I've read a couple times about a particular challenge of CX in the American style. Our way is that the spectators are the racers. And we have all sorts of skill levels racing. So the question is: How to make a course that encourages the C's/5's while also challenging the A's/Elites?
Obviously, the answer is that you can't. Zero chance. Not possible.
So we get either the A's or the C's grumbling.
To me the answer is clear. (And I might have suggested it before but my memory is bad so let's hear the easy answer again, if there is one.)
...In a place on the course that the spectators can easily see and get to, add a short (100-200 yd?) section of more challenging terrain/features and have the A's detour onto it for their race.
Why isn't this done or mentioned?
I suggested it last nite at our local course event. Our course goes halfway up the only big hill. I wondered, Why not lay it out to the top? It would give a more satisfying feeling to any rider, and more offcamber switchbacks going down are only more fun. The answer was that it might discourage the C's/5's. Now, this hilltop is the most scenic and easily seen feature around. Central to a wide open area. If a spur was added to give more climbing and more descending challenges then the A's could easily be given that extra challenge/reward/thrill. Everyone could watch the Masters at work. More wow factor. It would only involve a bit of extra mowing/taping. There are already trails to the top.
C and B races are already shorter than the A's so their "doing less" isn't a discouragement.
The idea didn't even get a response so something major must be wrong with the concept, like of an extra spur in general. But I don't see it.
I mean, just for training and more fun and satisfaction I may well do my own extending of the climb and add more switchbacks in. I personally want to go to the top each time.
I'm new but as I'm getting better I certainly like the idea of more challenge -- not only just riding the same trail faster.
Thanks for the thoughts. JP