Lost a Lot Trail Race (the final in the Western NH Trail Running Series) on September 22. Let me tell you: this was seriously technical. It wasn't as bad as the Exeter Trail Race, but it was still quite tough.
About 80 of us (a pretty standard number in this series) gathered on a gravel road close to the start. There was the standard pre-race announcements, and the race director simply said "GO!" and we were off.
The course is designed to be 7 miles, which is the longest of the trail series. They all it "Lost a Lot" partly because the trail head is called "Boston Lot," but it was also because the course was seriously tricky. The race director had put about 200 arrows around the course to lessen the likelihood that we'd get lost.
This course is fairly unique in that once you start to get going, the trail marks a very sharp left or right turn. So, it was never all that easy to speed up. That turned out not to be a problem because there were a TON of roots and rocks and branches all throughout the course. I tripped a half dozen times, but I never fell. I did, however, turn both ankles a couple times. One was so severe that I thought I had torn something. Thankfully just a little residual soreness the next day and not swollen at all (he says, wiping his brow).
Though the race director said that there weren't many hills, there sure seemed to be a lot to me. The total gain of 900 feet that he quoted didn't seem anywhere close to right--it felt like at least double that!
I kept a moderate pace throughout the race. Because the majority of the track was single track, it wasn't easy to pass people. I blew by a few people at the beginning and a few more near the middle. I think I only had one or two people pass me throughout the race, but that may be a factor of my back-of-the-pack start more than any sort of speed.
Mile 5 to 6 was a full uphill hike. I tried to run from time to time up that hill, but didn't end up being all that successful. Mile 6 to the end was almost a complete downhill. The race ended up being 7.25 miles. I ended up finishing in a rather plodding 1:39:58 (still in top 25%).
All in all, it was a tough race, but a beautiful course. If I do the trail series again next year (which I expect to do), I'll definitely plan to do this race again.