I also took the stream route and I also had the same thoughts about it: Saved some distance and climb but the going wasn't really very fast due to laurel and uneven footing. Wonder if someone took either of the trail routes for comparison.
Charlie DeWeese took the trail route to the left and I think J-J did too. The road route to the right has a big climb if you stay on it all the way to the trail which may offset any gain from the road run. Also, the trails coming out of 4 looked somewhat different to me than what is mapped so may have posed some problems approaching the control.
Alex took the trail to the left, Becky took the road and wasn't delighted with it. Trail to the left was fine, had quite a bit of climb, too, but not as much as the road. My slow time for the leg was because of current physical issues, not because of it being a slow route.