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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

How does the Masters category work? Is age the only prerequisite? I always hear how fast it is and that it's mostly made up by ex top-notch racers but how do you get into the class?
I was looking at the USCF rulebook and USCF Categorization Guidelines Upgrades but couldn't find info on it. I have only 2 Cat 5 races but I like the distances of the Masters categories much more.

Thanks.
Lou.
 

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upstateSC-rider said:
Guys,

How does the Masters category work? Is age the only prerequisite? I always hear how fast it is and that it's mostly made up by ex top-notch racers but how do you get into the class?
I was looking at the USCF rulebook and USCF Categorization Guidelines Upgrades but couldn't find info on it. I have only 2 Cat 5 races but I like the distances of the Masters categories much more.

Thanks.
Lou.
Where I'm at I think you've got to be at least a 4 to compete in open Masters races. Sometimes there will be specific races for Masters 4's and 5's.
 

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I did my first masters race in upstate SC in 1995. The breakdown varies a little by expected field sizes. When I would race in Gville, it was 35+ cat 3/4. All the cat 5s raced together except for special events that would place the master age cat 5s separately. The NC/SC state championships usually have the USCF age categories for cat 2 and below. I knew of several cat 2 racers that downgraded to 3 when they turned 35 so that they could race masters. Masters national championships are cat 1-3 for the road and crit and all catagories for the TT. My advice would be to do some cat 5 to gain experience and then ask the rep to upgrade you to race with masters. The district rep can upgrade you to a cat 4 on the spot. Just some stickers on your license and good to go. Is the rep still Joe Sullivan? It has been a long time. I used to race Donaldson with Rich Hincapie, Glen Thrift, Arthur Reeves, and others. Good times. Medalled at states in 95 for the 30-34 road race.
 

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Typically you don't have to do anything but meet the age requirement. However, I think there is a general movement to exclude cat. 5s from Masters races. I don't think this is a nationwide USCF rule but something local organization are implementing but I could be mistaken.
 

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In the SE...

Dwayne Barry said:
Typically you don't have to do anything but meet the age requirement. However, I think there is a general movement to exclude cat. 5s from Masters races. I don't think this is a nationwide USCF rule but something local organization are implementing but I could be mistaken.
In the SE for the most part, there are mostly open master's races. That means you can have anyone from old pros who have been racing for years to someone like yourself (original op) who has just been racing a very short time. Your better bet is to race the cat. 5 race, as it will be a lot of guys like yourself, whereas the master's races are going to be a lot faster, and normally much longer. For example, a lot of the guys on my team are master's racers, and the majority of them are cat. 2s and 1s.
 

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Typically you don't have to do anything but meet the age requirement. However, I think there is a general movement to exclude cat. 5s from Masters races. I don't think this is a nationwide USCF rule but something local organization are implementing but I could be mistaken.
You're right - more and more local organizations are excluding Cat. 5s from Masters races. Twenty years ago, racing Masters usually meant racing safely with very experienced riders. When older athletes started to come into cycling from other sports, strong riders with very little bike handling skills started lining up for Masters races - and the comfortable feeling of racing with experienced riders only was gone. The Cat.5 exclusions are an attempt to bring that back.
 

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if you're not fast enough, then those longer distances are irrelevant :)

upstateSC-rider said:
I have only 2 Cat 5 races but I like the distances of the Masters categories much more.
 

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upstateSC-rider said:
Guys,

How does the Masters category work? Is age the only prerequisite? I always hear how fast it is and that it's mostly made up by ex top-notch racers but how do you get into the class?
I was looking at the USCF rulebook and USCF Categorization Guidelines Upgrades but couldn't find info on it. I have only 2 Cat 5 races but I like the distances of the Masters categories much more.

Thanks.
Lou.
here in the midwest, I believe it is solely age based. I' ll be 44 next month, and almost all the races our team does is 30+, and after 14 years of masters racing I can attest to the fact that it is hard, but certainly safer. Maybe after this season I'll get smart and do 45+.

I've always thought that the USCF missed the boat by not promoting some type of masters " club racer" category for mid-age enthusiests. you know, people who ride a few times a week, love bikes, lots of disposable income, but with life responsibilities that don't allow a full-on racers schedule. put on professionally done races for racers that are not hard core racers. look how popular gran fondos are in europe, and marathon/10K running events are here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
bigbill said:
My advice would be to do some cat 5 to gain experience and then ask the rep to upgrade you to race with masters. The district rep can upgrade you to a cat 4 on the spot. Just some stickers on your license and good to go. Is the rep still Joe Sullivan? It has been a long time. I used to race Donaldson with Rich Hincapie, Glen Thrift, Arthur Reeves, and others. Good times. Medalled at states in 95 for the 30-34 road race.
Not sure about the rep but the name sure sounds familiar. Rich is still very fast, and a good promoter too, but haven't heard of the others. Donaldson is still kicking around and much fun. :)

Dwayne Barry said:
Typically you don't have to do anything but meet the age requirement. However, I think there is a general movement to exclude cat. 5s from Masters races. I don't think this is a nationwide USCF rule but something local organization are implementing but I could be mistaken.
Makes sense. The one thing I've always heard about Masters is that, along with being faster, is also a more skilled/safer class.

botto said:
if you're not fast enough, then those longer distances are irrelevant :)
I've re-read my original post and can't find where I said I wasn't fast enough. j/k :p

Gaining more experience is probably the best bet, though.
Thanks for all the advice.

Lou.
 

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In Virginia no Cat 5's in Masters mass start events. However, more events have holding Cat 5, 35+ category open now.
 

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Same in Illinois, for the USCF, No matter what your age.
A guy I know, who usually races under the ABR, in the 60+ Masters age group, found out the hard way.
 

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Another approach

wim said:
You're right - more and more local organizations are excluding Cat. 5s from Masters races. Twenty years ago, racing Masters usually meant racing safely with very experienced riders. When older athletes started to come into cycling from other sports, strong riders with very little bike handling skills started lining up for Masters races - and the comfortable feeling of racing with experienced riders only was gone. The Cat.5 exclusions are an attempt to bring that back.
I don't know if it's the USCF, Michigan, or just the local promoter, but I've seen where they will let you buy just a day license to race in the Cat 5 race, but you have to have a full license to race Masters. That way you do filter out a number of people. Sort of half way between totally open races and excluding Cat 5s from Masters.
 

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The usual suspects

Joe is still the rep. Glenn, Rich and Arthur are still around along with all the other old timers and it seems like they keep getting faster. Arthur just moved back about a year ago from Charlotte.
 
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