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RRS 4th Thursday Adventure Run Road ID Laurel Street Arts MerGeo

Discover a new neighborhood... or one you thought you knew well!!

Preliminary results are available.

Covering some ground, with a map!San Carlos Street Scramble
Urban Adventure Hunt

Explore the streets of San Carlos, as well as parts of Belmont and Redwood City!

Thirty locations are circled on a map. On foot or bike, how many can you visit in 90 minutes? in 3 hours? Score points by visiting checkpoints in any order, and answer a simple question to prove you were there. Those who score the most are the winners! Be competitive or casual; go team or solo. Fun for families, runners, cyclists, and anyone who likes to explore!! Awards and refreshments at the finish.

It's just training!Location and Schedule

On Sunday, 16 December 2012, two event durations will be offered: 3 hours and 90 minutes. You can do either on foot or on bike. The headquarters will be at the San Carlos Road Runner Sports.

This will be the inaugural San Carlos Street Scramble. Check out the description and our calendar of Street Scramble events!

This event is the sixth in the 2012/2013 Urban Adventure Hunt series, and your chance to collect points and win a trip to the series Final, the 2013 San Francisco Night & Day Challenge.

Event schedule:

10:30  Registration and check-in
       open, Road Runner Sports
11:00  Maps are available for
       route planning
11:40  Briefing and instructions
12:00  Start, all divisions,
       foot and bike
13:30  Finish, 90 minute division
14:00  Light lunch service starts
15:00  Finish, 3 hour division
15:15  Awards
Google map
View Larger Map

Transit directions: Caltrain to San Carlos. It's a bit of a walk (1.9 km) from San Carlos station; SamTrans buses that run on El Camino Real will get you to Brittan Avenue, but they run infrequently enough on weekends that walking all the way may be the best option.

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 2011 Mill Valley Street Scramble; we expect the San Carlos map to use the same scale and a similar set of symbols:

Mill Valley Street Scramble 2011 map

Our Sponsors!!

This event has been made possible by the following businesses and organizations. We are delighted to offer a sampling of their products as prizes for this event. Please patronize their offerings and services, and contribute to their programs:

RRS 4th Thursday Adventure Run

Road Runner Sports' Fourth Thursday Adventure Runs, held at the San Carlos store, are a total blast!

The mission of Road ID is twofold: One, to educate outdoor enthusiasts about the importance of wearing ID. Two, to provide these athletes with innovative identification products that they will want to include as part of their gear. The dream of Road ID is to see the day where wearing ID is as common among athletes as wearing a seatbelt is among motorists.

Road ID
Laurel Street Arts

Laurel Street Arts is a family-owned, drop-in crafts studio specializing in pottery painting, glass fusing, and more. Located in downtown San Carlos, the studio is a great place for parties, summer camp, art classes, fundraising projects, and so much more!

o21e makes a line of clothing for adventure running in Los Angeles, California.

Scarborough Orienteering, aka, is a leading vendor of equipment. They carry compasses, SPORTident cards, Inov-8™ shoes, and other gear and produce their own line of o21e suits, club uniforms, and gaiters. also offers map and compass instruction and group outings, including orienteering and team-building training, as corporate offsites.

The best deal on SPORTident equipment!

Seattle's Meridian Geographics is an active outdoor lifestyle company. It produces the Street Scramble, Northwest Trail Runs, and BEAST Adventure Race series. Its showcase events are the annual Seattle and San Francisco Night and Day challenges, and the Three15er and Big Tahoma rogaines.

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, a half hour before the start time, you will receive a map with thirty-one 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. You will also receive a scorecard with a description of a feature to be found at each checkpoint, such as "Statue of woman" or "Public pier".

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.

A few 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 scorecard.

At most locations, you will need to answer a simple multiple-choice question, found on your scorecard, to prove you were there. Example:

35   Statue of woman: What is the last word on the plaque next to the statue?
(a) Arts   (b) Commission   (c) Space

If you are not using the electronic scoring system, circle the correct answer on the scorecard and proceed to another checkpoint. Also write down the time of your checkpoint visit.

As an option, we will offer two electronic ways to record your checkpoint visits. One option will only be available at select checkpoints that are at locations of participating businesses, and only to those entrants who have a smartphone capable of recognizing QR codes, and the necessary phone app. Simply snap a picture of the code and get on your way!
If you don't have the hardware or the app, just answer the multiple-choice question.

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 scorecard. 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

Cyclist with a map
35 A

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!

The map is usually an improved USGS topographic map; we also use information from other sources. The map will have only a few street names on it, 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.) 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 01 January 2012), Masters (40 or older on 31 December 2012), 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.

If you have further questions, you may be able to find answers to them on the Equipment and Detailed Rules pages.

Entry and Registration

Los Gatos Street Scramble 2012 shirt designThe 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.

