So, having posted the SoCal race schedule on a separate thread, I'll concede I haven't raced any of it yet, but want to, and I'll ask for some advice . . .
I've been riding a cross bike for a year or so, off road, and practicing mounts/dismounts and the like. But I'm not fast. And my skills aren't polished. And nonetheless I'm dying to give this a go. (In fact, even my wife, who loosely tolerates my passion for all sorts of cycling, watched "Transition 2: 'cross the pond" with me and said "Wow, that looks really fun.")
I don't want to clog up a course where serious racers are hauling ass -- am I better of going for the "Men's 3/4," or the "Masters 35+"? (Some races have a "Men's 4 One-Day License" category, where I assume I should park myself if available.)
Also, should I generally expect: (a) a triathlon-like experience, where the culture is inclusive and the seasoned racers encourage and cheer the fat, slow newbies who are out there having fun; or (b) a road race-like experience, where lots of stuffy regulars wonder what the hell I'm doing out there, and please don't talk to them?