In New England (or New Belgium as Zanc likes to say), Canton has become almost as popular a 'cross race as Gloucester. I really liked this course last year, and I LOVED it this year - I just wish the results showed that enthusiasm ;-).
Mike and I got to to the venue really early, in time to talk to all TWELVE of the NEBC 3/4 women lined up to race, as well as a handful of other women I know. WOW! I have to say, it was so impressive seeing so many teammates and friends on the starting line, and you all had TERRIFIC races! I think I had more fun cheering all of you on than I did in my own race. A special congrats to Libby on her second place finish.
I socialized with the women's team some before watching Mike, Wayne, Jim and Edzo in the Masters 35+ race. Despite what he says was a "bad start" Mike managed to jump from group to group in his race, finishing 23rd in a field of 66 finishers. He looked strong throughout, but I particularly like this picture as he is determined to beat the guy who finished ahead of him the day before at Brockton ;-). Kudos also to Edzo - he wanted (I think) to quit, but hung in to finish the race, and according to the posted results, wasn't last!
After Mike finished his race, I headed over to the car to get warmed up for my race. That meant that I didn't get to see all of Scott's race, but he did well, finishing 10th despite breaking his brand new shoes!
In my race, I desperately wanted to have a good start, after having such a poor one in Brockton the day before. I was focused. I concentrated. I set my HRM one minute before we really started. I was ready. I counted down from 10, and....nothing. I ended up going into the woods DFL. I don't even know what happened, except that I did get somewhat boxed in with racers on the right having to skinny-up. I really need to practice the start - I've had such mixed results with it this year.
So, I sat DFL, trailing Roz P for the entire first lap. Mike cheered. Don cheered. Gewilli cheered. Scott and ML cheered. Kathy, Geoff, Linda and Karin cheered. Other people cheered. And still, I was DFL. But then my legs kicked in. And Roz slowed up in a section. And Susanne faltered on a small uphill. I took advantage and got a bit of a gap. And then I remembered everything I yelled at my teammates earlier in the day - sprint out of the corners! Smooth and steady! Each lap, Mike and our friend Don let me know that my advantage was increasing, so I made sure not to let up, no matter how much it hurt. I sprinted every corner, botched the barriers, and sprinted some more to hold them off. I ended up finishing third from last, but was happy with how I ended up racing in the end.
Yup, racing with the Elites kicks my butt. But it is also helping me to become a stronger racer, and I look forward to getting my butt kicked some more before the season is done ;-).
For additional pics from the Women's 3/4 race, Masters 35+ race, the start of the 2/3 race and the Elite women's race, click here.