A race with a difference. The event is listed 58km with 3000m of ascent, though the route is suggested, yet unmarked requiring and allowing competitors to navigate, and alter the route where desired.
Competitors start one after the other a few seconds apart. I started towards the back in order to get a good look at who was up ahead, and in the hope of having plenty of people to pass, and navigate off.
By the first peak I had caught and passed the rest of the field, and was starting to pick off the long course competitors (who started an hour earlier). This made the navigation non-existent as there was a stream of folk marking my route.
I passed four long course runners on the climb to peak #3 and then I was on my own, with nobody ahead of me to navigate off.
En route to peak #4 (Fan Lila) In my haste I ended up off the main track, and on a sheep track following the hillside around rather than on the main track. I was conscious that I was not high enough for where I was meant to be, and at this same point realised that the needle of my compass was pointing somewhere other than North. Fog bound I felt like I was now running around in circles. The demons started to creep in, telling me that I was an idiot, and that I should just follow the lake to next check point and pull the pin. I back tracked to a point where I could make out the lake in the distance, allowing me to orientate my map and work my way up the contours to find Fan Lila.
I was bracing myself for the bad news at check point #2 as to many minutes I was going to have to chase down. To my amazement I was still leading. This gave me confidence that I must have been moving significantly quicker than the guys behind, I just had to stay on course.
From CP2 I settled back into the process with a little more navigational caution, and it was pretty much smooth sailing. There were a few possible 'racing lines' available, though I opted to stick to the longer, yet more obvious suggested route.
With nobody in sight, I took the final 10km reasonably easy, crossing the line in 6:52, taking ten minutes off the record in the process.