided to leap forward and host this special event on this quadrennial day, when this great map and venue were available. Welcome to the Leap Year Bumble!

The Bumble is a fun event with courses for all skill levels. Come out and enjoy a great day in the woods at Seneca Creek/Smokey Glen Farm. Nadim Ahmed’s map is excellent! The woods are open and the climb is gradual, not excessive. After the race, we will enjoy a PIZZA PARTY and the winter meeting, when we will celebrate volunteers and hear about upcoming events. Our good friends at Smokey Glen Farm have given us permission to bring in food from a commercial provider. In order to abide by their catering license, please DO NOT bring any outside food into the pavilion. Instead, join us for lunch for just an extra $5 per adult, teen, and tween; no charge for kids 8 and under. We will be sure to have vegetarian, vegan & gluten-free options.

Following tradition, The Bumble will have a mass start that begins at Noon. The race is perfect for orienteers who usually run beige through blue level courses. We will also offer White, Yellow, and Orange courses, and those participants can start anytime during the traditional window of 11:00am – 1:30pm. Registration, downloading, and the post-race party will be in the LOWER PAVILION of Smokey Glen Farm, which is a warm, indoor building with restrooms. And, there is plenty of parking. Because of the mass-start we will open registration at 10:30 am. Please be sure to arrive early to avoid a last minute rush.

PLEASE read ALL meet and course notes for important details!

Meet notes:

  • Beginners are welcome, as always, and instruction will be available.
  • White, Yellow, and Orange courses will have regular starts from 11:00am to 1:30pm, and your start location will be near the lower pavilion.
  • Advanced (Bumble) courses will have a MASS START at NOON. Please be ready for PRE-RACE briefing at 11:45am at the Start location (~500 meters from lower pavilion). PLEASE follow streamers that will take you through the woods and across Riffle Road.
  • Clothing drop available for mass start; clothes will be returned for pick up in Lower Pavilion.
  • Everyone must be out of the woods by 3:00pm, which is when we will begin picking up controls.
  • NO spikes allowed in the Pavilion.
  • NO dogs allowed on Smokey Glen Farm property; please leave furry friends at home.
  • Restrooms available in Pavilion, but PLEASE do not come in with muddy shoes.
  • Bumble prizes awarded (mass start only):
    • First male and first female competitors to cross the finish, regardless of course.
    • Fastest male competitor on Blue and fastest female competitor on Red
Any youth or large groups attending, please contact the Event Director 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.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon! Please feel free to contact the Event Director with questions.


Seneca Creek State Park, Smokey Glen Farm, Gaithersburg, MD (Bumble & Winter Meeting)

RegistrationNo advance registration required. Just show up and have fun!
Start TimesMass Start, with some options to start before or after.
ScheduleSaturday, February 29
10:30 am - 1:15 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: Registration open
11:00 am - 1:30 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: White, yellow, and orange courses: start any time in this window. Start is near pavilion
11:45 amBumble & Winter Meeting: Pre-race briefing for Mass Start / clothing drop available; ~500 meter walk to start
12:00 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: Bumble Mass Start
1:30 pm - 4:30 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: Pizza Party gets started; Winter Meeting during lunch
3:00 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: All courses close – everyone to have finished and downloaded
4:30 pm - 5:00 pmBumble & Winter Meeting: Clean up and depart; happy to have everyone’s help.
Event Director:Heidi Onkst
Course Designer:David Onkst
Location Details

Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting, Bumble & Winter Meeting
Seneca Creek State Park
Smokey Glen Farm
Gaithersburg, MD
Google Map

From the North on I-270 (driving South):
Take exit 15A-15B to merge onto Maryland 118 south (Germantown Rd.) toward Germantown. Continue on Maryland 118 for 5.3 miles. Turn left onto Riffle Ford Rd. Continue for 2.3 miles. Smokey Glen Farm is on the left.

From the South on I-270 (driving North):
Take Exit 6B to merge onto Maryland 28 (Montgomery Ave.) Continue on Maryland 28 for 6.2 miles. Turn right onto Riffle Ford Rd. Continue for 0.7 miles. Smokey Glen Farm is on the right.

Course DetailsBumble & Winter Meeting
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.83510
Yellow 2.1408
Orange 4.71207
Beige 3.2407
Brown 4.97512
Green 7.714517
Red 1019022
Blue 12.923027
Course NotesBumble & Winter Meeting

FINAL course details and all additional course/map notes are now posted below!

Bumble Notes (advanced courses):
In addition to the regular beginning and intermediate courses, this event will also have one, single, very unique, “mass start” advanced course. As in past years, all of the advanced courses – Beige through Blue – will be rolled-up into one course/event. If you fear you won’t be able to keep up with the speedsters, don’t worry, there will be several twists to level the playing field. The advanced courses comprise a first and last control and 5 windows that contain 5 controls each. Like the past couple of years, there will be NO controls in between windows. The windows vary in size, and each competitor, depending on their orienteering level, will have a handicap that will determine how many windows he/she/they must run. To have the most fun on the course, we recommend that you select a level based on the normal course you run at local QOC Meets (not necessarily your IOF age group; YES, this means some of you should run up!) As per normal window rules, you must visit EVERY control in the window, but the controls inside each window may be taken in any order the runner decides. Adding another twist, each competitor, depending on his or her handicap, will be able to determine which of the windows he/she/they want/s to run. For example, if the handicap is 3 windows, the competitor can decide which 3 of the 5 windows he/she/they want/s to include. And because there are no mandatory controls in between the windows, you can choose the order to run the windows in if you have two or more windows.

