Astley's Tower. 18.1km in bushy terrain with a 105 EWT - a beast! Was looking forward to this - the old map reminded me of Winterfold in England where I had a good classic once, and it was quite similar but a bit bushier and lower-vis. Felt like I paced the race really well overall - felt reasonably comfortable physically and focussed on the map the whole way. Dropped about 4mins all up which, again, was ok for the area but potentially punishable.
The first few were tricky. I missed about 30secs on #4 looking in all the wrong gullies. Took a good route on the long leg to #6 I think, but missed 30secs at the end dropping into the creek too quickly. I also caught James Bradshaw 2mins halfway along this leg. Spent the next couple of controls trying to drop him, but it quickly came apparent that he was having none of it. I could get a bit of a gap on paths but as soon as we hit the terrain he was back on me. So I settled down quite quickly and just focussed on running my race. Went through a dodgy patch dropping 30secs on #10, 1min on #11 and 30secs on #13 (although it was a long leg so the splits don't show that one). Got it back together again though and ran a really good section through to #21. Hesitated on #22 and then ended up taking a wide route to #23 which I didn't mean to do at first - turned out ok though. Good through the spectator bit, but lost about 1min on #26 which was really tucked away - in fact James and I both punched another control before realising it was wrong. Finished well. James was the only other one under 2hrs, so happy about that.
3 really fun races, all really well planned and mapped. Great to have a WOC-length classic for once, and really pleased to get round relatively unscathed (apart from a fair bit of blood when my lip exploded).