Not too much to write about Day 1 as my race was about 5 minutes long before I took a quick dive off a small 'cliff'.
The start went about as well as I could have hoped for with a mad dash down the paved hill and into a lightly sanded sharp left hander. The sound of fear - howling mad cross brake squeal, chattering front forks, and skidding knobbies - let me know the pack was in danger. I had a moment or two before I saw the bright red Sachs frame and Spinelli sliding across the ground. Maybe another rider as well? Lucky, I had a clean line through the mess before the exploded hay bale settled on the pack. Ran the sandpit and the race settled down nicely, I could see an unbroken line of riders all single file along the course.
My race ended very quickly after that. To illustrate what happened I suggest looking at the Crossresults.com cat 3 video - just happens to be the first POV footage I've seen of Gloucester. At about 4:59 into the video the riders pass really close to a yellow pole sticking out of the ground. If you look really really close you will notice that the concrete base is exposed. I was drafting the wheel in front of me pretty hard and although I knew the post was there, I didn't see it coming. The rider in front may have missed the concrete by an inch but I definitely hit it. Judging by the hole in my tire I think it went flat pretty much immediately but we were going so fast and the gravel was so bumpy at that point that I didn't know I had a flat. 11 seconds later in the video the course tape ends and the course turns left. It is a more severe turn than it looks. It seemed that my bike had lost its mind a second before I lost control and slipped off the side of the hill.
I sorted the chain out and then realized the rear tire was flat. With the entire race well past me and a very long run in front of me, I stepped over the tape and pulled the plug on day 1.