Mark, I think you would enjoy the course. I hope they do this again next year - I’d like to go back. It struck me as a balanced course between climbs, techy features, fun and well-planned cornering on grass, as well as a jaunt through the woods.
If you’ll indulge me, I’ll break down the main selling points:
Fun technical features
I think the technical descents were just hard enough to push most riders in terms of how fast to take them, but manageable enough for all, even if at first they appeared intimidating. The set-piece tech descent had three main lines that I found both fun to ride, as well as great to watch riders choose their lines and maybe even vie for position to the bottom (not to mention a few harmless crashes). There was also a classic back and forth down a hillside, which was well-balanced and fun, as well as steep, bumpy, short descent where a dropper post (though certainly not needed) could be useful.
The course felt pretty climby, but was actually a bit less elevation than Cowbell. It featured a straight grass/dirt climb basically right off the hole shot. This was the hardest part of the race, a real soul-sucker, as it was a headwind out in the open up a steep hill that led into an extended false-flat incline. I thought it felt pretty similar to the Mt Trashmore Toboggan climb, though it was probably a bit shorter; either way, those Heartbreaker laps were good prep! The long finishing/starting straight and this hill together turned into a place each lap to use some pack tactics and tuck behind other riders (if there were any around). On my 5th lap, I made a big effort to get behind a couple riders, then sat-on until the rider in front of me attacked and got a huge gap. I wasn’t ready for that, but did my own (less impressive) attack a few moments later to move ahead.
There was also a (for morning races especially) slippery/twisty/steep climb that was pretty engaging and fun to try ride up without losing traction. Add on a few short, punchy pitches, one of which I think they thought would more commonly a run-up, and I found it to be a course that always had a hard effort coming, but also had opportunities to recover.
Beautiful spot on a (rainy and cold but) beautiful fall day. Proper cyclocross weather for sure. The course was designed so some of the highlights (tech descent, barriers, slippery climb, hard punchy dirt climb) were all in somewhat of a natural amphitheatre (maybe that’s overselling it) and spectators basically had 360 degree view of rad parts of the race. I enjoyed the forest (nordic ski) trail sections - nothing too prolonged, but it was cool to tour the woods bit. It was also nice to be able to go inside the chalet if needed.