I wasn't sure I'd ever get to compete in a cyclocross event - there's no regular calendar anywhere in Australia. But a pilot event came to the Warburton Cycle Fest, 2 hours from me. Preparation could hardly have been worse: 4 days after returning from a 5 week pastry tour of Europe, still jetlagged, hadn't been on the bike until the start line pretty much. Missed the pre-ride, and only just got tyres changed in time.
But! It was fun. A 2.5km course featuring obstacles such as play equipment, chainlink fences, a knee-deep river crossing (!), and a pretty long section scrambling down a muddy track with steps. 45 mins, plus added time if required to separate the lead pack (not clearly explained). There were two categories: 26" and 700C. It was really surprising to see all these CX bikes come out of the woodwork: apart from cross-checks, I've only seen one or two on the roads in the 2 years or so I've been riding one. There were three Spec Tricrosses, a Cross-check, a couple of Meridas, a few high end CX bikes, and a number of what looked like converted road or MTB frames.
I was never in the hunt. From the get-go I realised how much fitness I'd lost, and I couldn't possibly compete. Plus, taking a wrong turn (misunderstood a marshall's direction) on the first lap didn't help. I also didn't realise how hard mounting quickly is, nor how much energy it takes to get off, climb over a hurdle, and get back on - my heart rate was screaming each time through that section.
I really hope there'll be more events though. 45 mins is pretty short though, when you're talking about a 4 hour round trip to get there. Luckily on this day I was also able to compete in a MTB orienteering event afterwards. The really fun thing about CX though, for me, was the spectators cheering you on. I hadn't really appreciated how spectator-friendly CX is - it makes sense though, what with the slow speeds, endless potential for falling over, and the joy of seeing people in muddy misery...