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:
90 minute event Individual Team        Cal-ARA Team
Enter and pay on or before Monday 19 November $39.00 $74.00 $66.60
Enter and pay on or before Tuesday 04 December $49.00 $94.00 $84.60
Enter and pay on or after Wednesday 05 December $59.00 $114.00 $102.60
3 hour event Individual Team        Cal-ARA Team
Enter and pay on or before Monday 19 November $39.00 $79.00 $66.60
Enter and pay on or before Tuesday 04 December $49.00 $94.00 $84.60
Enter and pay on or after Wednesday 05 December $59.00 $114.00 $102.60


On top of these prices, we offer the following discounts:

Bay Area OC member registering her/himself $5.00
No shirt(s) $7.00 individual, $14.00 team
Family (at least one participant age 20 or under) $10.00 per team

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.


  • California ARA team of 4, standard registration including shirts: $21.15 per person
  • BAOC member going solo, early registration, no shirt: $27.00
  • Family of 3, day-of-event registration, no shirts: $30.00 per person

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 VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and DiscoverWe accept credit cards online through Google Checkout, and cash, checks, and credit cards on site.

Go register!!

Event-Day Information

1. Directions and Parking

We are super thrilled to enjoy the hospitality of Road Runner Sports for the inaugural San Carlos Street Scramble. Coming from the north on Highway 101, take the Brittan Ave. exit; from the south, the Whipple Ave. exit. Turn left (from Brittan)/right (from Whipple) on Industrial Road and follow the signs to Road Runner Sports. There is ample parking.

The registration will open at 10:30 am.

2. Safety

Safety is our first priority. All cyclists must wear a helmet and stop at all stop signs and red lights.

There are several major roads and highways that go through San Carlos, and an active railroad. Several checkpoints are on the east side of Highway 101, a freeway. There are exactly two places to cross Highway 101, and they are accented on your map with red-triangle access signs. It is absolutely not allowed to cross the train tracks anywhere other than at designated crossings. There are several of these crossings, but some are over a mile apart; please plan appropriately for these crossings when you choose your route. Railroad crossing points are also accented with red-triangle signs.

Finally, El Camino Real 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. Each of these crossings will cost you between 2 and 2.5 minutes; please take this time into account when planning!

The course does not cross Interstate 280.

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 sixth 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.

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 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.

5. Bikes

All checkpoints except three are reachable by bike. A road bike is recommended over a mountain bike; however, one of the high-value checkpoints is on a singletrack trail in Belmont's Water Dog Park, a mecca for mountain bikers.

Two of the checkpoints not reachable by bike are in parks of San Carlos, and one is in a Belmont park. The singletrack trails in these parks are so sweet, and so little known, that we just couldn't resist offering a chance to run or hike on them to Street Scramble participants. We insist that you do not take your bike into these parks; lock the bike outside, and come back. So, wear shoes that are good for running, and be prepared for a one- to two-kilometer hike each way to each of these three checkpoints.

6. Dogs

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 mapStairs in San Carlos

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 Monterey) 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 San Carlos is very good. Most trails are on it, and we added some trails and stairways from our survey. We also added elevation contours. 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 grey for residential, which usually isn't passable.

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. If there is a grey gap on the map between a street and a park, you should assume that you cannot pass—either legally or physically. There are several places in which you may be strongly tempted to shortcut; we put purple crosses on the map at these locations, indicating access is forbidden. Please don't go through private property.

While inside a park, you can probably legally go anywhere, however we were almost never tempted to leave mapped trails while checking the course.

The few school campuses (light yellow-green) are mostly fenced off, and you should not assume that they are passable. In commercial areas, you can travel on mapped driveways and alleys, and across parking lots (shown in light yellow).

At this Street Scramble, we are introducing something new. An electronic map of the 38 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 38 checkpoints worth 1000 total points, picked by Vladimir and vetted by Nancy Lindeman. 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. Twenty-seven of the checkpoints are in San Carlos, six are in Redwood City, and five in Belmont.

A sensible route to take to travel to all checkpoints is 52.8 km, measured along streets and official trails. Cyclists who intend to clean out the course will travel an even longer distance, since they will have to park their bikes and run out to three of the checkpoints inaccessible by bike and back, and then take a route around the park to the next checkpoint.

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.

T commandOur 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

T 142

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.

Q commandAfter 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:

Q? 42

Checkpoint answerAnd 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.

S commandYou 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.

Event staff:
Lani and Vladimir

We maintain a discussion board for all our events on Attackpoint. Popular among map and 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 navigation-sport news, schedules, discussion, and gossip.

Forum for the San Carlos Street Scramble.

We also post updates to our Facebook pages:

Facebook event for San Carlos Street Scramble.

Created: 10 August 2011
Last updated: 17 December 2012, ver. 008

© 2011, 2012 Get Lost!! Running, Racing, Inc.
Street Scramble® is a registered trademark of Meridian Geographics.