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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about this ever since I started racing and I'm wondering if I'm thinking about it incorrectly. What is the purpose of having Cat 1?

The races I've seen never have a Pro/1 category. I've seen Pro/1/2 and more commonly Pro/1/2/3 categories at races. I initially thought is was just a local/regional issue; there wasn't enough racers in my area. However, I've seen this in places you would believe there to be plenty of racers. So, why move up to Cat 1? You don't do anything differently. You race with the same people. Maybe I'm missing a key issue here, as I came from mountain biking where there are only 3 categories - but also fewer racers. So, can someone fill me in?
 

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Well ... I've also seen CAT 2/3 classes with P/1 as an option to race as well. I've also seen a dedicated CAT 2 class at a large stage race. I however, don't see a lot of road races with 1/2/3 classes (weekly series races, sure, but not open road races).

There are reasons for the upgrades and classifications and the number of people in each category will vary from race to race ... sometimes people just don't show up for one reason or another, even if there are a lot of racers in the area.

The reality is there is a pretty big jump from CAT 3 to CAT 2 ... but not nearly as much from CAT 1 to CAT 2. Same goes with CAT 4 and CAT 5 with not much difference between the two ... but a big jump from CAT 4 to CAT 3.

Technically ... they could just go to a CAT P/1/2/3 overall combining the 1/2 and the 4/5 groups ... but there are times when those separations make sense and should take place.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Don't you have to go cat-1 before Pro?

Len
 

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IIRC, the UCI restricts riders from pro continental teams (i.e. United) from participating in any race other than a P/1 field. I think riders on continental teams (i.e. Jelly Belly) can ride a P 1/2 event, but I may not be remembering the rules correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well ... I've also seen CAT 2/3 classes with P/1 as an option to race as well. I've also seen a dedicated CAT 2 class at a large stage race. I however, don't see a lot of road races with 1/2/3 classes (weekly series races, sure, but not open road races).

There are reasons for the upgrades and classifications and the number of people in each category will vary from race to race ... sometimes people just don't show up for one reason or another, even if there are a lot of racers in the area.

The reality is there is a pretty big jump from CAT 3 to CAT 2 ... but not nearly as much from CAT 1 to CAT 2. Same goes with CAT 4 and CAT 5 with not much difference between the two ... but a big jump from CAT 4 to CAT 3.

Technically ... they could just go to a CAT P/1/2/3 overall combining the 1/2 and the 4/5 groups ... but there are times when those separations make sense and should take place.
It may just be a local/regional thing. It is interesting that many open races here have a P/1/2/3 category, 4 category, and 5 category. It has resulted in many Cat 3 guys quitting. Guys that were really strong Cat 4s move up and then get pounded on by the P/1/2 guys. This can result in two things 1) motivation to train more and get faster 2) demotivation resulting in the guys stepping out of racing. There are numerous Cat 3s that encourage Cat 4s to stay where they are. They say it sucks being beat up by the P/1/2 guys. I've never heard the distinction of Cat 1s versus Cat 2s making a P/1/2/3 race really hard. I have seen one race that was P/1/2/3 (stage race), 3/4 ominium, 4/5 omnium, which allows the Cat 3s to avoid the P/1/2/3 if they want. In fact one team used this to get their Cat 3s points to move to Cat 2.

I've also seen the local/regional Cat 1s and Cat 2s all racing together. From what I've seen, it is a distinction that is only important when they travel to large races that are 1) infrequent and 2) usually far away from here.
 

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Yes, but if there is no reason for Cat 1, then Cat 2 effectively becomes Cat 1, Cat 3 becomes Cat 2, and so on. Then you have your Cat 1 before Pro without having a category with no real purpose.
There are a decent amount of 1/2/3 races, which means lots of guys not upgrading in Cat 4. My job and family basically have me a Cat 4-ever, sometimes the competition is insane.
Cheer up! You are really a Cat 3, not a 4!
 

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Most of the more popular stage races (Gila, Killington etc) have a p1 and a separate cat 2 category. For that reason I downgraded because I didn't have the time to train hard enough to enjoy a p1 race. Also, as a cat 1 you can go to elite nationals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, it sounds like it is a regional thing, with a few smaller races (in areas with a larger number of racers) having the P/1/2/3. So, I completely understand the need for Cat 1 based on the responses, thanks!
 

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In Utah, we are going through our first year with these male category breakdowns:

-P/1/2/3
-3/4
-5
-Masters 1/2/3
-Masters 4/5
-Masters 55+ 1/2/3/4

Positives:
-Promoters have one less group to deal with
-Easier logistics for wheel cars, prizes, medals, etc.
-Larger racing groups for poorly attended races (usually mid summer races)

Negatives:
-That 3/4 group can get pretty damn big. But now these guys can go to a regional level race with a peleton of 70+ feel right at home.

I really miss the option of the Cat 3 group for races with long climbs.
 

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Most of the more popular stage races (Gila, Killington etc) have a p1 and a separate cat 2 category. For that reason I downgraded because I didn't have the time to train hard enough to enjoy a p1 race. Also, as a cat 1 you can go to elite nationals.
Yep, UCI and NRC and ncc races have pro/1 fields. A cat 1 is basically a pro on a non-conti team.
 

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my recollection is that cat 1 is a bit of a relic from back in the day when professionals weren't allowed in some events, such as the Olympics. Cat 1 was typically a designation for national team level cyclists.
 

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festina lente
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A lot of the NRC races are Pro/1.

Cat one is important. It's the pinnacle of the amateur ranks. There's also the elite national championsips which are only open to Cat 1s. If you want a shot at a national title, you'll have to be a pro, Cat 1, junior, or masters.
 
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