Well, the cross season started, dirt cross that is, and the new promoter did a stellar job in setting up a challenging par-course for the venue he has and a good production. Not many are interested in showing in this blazing heat and "so early" in our very short cross season, ...it was good fun anyhow.
Usually the quality of racing and racer improves as the season goes along, and with nationals (only) 14 weeks away, it is a short season for most. That makes peaking a fine art in cross, and it seems, those that win, do it well.
Local races vary in popularity and competition.. the quality of racing is generally very good. The USGP races offer some real tough competition, traveling restricts many of the players, although this is true in any sport, at any level. Nationals draws the best US competitors, as in all events, it is broken out every 5 years, worlds are the same. Heck, if you go mtb racing, they automatically put you in age categories, unless you race pro or semi-pro. On the road, a lot of fellow never upgrade when they can or ride age groupings as soon as they are able. Few of us have had the opportunity to make a living as an athlete, let alone the capability. As one matures, make the choices to enjoy yourself as well as challenge yourself. Like Pietro said, "I hope they enjoyed the ride, I did"