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I just started cycling a few months ago and was going to enter my first race this weekend. I used to speedskate so I still have some of my endurance/training from that.
Obviously I am going to enter Cat 5.
Cat 5 has medals and Cat 4 has cash 8 deep.

Would I be allowed to race both races?
Do you have to enter/win a certain number of races for progress up the the Cats?

Thanks,

Craig
 

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csh8428 said:
I just started cycling a few months ago and was going to enter my first race this weekend. I used to speedskate so I still have some of my endurance/training from that.
Obviously I am going to enter Cat 5.
Cat 5 has medals and Cat 4 has cash 8 deep.

Would I be allowed to race both races?
Do you have to enter/win a certain number of races for progress up the the Cats?

Thanks,

Craig
Assuming you are racing with USCF (USAC now?) in a normal race, you start at Cat5 and cannot race other Cats. After 10 mass starts, you can upgrade to Cat4. For the rest of the upgrades it's a point system based on how you finish.

There are also Masters (over 30) and Juniors (under 19??) where all the Cats race together. Also, many organizers have mixed races - i.e. Cat4/5 where you would be racing against Cat4s as well as the other 5s. These are just the common/standard events. Some sanctioning bodies and organizers get real creative.

TF
 

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10 races is the standard to move up from 5 to 4, but if you do well in a few Cat 5 races, and possibly cite concerns about safety, you can ask for an upgrade to 4. Some upgrade coordinators are more stringent than others; at the least, the worst they can say is no.
 

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around here there are many 4/5 races, so that the racing schedule for a 5 can look very much like the schedule for a 4.
people will tell you that 5 races are sketchier than 4 or 3/4 races. They're not. Because the field size is smaller, along with the egos that are smaller, IMHO they're safer. don't be in such a hurry to upgrade.

a couple of years ago, I was doing the B fields for this series of practice races, and I was telling a guy that I wanted to do the A races (I had done a few of the A's without getting dropped and was feeling my oats). He looked at me and said, have you ever won a race? when I told him no, I hadn't, he said to keep doing the B races. Get to know what it's like to be at the front of a race, to control a race, he said.
he was right. While I never won the B race, I did get the experience he was touting. Controlling a race is much different from hanging on to the back.
Speed is not the same as experience. It is largely experience that defines 5's, 4's, and 3's.
 

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I think there are restrictions about prizes for Cat 5 races, which is why the C5 fields get medals and the C4 and up get cash. And what everyone else said--don't be in a huge hurry to upgrade and concentrate on enjoying the race scene and getting better in the pack.
 

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At one point, cash pay-outs were not allowed for cat. 5. They did change that a few years ago to allow it (maybe they changed it back; I haven't checked). Rule or no rule, most promoters do not have cash pay-outs for cat. 5 and many even 4/5. Big reason for not allowing pay-outs in beginner cats is that pay-outs would serve as an incentive for guys who are ready to move up to sandbag.
 

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If you race Cat 5, you have to pin your number on upside down, and race a $4000 bike. By the time you become a Cat 4, you get smarter.
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
If you race Cat 5, you have to pin your number on upside down, and race a $4000 bike. By the time you become a Cat 4, you get smarter.
HA... you guys sound just like me when I used to talk to a beginner skater!(I've been speedskating for 14 years) The same basic concepts apply to speedskating about experience/moving up. I can run laps around the less experienced skaters who are fast simply because I know what I'm doing more than they do. The beginner's are also much more dangerous than the more experienced people; which, from what I've been reading applies here as well. What sucks is that I know what it's like to start at the bottom in a sport and work your way up. It's hell getting the experience.. and the respect of the higher ups.


Craig
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
If you race Cat 5, you have to pin your number on upside down, and race a $4000 bike. By the time you become a Cat 4, you get smarter.
Hardly. Cat 4 Mens fields are the most dangerous stupid races in any event. Biggest fields, lowest skills for that many riders, they chase everything so its sprint/stall/crash over and over again. Cat 5's are much safer- smaller fields, cautious riders and big gaps in fitness and ability mean the racing breaks up pretty fast.
 

