I remember thinking that when we went to the World Masters there in 2008 or 2009, too, having enjoyed the forests in their brash-free glory several years earlier; it seems as if they've got even thicker in the following decade.
Very varied. Some places they've cleaned out all the undergrowth and all the brash, and its amazingly nice. Other places there's quite deep heather, the really tricky bits has a dense under canopy of bushes which give you no visability and make it impossible to go on straight line. POM now has three middles and the philosophy for middle seems to be maximum technical / maximum grot.
and yet the top guys can do 7km in 31 mins!
Can't be that grotty...
Indeed, the grotty bits are exactly grotty enough to stop me in my tracks, while the elites just charge straight through. In the nice bits the only thing to slow you down is if you carelessly try to run on a sandy path. It's amazing how only climb seems to slow them down - and there's no climb here.