The one, the only, Fishtrap Goat. Spent most of the race in the company of one or both of Eric and Peteris - would have been fun to have J there as well. With P basically from the start until at 15 he said "let's skip 16 and 17" but I decided not to. E also lurking for much of the first half of the course, after starting 1-2min late because his shoes were untied. Then off-and-on with E for a good long while, though we often weren't in close contact, but would link back up at or near controls. I was first to 16, 17, together at 18, I was first to 19, 20, 21, together at 22, he was first to 23. We skipped 24 and 25, and I then hit the wall hard on the way to 26 and started losing ground fast. Also saw P coming in from 25, but could tell I would miss him and he would link up with E ahead of me. Tried to chase them down for a bit but had no zero energy left and shuffled through the last few controls, ending up third, 3.5min behind Eric - purely on running speed over the last 15min of the race.
As clean a race as can be asked for, but my physical performance was disappointing - I felt weaker than at other recent long/longish races like the TT Long, Billygoat, Sage Stomp Long, and US Champs Long. Some of that was no doubt due to the sneaky physicality of pushing over and through the high grasses, but even out of the start my legs didn't feel springy or fierce, and I felt like I couldn't access that highest speed gear for whatever reason. Hopefully just a "one of those days" thing. Also forgot to bring an energy gel with me, which was dumb and not helpful.
So, another failure to win the Fishtrap Goat - maybe my 4th or 5th attempt. It is ironic or poetic or whatever that I can make the WOC team but still am unable to win the local races I've been chasing for a long time. There's always next year!