Agree with Ian's comments about sleep deprivation or lack of it this year. Having started all four Spines, this is the first year that the sleep demons didn't really come into play.
re Spikecross: both Gary & I used them on the first section in 2013 when it was very icy/frosty underfoot. Great grip but could really feel the spikes on anything hard - non-iced rock and road. Led to a few early hot spots and we both jettisoned at CP1
Pavel is primarily an adventure racer. The Spine isn't an ultra marathon running race, and the fastest runners will probably not win. It's a mini-expedition, a week's long adventure. I was with Pavel on Day 1 - he moves very smoothly with minimal energy wastage - looks very efficient to me