Enjoyed reading your analysis this morning. It sounds like there were a lot of decision points for you!
I saw you mis punched- you hit a control on White before the intersection to turn right on ( check out routegadget)
Noted about the dam- it was only supposed to be oob for bikes-marked trail only. I think a lot of people took it. Wanted my starter to remind everyone with some notes I handed to him but probably didn't happen so oob symbol is obvious choice.
Yes, thanks for putting this together. It was well done and we both really enjoyed it despite the 3+ hour drive!
There were enough route choice options to consider, including ones I didn't mention. Also it was interesting to discover that options that look similar to ski-O choices don't always have the same balance point. e.g. the dot trails on the routes from 6-7 and 7-8 were incredibly slow and probably worth going around to avoid. OTOH the dots trails leading in to 6 and 12 were really fun.
One option I considered but didn't try to take was to cross the stream south of 12 to get to 13. Without knowing in advance if the crossing would be easy or difficult I decided it was a minimal gain with a high risk. Did you intend for this to be an option?
I have never done ski-o so not sure how they compare. The dot trail to 6 is a pretty intense short downhill-glad you enjoyed! Most people walked that one and a couple even rode all the way around after seeing it. Entry to 12 was a little tricky and close to the edge on a thin trail, but definitely faster than "dots" if you are confident.
The course setting was all planned to be totally on trail, though the 12-13 leg would be interesting if stream crossing was allowed. Lucky for you, the crossing would have been very difficult south of 12- water was high, and the small dam was overflowing. Maybe in summer it would be faster.
I've heard of mtb-o where you are allowed to carry your bike off-trail, but I was being a little cautious for this first edition. That would allow a few more options like you described- something to consider for next time.
Yeah. Carrying a bike off-trail isn't really my idea of fun. Running and pushing the bike might be occasionally advantageous. I haven't read up on IOF or OUSA MTBO rules since I haven't done a MTBO since before rules for them even existed. I could imagine rules for off-trail being venue-dependent since the #1 concern is not getting into a situation where the land owner or manager doesn't want you to come back.
In ski-O you're allowed to ski off-trail or run carrying skis off-trail, but depending on snow conditions and depth that may or may not be useful on any given day. Similarly on a bike the utility of going off-trail would obviously depend on what you're trying to go through, if it's even allowed.
Glad I didn't spend any time looking into crossing that stream. From the bend in the trail where I turned it looked like a lot of water and I remember thinking "and then I would have cold feet the rest of the way!" ;-)