At the last minute, I opted for the Waterford instead of the Karate Monkey. I didn't know how the gearing would work out (42/16) but figured it would be OK and the singlespeed option gave me my first 'cross win. Including me, there were 5 beginner women and we raced with the cat 4 men. I should have gone ahead and done the open women's race too, but didn't, opting instead to watch and learn.
The course had a lot of loose gravel, two series of barriers, one like in the pic below and the other out of natural logs, and a sand pit. Running through the sand was the worst part. Other than that, it was a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to doing more of this 'cross stuff.