Ran the final loop from the One Cowboy Relay twice back-to-back, first going in reverse order, and then in the order the runners ran it. I really enjoyed it. I ran at a good pace and my legs felt strong. I had a sore spot in the ball of one of my feet--I must have stepped on a small stone and got bruised there running yesterday, even though I didn't notice anything memorable while I was running then.
Another very, very hazy day, though it did seem to lessen somewhat at the very end of the day.
While not deliberately part of the course planning, the course divides into 5 sections as the terrain and vegetation transition. The purple lines across the course show the rough areas of transition:
From the start through #5, the course goes through a highly detailed area where the visibility varies and much of the detail looks vaguely similar--and a lot of it is small. It's easy to miss in this section. Lots of area is covered in sage and bitterbush, making the running more difficult and adding to the overall navigational difficulty.
At #5 (the boulder) it is already possible to look ahead and see the break in the aspen where you want to cross over a small section of rough open marsh, and you can also see a glimpse of the open ground just beyond. From here right up to #7 the navigation is very easy and the running is very fast. Here, speed is what counts.
Right after #7 and through until #9, the navigational difficulty increases again, as the map becomes quite detailed again, and the running is again more difficult as the sage returns. It is easy to come off the line on the way to #8 if you aren't careful (the key is to see the bare rock knoll right on the beeline about 100m before the control.)
From #9 through #11 the navigation gets easier again and you only need to see a few bigger detail to keep you going right. Hitting the break in the second patch of aspen on the way to #10 should be the obvious goal and from there it is hard to miss the control. If you can keep to a straight line to #11, then the linear knoll the control is sited on is quite visible as you near it.
From #11 the remaining navigation is trivial and the running is very fast across the open ground.
Even though the map here is only a small part of Pelican Bay, it gives a good idea of the look and feel of the area, and how a typical course will go through quite varied areas of vegetation and detail.