So the race will go like this: The mass start begins and everyone runs to the FIRST control (mandatory). Then each competitor selects which windows he/she/they would like to visit (and in which order) based on their handicap. You then must complete all of the controls within a window before continuing. When you have completed all of your chosen window(s), you then must visit the course’s LAST control (mandatory) before heading to the finish where you will punch the finish box. Part of the fun is figuring out which way will be the quickest based on your physical and navigation strengths.

Example of Window A sample window is shown at right.

Bumble Course -- Handicap (# of Required Windows) -- ~Length -- # Controls
Beige -- 1 -- 3.2k -- 7
Brown -- 2 -- 4.9k -- 12
Green -- 3 -- 7.7k -- 17
Red -- 4 -- 10.0k -- 22
Blue -- 5 -- 12.9k -- 27

The advanced course length for each runner will vary based on his/her/their handicap and what windows he/she/they decide/s to run. Those with the most generous handicap should only have to travel approximately 3.2k, while those with the least favorable handicap will run approximately 12.9k. All others will fall somewhere in between depending on route choices. If racers select the course appropriate for their skill/fitness level, which should be your usual O-course (again, no need to run your IOF age group, run up and enjoy more of the course!), then everyone should conceivably finish at roughly the same time.

We’ve also added a new twist this year. In each window, there will be one control that has a time bonus attached to it. The bonus will be taken by the first orienteer to reach the control; yes, there will be something to physically take from the control. The bonus controls are NOT marked on the map and will be selected randomly a few days before the meet.

A bonus is time that will be taken off of a runner’s finish time. The bonuses breakdown as follows:

  • One that is worth 1.5 minutes
  • Two that are worth 2.5 minutes
  • Two that are worth 3 minutes
For example, if an orienteer finishes their course in 90 mins, and he/she/they collected a 3 minute time bonus, then their overall time would be reduced to 87 mins.

Because this year’s windows are parallel to each other, and because we are starting in the center-most window, the time bonuses will be set so that the one 1.5 minute control will be in the center most window; the two 2.5 minute controls will be in the two windows that are adjacent to the center window; and the two 3 minute controls will be located on the far side of those windows.

A couple of other things to note about the time bonus controls: 1) they will have some type of flag or marker that will be large enough to easily see from a decent distance; and 2) an orienteer may not collect more than one bonus. If you can’t make the 12:00pm mass start for some reason you can run the advanced course (according to your handicap) on your own just as long as you are finished by 3:00pm.

Mass start races provide orienteers with several different and exciting challenges than they normally encounter during regular individual courses (such as following other orienteers—of course, if you follow someone you probably won’t get one of the time bonuses!). So, we hope you’ll join us at this fun and unique event.

ADDITIONAL NOTES (as of Feb. 24):

Although course lengths are a bit longer than normal, the climb is not nearly as much. These are fast woods and you should still try to run the “normal” course you do at most meets.

RESPECT ALL PRIVATE PROPERTY BOUNDARIES—Remember, out-of-bounds private property is shown as olive green. All Bumble runners who enter the NE most windows (which will include most runners), beware that one of your course legs will run extremely close to private property. Please steer clear of that area.

All Bumble runners will cross over Riffle Ford Road at some point during their course, which can be busy. Please BE CAREFUL and look both ways before crossing (there are no crossing-guards). The road has a very large shoulder on each side, complete with large bike lanes. So, it is relatively easy to run along the side of the road for just a little bit, if need be. We will have some “Runners in the Road” signs out but realize that you need to be proactive about your safety, don’t rely solely on drivers to do so.

Participants who enter the NE most window (which will include most Bumble runners and all Orange runners), please beware of the disc golf players. Although I’ve tried to set the courses so they avoid as much of the disc golf course as possible, you may find still find yourself having to run across a fairway or two. If that’s the case, please be as courteous as possible to the golfers. Make eye contact with them so that they know you are there, and don’t run directly into the path of one of their disc shots.

There is also a special Wetlands section in the NE most window. I’ve hashed that small section off so you can easily see it. There are several route choices that move easily around that section. Do Not go through the middle of the Wetlands area.

I’ve run across some older unmapped barbwire fences. I’ve flagged what I could, but just be on the lookout for such obstacles.

Nadim’s map is outstanding. Everything is spot-on. The vegetation is mapped extremely well, and the light green (and even a lot of the medium green) is easily travelled. Be sure you are familiar with the vegetation symbols, and read them carefully, especially as there is a control that is carefully contained inside a vegetation corridor. There are a few green sections with some minor stickers, but nothing that is not easy to weave through. Still, you may want to wear gaiters for peace of mind.

There are several unmapped rootstocks (and a few knolls) on the map, which makes sense given that trees are always blowing down after a map has been completed. Nevertheless, I’ve used several rootstock controls. Those that I’ve used are perfectly mapped and have been checked multiple times and verified from a variety of directions to make sure they are definitely the correct rootstocks.

There are a few stream crossings. The water level is very low right now. Even when the water level was higher during the last few weeks, I easily found “dry” crossing points by just looking for a few extra seconds, instead of just plunging ahead.

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
  • If you wish to become a QOC member you should join online in advance 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) can be purchased from online vendors as described here.
  • Former QOC members who have let their membership lapse pay non-member fees.
  • 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.