I "raced" for the first time this season (I was the only woman to enter the regional XC series!) and loved it, but would like to be able to be a bit more competitive against the boys (and any women that turn up) next year. I've changed jobs and have a lot more free time this winter, so I'm keen to make a proper stab at improving my fitness and competitiveness.
I've lost a lot of fitness over the last month or two as my new job is a lot more sedentary (and has an excellent canteen) so I think I would benefit from a decent base programme over the winter. Although I get the point that the traditional base programme does have some epically long workouts in it. I'll have a look at the sweetspot base stuff too.