I am maybe running faster than I'm used to?
That's a good theory about botching early orange flags.
Because of improved fitness and since it's early in the course, you really can't point yet to oxygen debt. Because you can run faster, and because S-1-2-3 was net downhill, that's a lot of extra speed. Extra speed means less time to figure shit out.
It's fascinating that orienteering gets harder the better you are physically (less time to plan). I can't think of another sport that gets harder like that. Obviously track & field and swimming get easier. If I can jump higher in volleyball, it gets easier. If I can run longer in soccer, it gets easier. Perhaps downhill skiing is like orienteering in this respect?
That's really interesting!
Very likely reason, actually. What a great challenge!