Here's what I do. Whenever I look at a leg, I try to look until I see a good route (typically a few seconds), and I spend a few seconds more making sure it's a clear route. Then I look away a few seconds, and then study the leg to see what I missed.
The point is that my first thought in seeing a new leg is to pick a route as fast as I can, and then if I have time, to figure out why I missed a better route that I didn't see at first.
I think it's a mistake to get used to reading a map slowly before you force yourself to pick a route quickly. And you only get a first look once, so make it count.
My two cents.
The bottoms not so bad, i frequent that area :). You picked a tough meet to not be on the bottom too, non TT usually have a few more of us slow folks doing blue. I need to learn the same lessons, most of my botches are at the perimeter of the circle! Nice job on a tough course!
@cedarcreek: I like your advice and probably follow it badly. One reason is that it is becoming harder to focus on the map and see and think clearly (simply for vision-related reasons).
It seems as though there are usually five gross route options: essentially taking the line, a bit left, a bit right, and some trail or big climb avoiding far right and left options. My first choice almost always comes from the first three. Hopefully without getting dissed by the homefront about this next comment, I will claim that I can run reasonably fast over distance, if unimpeded. Therefore, I would benefit by not missing straightforward and fast "around" routes. I miss them way too often and, as a result, I loose the change-up in types of running, which should make the overall course easier, and the time to plan harder legs without worrying about footing and, for the most part, navigation. Somehow using your second block of seconds to consciously consider the 2-3 options that I missed in the first fast view is what I am seeking (this discussion is mostly long/classic-related) because after 5-10 seconds, I tend to irreversibly commit myself to a choice, good or bad. If I had the bandwidth, on some legs, this decision making process might be good on both sides of the control. If I could punch with a plan and then ask, "Are you sure (chk remaining options)?" in the 5 seconds, I might end up with better results.
Separately, gswede gave some great advice about simplification before I ran the long. With a small number of sufficiently distinctive features, more running and less reading should be possible. My feeling was the approach worked well for this race. I'm pretty sure that considering this approach is part of route selection because the most direct route, even if it is a physically acceptable route, may require so much reading/navigational care to execute that one of the other options becomes preferable.
@kfish: Thanks; indeed not the best place to try out blue but I definitely love a good challenge and great courses on terrain I have not seen so I would rather fail at this than have an ok race under easier circumstances. I hadn't realized until TT that you had moved; new terrain and a shorter drive east should keep you getting faster and faster.
BTW apparently, I need to make myself a favorite so I don't miss postings and respond long after the thread starts. Fixed.
OMG. I didn't know you could do that. Also fixed. This is a problem I've had for years. Ugh. So simple.