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Coolhand said:
Hardly. Cat 4 Mens fields are the most dangerous stupid races in any event. Biggest fields, lowest skills for that many riders, they chase everything so its sprint/stall/crash over and over again. Cat 5's are much safer- smaller fields, cautious riders and big gaps in fitness and ability mean the racing breaks up pretty fast.
I agree with this, with the proviso that 3/4 races compete for stupidest. You have Cat 4's who are riding at their limits and 3's who either or both are (a) not as skilled as they think they are and (b) not cognizant of the riders in their midsts at the limit of their ability. Cat 5 fields are relatively safe (with the wounds more likely to be self-inflicted).
in a race around here last week, a Cat 4 crashed himself out, riding all by his lonesome, on a long flat straight reaching for his water bottle.
 

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TurboTurtle said:
There are also Masters (over 30) and Juniors (under 19??) where all the Cats race together.
I believe Masters are 40 & over. Bikers in their 30's are just hitting their prime. If it were up to me, Masters would be 50 & over - then I might stand a fraction of a chance.
 

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burtronix said:
I believe Masters are 40 & over. Bikers in their 30's are just hitting their prime. If it were up to me, Masters would be 50 & over - then I might stand a fraction of a chance.
Read the rules.

If it were up to me, Masters would be my age and older as well as limited to my Cat and lower. - TF
 

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age and cycling is a funny thing, innit?
many promoters start Masters fields at some age bracket above 30 (35 or 40, typically), because there is less perceived market for a Masters class between 30-35, which is a high water mark for cycling ability. Those 30-35 guys typically are doing the Senior races.
There are plenty of guys who can tear it up into their fifties. the ranks definitely thin, but I know of 40+ guys who have crushed 1/2/3 Senior fields and 50+ guys who have won -- or placed well in -- some very hard races.
 

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That has been my experience. The cat 4/5 races that I did were NUTZ. The straight cat 5's were pretty even, smaller groups, and generally fewer egos.
 

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These observations beg the question...if you are a 50+ rider and have never raced, where do you start? I don't want to ride with the young 4's and 5's because they are unsafe, but I am afraid I don't have the experience to hang with the 50+ masters who have been racing for 30 years. I may just do time trials...seems like the safest way to go.
 

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most Masters races (around here) exclude Cat 5's, although some promoters recently have been fielding Masters 4/5 fields, which is an interesting idea.
you should start with the 5 fields and get your feet wet. 5 fields are not as screwy as some people make them out to be.
then, after you get your ten races in, give a 50+ field a shot. what happens in the 50+ fields often enough is that a break goes. While the race is up the road, with the 1's, 2's, and odd 3's, the pack settles down to where a competent Cat 4 can manage it.
 

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I completely agree with Bill. I started racing last year at age 46, got in my 10 cat 5 races, and as was said above, the fields were pretty reasonably sized and spread out. This year upgraded to 4 and have done both open 4 and masters races.

The open 4 races are insane for the reasons noted. I generally avoid them like the plague and trade suffering for safety by riding in masters races.

In our area there are generally masters 35+ and 45+ races which spread the talent out a bit and as Bill said, once the big guns break away, a good 4 can usually place respectably in the field sprint.

Some of the bigger races feature 4 masters races: 35+ pro/1/2/3, 35+ 4/5, 45+ pro/1/2/3, and 45+ 4/5. These are a lot of fun because they really even up the playing field and in fact I was fortunate enough to notch my first win in one such event.

Welcome to racing!
 

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Racing Cats is really quite easy to get into....you want to find a solid calico or striped cat in relatively good shape with a low amount of fur. I find the friskier they are the more they like to race. Avoid solid color cats as they tend to be a bit lazy....

Start the cats off on a base building block and begin to work in intervals. Start the taper and it's time to race!
 

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Yea. I started last yr @ 48 and the 5's weren't bad. I need to get a few more under my belt and hopefully, then, I can upgrade.
 
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