Missing 10 -- which I gather was not an uncommon experience -- seems so unnecessary other than people seem to orienteer so differently, and so badly, when they are on trails.
Sure, the trail bends are there to make it easy, but even easier is that along that whole stretch of trail there is only one place where the terrain isn't falling off on the right side. And right at the end of that is where you turn in. Couldn't be easier.
Except for the tunnel vision syndrome.
Or for some, just the vision syndrome. As seems so often to happen, I went right to about ten feet from the control flag, and was muttering about how it seemed like this just had to be the correct reentrant except there was no flag, but this time Bernie Breton came up before I had a chance to try relocating, and pointed out that the flag was right in front of me in clear sight, but just not so very easy to distinguish coming into the dark out of the better-lit woods along the trail.
Well, I did both -complete loss of focus while I was telling Earl a story on the trail, then going down the reentrant, not seeing the flag, checking the next reentrant and then coming back.
In analyzing my error, I think the problem was three-fold:
1) Leaving 9, in my head, I assessed 10 as a trivial control, so I relaxed my focus and allocated attention to other things, like reading ahead and surveying the rest of the course.
2) Given that I had decided 10 wasn't hard, I fixated on looking for a 90' right turn on the trail as when I should "check back in." The turn was about 100m before the control, so I expected it would be a good point to reestablish focus.
3) After I figured out that I overran my attackpoint, rather than returning to an unambiguous position, I was only vaguely sure of where I was on the trail before I attacked into the green. I should have run back on the trail until the gradient was to the north and there was a small hill to my left before going south a little and attacking. This could have mitigated the error to 2-3 minutes instead of 7.
It seems that in long races, it often isn't feasible or realistic to keep maximum concentration for the entire race. Holger Hott in 2008 remarked about the need to turn off your brain at times. The problem to avoid is unjustified confidence and/or bad attackpoint. In my head, control 10 was down in a reentrant behind a little hill to the right of the trail, but I wasn't going to start looking for that until I hit a moderate right turn and started heading west.
And, as is apparent even on white and yellow courses, linear features can lead to a false sense of security, especially when relied upon.