I love mountain biking. I love to ride up and then ride down sort of slowly. I’m new to mountain biking and also running, I am actually new to the concept of propelling my body quickly forward in general. But I’ve become a pretty good runner and have recently done a half marathon.

The dirty duo is a relay in which one person runs twenty-five kilometers and one person rides thirty. And all this for the low low price of eighty dollars. The ride and the run are done mostly on the same trails. Thirty kilometers of shore riding at race speeds was not feasible for me. Krista, my relay partner, would do the riding; however, she would use my bike. My bike is beautiful, so beautiful she is named for a super model: Heidi Klum.

This left me with the running portion of the race. This run was twenty-five kilometers and a half-marathon is twenty-one. What’s another four, right? This was trail running which I had never done before. Trails are like roads, I thought, except brown and bumpy. I can deal with bumpy.

An hour into the race however, I had already gotten lost twice. The rain had thrown the orange ribbons, marking the course, onto the ground. Why does everyone mark every course, trail, and children’s birthday party with orange flagging tape? There were orange ribbons everywhere in the woods, some from this race and some from the ghost of races past.

I was slow because it turns out that the other thing about trails is that they go up before they go down. So there I was lost in the woods, cold, wet, vision blurring, tears flowing, and I swear I could feel my body starting to shut down. In this moment of despair who should appear?

The friendly old men ultra-marathoners, who were not doing one but two laps of the twenty-five kilometer course. For anyone who needs help with the math, that is fifty kilometers, which is really far, crazy far. So these were crazy men in the woods, wearing technical fabric and alarmingly short shorts. They were my saviours and for this I will call them my brothers. They steered me back on course and for the next two hours we proceeded to run this race together. The chatty one noted “we’re walking up all the hills and you’re running and you’re still not passing us.”

The critique of my running came at the wrong time. I had been lost. I was scared, and worried about disappointing my biking partner and the combination of these things made me want to punch him. I didn’t. I did start walking the up the hills, and through the slush and then I saw it: an oasis of power bars and nugget potatoes (an aid station), and a trail undeniably heading down. My moral was restored-or possibly just my blood sugar. Suddenly, I had an edge as I started running down I remembered riding these biking trails. I ran down Ned’s and Bottle Top. The very same biking trails I had ridden/walked down in the past.


When I say that I am a new rider there is one thing I have become very accomplished at, an expert of sorts: avoiding stunts. Running down these trails was all about avoiding the stunts. I raced ahead of my brothers who wished me luck. I began to pass people, not a lot of people, actually only two people and one of them could be described as “elderly”.

By the time I actually got to the bottom to tag off my biking partner I felt totally insane, I also could barely move. Krista was off and I hobbled inside and ate slice after slice of free olive bread. Krista is a really good rider, such a good rider that even though my run was slow: second to last kind of slow.

We came in third over all which meant we got a medal and also our choice of what we wanted from a table of free stuff. Unfortunately, you had only fifteen seconds to choose and though there were alluring items such as spandex pants and helmets all I could see were socks, though they are nice socks: pink, blue and small.

Even though my run was definitely not what made us place I would like to think that I did contribute in some small way – I finished. And what were my saving graces? My brothers, timid mountain biking past, and olive bread. Also I would like to think that in some small way my bike contributed to Krista’s winning ride. I bred the stallion (and by this I mean purchased). And Krista rode that stallion to victory – or rather third place. []

What is the DIRTY DUO?
Being mountain bikers and trail runners, we want to share what living and playing on the rugged North Shore trails is all about!! This scenic trail race will challenge beginners as well as extreme athletes. Here are the five options:
Run 25 km,
Run 15 km (NEW in 2007),
Run 50 km ultra (first of the Montrail Ultrarunning Series),
Do a relay; one runs and the other rides,
Do it all! Go solo and do both the 25 km run and 30 km bike,
Mountain bike 30 km only.
Note: You do not need to run and bike; you can choose one event!
For more information check out

Sarah Hyde is the newest addition to our team of writers.


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