When would you have left it?
We had a leg from 9-11. I didn't go to the track (partly because I knew from earlier in the course that there was a lot of unmapped dark green getting off it), but instead of dropping straight down to the gully as you did, I contoured out and then ran down the spur. Seemed to work OK.
Looks like Hania set some good challenges.
Yes. they were good challenges. The event also revealed that this is an excellent area still, but the green is somewhat dated on the map. How to fund an update? 2021 Oz Carnival using Spring Gully, Wattle Gully, Deadmans Flat?
Could have gone back the way you came in from 8, then across the spur from the saddle, and followed the track to the junction north of the control. A bit more climb, but good running once across the creek.
The Bendigo straight line tendency might have served you well on 2-3: I went straight and that was easily my best split of the day (was 2nd there and not in the top four on any other leg). 15-16 (your 9-11) was the next best.
The return on the east track route did cross my mind at the time, but the climb dissuaded me. Looking at the splits, it appears I lost at most 90 seconds. I find this hard to believe. I am tempted to go back mid week and run the west track option. My suspicion is that no-one took this.
I think Russell Bulman took it and found the creek crossing full of blackberries.
I was saved by a bad route choice. Pity about the veg changes making a mess of a good route choice dilemma.