I don't know why the Dirty Trails Series guys named this event the Dirty Rotten, because it was anything but rotten and participation showed with almost 200 runners participating. Most everyone in the running or xc skiing community has been to Chapin Forest in Kirtland where this race was held and know how beautiful this Lake Metropark is. The race started off in the field where the ski races start and we did the same counter clockwise loop with the exceptions of some new single track that the organisers threw in so the race wouldn't be totally on the gravel paths, it was an excellent addition I think. They billed this race as the fastest course in the series, but knowing the course from having ski'd and ran there for many years I knew otherwise. It was all uphill til we reached the steep downhill that leads to the lower loop section and once we finished with the lower loop it was all uphill once again from Rt. 306 to the long downhill ski hill on the front side of the course. This is where I lost contact with the group that I was running with the whole race. There were six of us together until the long downhill when they all surged ahead and were running the downhill like it was a flat. I picked up the pace but nothing like the group that I was with. They pulled away and I did my best to hang on knowing that we had to make a 180 degree turn at the bottom and then climb back up again. Once we hit the 180 I saw one of the guys that I was with and gave it a good effort on the hill to catch him. I noticed he was pretty gassed so I picked up the pace over the top of the hill and ran the last mile as my fastest to finish only a few seconds ahead of him.
I didn't feel my best in this race by no means, but I didn't feel that terrible either, if that makes any sense. My plan going into this one was just to put down a good effort and since it was a hilly race it would better prepare me for Vermont, since I hear it's a hillier run course there. I ended up finishing 4th Master and 16th overall, not my best but not too bad either. We took our bikes with us and the plan was to ride home, so we ended up with 8 miles of running and 25 on the bike, not a bad day.