The "upwards" weren't entirely done for the day, but none of them seemed as bad as the first section we'd already endured. We certainly continued, onwards and forwards, finding control points at a "high point", downstream and upstream, at a "watercourse head" and to the south east side of "spurs junction". Though neither Miri or I knew what that meant...?
I have to admit that most of the day, I followed Miri's navigation unquestionably. There were a couple of occasions when other teams asked questions about where we'd been and how far we were from the checkpoint. The first couple of times I was really very vague, before sheepishly admitting I had no idea.
It took me a couple of encounters such as this to realise that perhaps my evasive reactions may be considered by those enquirers to not be in the spirit of things. Even though the rules of rogaining clearly state that teams shall not accept assistance from, nor collaborate with, other people...
I realised my mistake and from then, I simply told the truth. "I've got no idea... I'm just following..."
We'd collected seven checkpoints, and had only about half an hour left on the clock when we encountered the boys. We were on our way to our final planned checkpoint of the day, 81. Pretty soon after this, Miri was telling me how fine we were cutting it for time, so even in the spots where the sand was like a sink hole, we had to either ride or run.
She'd been chattering away all day up ahead of me. This was one of the few things I'd understood first time. She must be serious.
So I did what I was told. We finally got back onto sealed road (for the first time since right at the start of the event) when Miri pulled over with a slight mechanical issue. I presumed it wasn't serious when I understood her for what seemed like the second time of the day.
"Keep riding as hard as you can. I'll catch you."
All of a sudden there were teams all around us. We hadn't had company like this since the start of the event. But now, with the clock winding down, there were teams everywhere, desperate to get in before the 3.30pm cutoff.
I kept riding, and Miri did catch me. I stayed on her tail and we made it back to the Hash House with just 19 seconds to spare. We handed in our chips, awaited our printout, and found our result card hung in second place. After an anxious wait, the third team in the Womens Open category finally materialised. They were third. We'd earned our second place fair and square, and only missed first place by ten points.