After a 20+ year break from road racing, I'm thinking about trying a CX race this year. I'm not going out to win, just to have a good time and establish a baseline of my fitness level. If all works out well, then I'll take it from there....we'll see.
I'm want to use my alloy Monocog which is fitted with 700c wheels (yes, they fit nicely!), discs and drop bars.
I currently have a 36x16 ratio on there now, but I think that might be too much gear for a beginner???
Depends on what terrain you're riding, but it sounds probably like it's on the high side of the sweet spot. If your races are on dryish non-super-hilly terrain, it'll probably be ok. I might throw a 17 on there, if you have it, on the basis that for your first race it's better to be a little spun out than being unable to climb anything. Still, if you don't have one, I'd say give it a try with the 16!
If you're racing somewhere super muddy or really hilly, you'll likely be better off with a 17 to start.
Still, if it's all you got, run it! It's not outside the realm of what people generally run.
I use almost the same ratio with a 41x18. The gear is pretty big, but it seems to work well for me. This is my 4th year racing, and I have used it on a variety of courses. Maybe purchase a 17 tooth freewheel to have the ability to swap on race day. Only your fitness will truly answer this question properly. Good Luck this season.