Good race today! :)
Wasn't so optimistic about how well I would get around the course with my knee and ankle, but it was ok.
Started out really slowly since it was really rocky underfoot in the cut areas. Nailed the first 6 controls though. Caught Ross(-2min) at 4 but found 5 before him and got ahead on the long leg to 7. Don't think my route to 7 was that great, a bit squiggly and slow.
I apparently punched 7 within sight of Ross but since we started one after the other, we were seperated in the phi loop. Made a 1min mistake on 9. Couldn't understand the vague shapes in the open area and got confused by the people sitting 20m right of the control that were visible from 100m away. Was really clean through the rest of the phi loop. Ross and I ran the same pace through each loop and we ended up back together on the way to 16.
On the long leg to 17 my original plan was to go left to the trail, but when Ross and a German guy went straight I decided to stay with them. Lost sight of Ross through a green area and by the time I got to the big open ridge Ross was already part way up. Punched 17 alone and stopped for two good glasses of sport drink. Went a weird up and around route to 18 and was a minute slower than Ross (30s maybe due to water stop?). Caught sight of the German guy again to 19 and chased him hard on the start of the long leg to 20.
At this point I knew that Ross was ahead, and I was just trying to not let him get 2min ahead (although he almost was). Split off from the German guy when I decided to take a left route and he kept straight. Pushed hard through the leg and as I approached the control along the ridge I saw Ross coming in from the right (phew).
From 20 to the finish was really fun. Was mostly trail and field running and was running fast alongside Ross. We exchanged the lead a few times, but Ross was ahead on the road going into 25. I passed him at the start of the long climb up the fields to the finish.
As I punched the last control I felt I had put a safe enough distance on him (didn't look back). Did my usual exhausted half-sprint up the chute, but with 20m to the line I thought I heard steps behind me. Had a deja vu from the Silva league a few weeks ago, and suddenly threw myself into an all out sprint for the line. Was just enough to hold him off as we crossed the line at the same. The finish was dramatic enough to catch the attention of Per Forsberg. :)