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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I race mountin bikes and would like to try cyclocross this year during the off-season. In mtb racing, you can self slect your own class (beginner, sport, expert, etc) but the cyclocross races I've checked out so far are either A, B, C or Cat 1-5. So,

1 - When it comes to A, B, C, is that generally self selecting?
2 - For the CAT 1-5 races, will I ever be able to race in something above CAT 5 without racing 10 CAT 5 races first?
 

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You call that running?
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In Washington I was able to start racing as a B/Cat 3 my first season based on previous MTB race experience. Contact your local race series and/or local race promoter. If you are podiuming in C or 4/5 races they will not make you stay there all season and likely will encourage/force you to move up. Cross is not nearly as uptight about requiring minimum experience to move up compared to road because there is much less potential for twitchy riders to crash out a whole bunch of their compatriots. That said there was a huge roadie style crash right at the start of the B race at the USGP in Portland last year. That sucked!
 

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Oh boy, look out.......

Here in Oregon, cross cats are self selected. I anticipate a change in the next couple of years in reaction to the sport's increasing popularity. You'll see both ends of the spectrum at local races - People racing in too steep a cat for their skills/fitness, and people racing just to finish first for the 20th time.

I'd rather get my ass handed to me than podium repeatedly in a lower cat, which I raced last year. I'm hoping to try a B race this year, but am also concerned about getting in the way. Am I strong enough? Maybe, maybe not. If I place in the top three in more than one race, it's time to move up. Each race is different, and always relative, but like I said, I'd rather suffer the challenge of a higher cat than stroke my own ego.

I would suggest you start in a lower cat to get a feel for the game. Advance to challenge both yourself and other racers. If you have any offroad racing experience, begginer is not the cat for you.

Cross is fun, first and foremost. Race to the best of your ability.

My 2 cents....-B
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. I'm a mid-pack sport level mtb racer and have no problem racing my first cyclocross in the lowest level group to learn the ropes. But like you BrianN, I'd rather challenge myself with stiffer competition.
 

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fueledbymetal said:
I race mountin bikes and would like to try cyclocross this year during the off-season. In mtb racing, you can self slect your own class (beginner, sport, expert, etc) but the cyclocross races I've checked out so far are either A, B, C or Cat 1-5. So,

1 - When it comes to A, B, C, is that generally self selecting?
2 - For the CAT 1-5 races, will I ever be able to race in something above CAT 5 without racing 10 CAT 5 races first?
1. Most often when you see the A,B,C catagories it is self set, but they might list their own upgrade requirments from the promoter... Typically, if there were mens A,B,C you'll see P-1/2 in the A group, 3s in the B's, 4/5 in the C's. Some 3's might do the A race and some 4s might do the B race.

or if there are only 3 races... you might see the A racing being mens' 1,2,3. B race will have Mens' 4,5 and women's 1,2,3 and the C race having Juniors and women's 4/5

see, it can get pretty complicated...

2. Yes, you can upgrade to Cat 4 without doing 10 Cat 5 races. If you put in some solid results the regional rep (i'm guessing USA Cycling) can use some discression to bump you up. They don't like sandbaggers either and can be leaniant on upgrades. But get a couple races under your belt. Having MTB or Road racing experience helps. When i started they made me start in the 3s based on my road catagorization. They no longer do this automaticaly. I got whooped up on for quite a bit...
 

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Captain Obvious
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i don't think there is a cat 5. lowest is cat 4 in 'cross. USA Cycling made it easier to upgrade to cat 3 for this season too. start lower and upgrade as necessary.
 

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Yes!

BrianN said:
I'd rather get my ass handed to me than podium repeatedly in a lower cat, which I raced last year. I'm hoping to try a B race this year, but am also concerned about getting in the way. Am I strong enough? Maybe, maybe not. If I place in the top three in more than one race, it's time to move up. Each race is different, and always relative, but like I said, I'd rather suffer the challenge of a higher cat than stroke my own ego

Thank you Brian and I agree that as our great sport grows our associations will have to push folks into higher levels. Why sit there and sandbag your way through another season just so you can say you won the overall? I am all about fun but please race in the correct category. As a newbie you may not know where that is but for those who have been around, you know where you should be. I think that if you are a new to cross and start immediately winning C races then move up and enjoy the challenge. Otherwise stay in the C class and enjoy the learning process cause it's a whole lot of fun.
 

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tomk96 said:
i don't think there is a cat 5. lowest is cat 4 in 'cross. USA Cycling made it easier to upgrade to cat 3 for this season too. start lower and upgrade as necessary.
sure nuf!
just checked out the upgrade requirements on USA Cycling.
there are some dramatic changes to the upgrade points.
makes sence for them to change it as there aren't nearly as many CX races in a season as there are road so chances to get points is less...
 

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More Cowbell!
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First, check to see how your local governing handles new racers and follow their rules.

That said, I started my first season (six years ago) as a B. I had good fitness, had done a handful of road races, and had spent a good amount of time practicing cross skills. I was a middle of the pack racer for the season.

I didn't line up in the front row and I never really got in anyone's way. I was as solid as anyone around me. I dropped back to Cs the next year -- but probably should have stayed in the Bs. I never scored a podium in the Cs but was consistent top ten. Since then it's been about moving up.
 

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fueledbymetal said:
Thanks for the info. I'm a mid-pack sport level mtb racer and have no problem racing my first cyclocross in the lowest level group to learn the ropes. But like you BrianN, I'd rather challenge myself with stiffer competition.
The series here was based off of your racing license. For MTB, if you had a Sport level racing license, you were supposed to race at least the "B" Level (cat 3/4). I guess the idea is, if you have enough experience/fitness to race Sport, you shouldn't be racing with the less experienced racers regardless of you CX experience.
 
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