Sorry to hear about the mishap!
I was at a NORBA XC race at Mt. Spokane years ago, the first one they did there. I had studied the course and ridden it as marked, so I certainly knew the route. This was a one-lap race because there is so much room up there.
I was a senior Sport, and a few minutes into the race we hit a bottleneck point where we had to funnel into a singletrack. The leaders, following the lead motorcycle, got away from us. I was probably around 6th-10th at this point. We kept on going on the course we knew we were supposed to take, eventually hitting a place where the Beginners go around a hill, but Sports and higher go up it and down the other side. It's probably a 100ft. vertical, perhaps more.
At this point I think I was in about 5th. We came down the hill and rejoined the beginner route on a fire road. "You guys went the wrong way!" said the course marshal at this point. But we had gone the right way! Evidently the lead moto had taken the lead group around the base of the hill on the Beginner course! Aaaack! :confused:
So we were demoralized. We continued on. I found an AirB latex tube someone ahead had dropped, and picked it up to give back at the end, since I no longer had much hope of catching the leaders (did find the owner at the end, too). Of the people who went the right way, I was 2nd or 3rd.