The new Troll is definitely not a cyclocross bike. It's heavy and doesn't have gears. But it's nimble and comfortable and accommodates super fat tires.
Cyclocross is a fun way to get some exercise while occasionally drinking beer and improving your off-road handling skills. A typical race starts lined up with at least a hundred other women, of several different categories. I am in category five, which is a nice promotion from my usual "cat six" races.
I took last place in almost every time, except for costume day when I placed seventh from last. I dressed to match my basket that day, which must've really given me an edge. Or mayhaps it was the whipped cream and whiskey shots fed me while at the beachy part of the course.
Race organizers use existing land formations or build new obstacles to challenge racers. These can range from stairs to wooden hurdles to gigantic muddy rooty "run ups". The stairs at Bend, which are actually railroad ties used as landscaping, are least 20" tall, and there are a dozen of them. Somehow I kind of managed to struggle up them each lap instead of taking the bailout path.
The format of cyclocross racing makes it perfect for athletes of many levels. Faster, more experienced racers are given the extra obstacle of slower, less experienced racers as they try to pick their way through gravel and sand and mud. Racers only need ride for forty-five minutes. For many, that means completing five laps. For Team NO, that translates to three laps.
Cyclocross is all about friends and strangers shouting at you, heckling you, cheering you and even pouring beer down your gullet. Here are my favorite heckles of the season (all directed at Team NO):
"Is that bike a dog? 'Cuz you're walkin' it like one!"
"Hey honey, will get me some milk while you're out?"
"Do you have that milk in your basket" (same guy, later race!)
"You need to put some TRY HARDER in your basket!"
"If you hurry, you can still make the cat show!"
"It's weird, 'cuz she's so fast on the road" (a comment I overheard!)