Followed the big boys and had success in doing so. Took part of the lead into and out of 4 before thinking I was sly by going below the trail to 5 and immediately losing it. We all kinda had a 'doh' moment when we turned around and saw Joe punching 5.
Was a little bit behind Joe and Robert after that with Greg immediately in front of me from 6-11. We coordinated to skip 26 and take 10b while on the way to 9. Took a more comfortable route choice to 11 going more W onto the trail E of the out-of-bounds, which ended up with me almost going directly into out of bounds because I saw a little building which led me to believe I was just N of it, ended up slowing Greg down as he saw me. Robert and Joe were nowhere in sight as Greg led me into 11, when I heard him hurting and asked if he was okay. He said maybe, and I knew that his foot was going to slow him down so I took over leading to 12 and 13.
I was navigating under my own steam briefly until I saw Robert as I neared the corner of the out-of-bounds field going to 13. Decided if I was going to follow, I might as well do it well and turned towards him, coming very
close to the out-of-bounds marsh as I turned S to chase him. Choked on some water and followed him into 13, when we then approached 14 from different directions.
I saw Joe going up the spur and realized this must be the lead pack as I took what I think was a marginally better route to 14. Saw Greg entering 15 as the two big boys and I exited 15. Joe and Robert lead the rest of the race, not once did I pass them.
And so I desperately tried to hang on, as the gap grew to 5s to them on the way to 17, to 10s on the way to 18 (they made a small mistake that I didn't), then closed it back up as they hesitated to drop to 19. Boy was that a fun control, the two elites sliding down at breakneck speeds as I clung on and flung my body down the spur.
They gapped me pretty good after that, as they had much more drive with a real competition for first, swapping left and right. I had the best seat in the house to watch a really good battle :)
Ended up contouring to 24 when I realized I had absolutely no chance of catching back up. It was really fun to watch those two duke it out. I'd pay for that sort of entertainment.RouteGadget