My route through the sandy sections changed each lap, as either I didn't like how it felt the last time through or there was carnage in front of me which made me change my plan of attack. Even good bike handlers struggled though the really deep stuff, and only sheer leg power could really pull you through. I can honestly say I didn't find that ever elusive perfect line, I undoubtedly lost time there and it hurt each and every lap. The only positive thing I can say about my performance is that at least I didn't biff it and eat sand. Although riding the firmer packed line close to the lake was fast, getting down there and back up took its toll and ended up being slower. I did enjoy the brief reprieve of solid (ish) ground though!
Firmer ground, but longer route
I think I was in 5th coming out of the sand the first time, but made it up into 2nd place when some gals clashed and took each other down in a different sandy section. My team mate Kristi was battling it out for 3rd place when she realized if she continued hard she'd just pull 4th place gal up to me. She wasn't prepared to do that so let her pull around to fight on her own to catch me (thanks Kristi!) Good strategy for the team, but I just couldn't hold her off when she got a 2nd wind and took me middle of the way through the last lap - DAMN! 3rd place by 2 seconds - ouch! Kristi was only a few more seconds back and took 4th, so a very successful day for the team.
When places are split by seconds, one starts to think of all the little mistakes you make that lose those precious seconds. Apart from the obvious mistakes I made in the sandy sections, I just wasn't aggressive enough passing the guys that we have to work through. Not that they were deliberately blocking, but I just held back too long. To be worked on next week......