great report john!
I just completed my 10k but had to use a different strategy: since it is a distance task and not a speed challenge, I used every thermal on my way. if you too low you will land out. I had a perfect day and specked out about 10 times then gliding XC until I reached 1000ft, looked for thermals and went back to 2000ft. I never went below 800ft. the guru's usually fly around 3500 ft, but I'm just yet not comfortable at those altitudes, that probably comes with more experience.
on my 2k, I specked out (2000ft) and flew the whole course and back from the truck with and old NSP edge. that habit bid me on my unsuccessful 10k attempts, I was to eager to get down the course!
enjoy the journey towards level V!