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  1. #1
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    Upgrade from 5 to 4 or stay where I belong?

    I'm 40 years old, second year of riding road bikes, I have enought mass starts for an upgrade, rode 10 races this year and a handful last year. Best finishes have been 10th and 12th this year. Is there glory in the upgrade and moving up the ranks or should I stay in the cat 5 ranks where I belong til next season?

  2. #2
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    For me, the biggest deal is that you get longer races - sometimes 3X as long - in the 4's.

    Longer race = better finish position for ElJamoquio.
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  3. #3
    RustyTainte substructure's Avatar
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    I haven't massed as many starts and was thinking of upping early next season. Just add a few more races under the belt.

    But, if you feel comfortable then by all means: up!!

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    Same age. I moved up in general to gain experience riding with "better" riders to be able to hang in the masters events. Meaning, even if I'm average strength wise, I wanted to have a little experience so I wouldn't get in the way or be dangerous to those around me. Us older guys are more fragile and take longer to recover, period. Maybe you could do the same staying a 5, but IMHO, you'll learn more riding with more experienced riders.

  5. #5
    Two wheels is two wheels pelikan's Avatar
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    I upgraded solely to decrease the chance of being in a race with sketchy people. I'd like to win a race at some point, but getting home in one peace is way more important to me. Of course, percentage wise I wonder how much safer cat4 is. 50 riders in a cat5 race and X% are sketchy VS 100 riders in a cat4 race and Y% are sketchy (and there are quite a few). Hmmmmm, seeing as it only takes one. Anyhow, to further complicate it in the end, a lot of races are combined 4/5.



    Now hat I think about, I should of downgraded to cat6 based on fitness levels.

  6. #6
    I miss my bike. GatorFL's Avatar
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    I don't think that cat 4 is any less sketchy....just faster. That said, just do it. Either you suck in cat 4 now or you suck in cat 4 later. But if you do it now, you'll get better at them sooner.
    ex-poor-fessional tri-geek.

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    I did because you can do more races as a 4. You get to do the 4/5 races and the 3/4 races (just for kicks). There are also a couple races that dont even have a 5 race (like the Berkeley Hill RR).

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    Everybody wants to move up cause of the "crash 5's". Since everybody moves up and the races are faster its now "crash 4's" as well.

  9. #9
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    Upgrade. You'll become a better rider and racer by competing at a higher level.

    Cat 5 results can be random and dont necessarily translate to success at upper levels. I think my best finish as a cat 5 was 10th. As a cat 4, if I would have done more races or hadnt upgraded to Cat 3 when I did, I would have won the BAR.

  10. #10
    Transplant Robobo1's Avatar
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    Some of the guys in my team say to win a few in the 5s before moving up, so you know what it feels like and know how to win... I'm not in a position to move up yet (couldn't race much this year), but next season I'm committed to training hard and am going to give that plan a shot. Do my 10 races, try to win a couple, and then move up.

  11. #11
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Absolutely move up. The category was designed for "beginners". It took the place of citizen races starting in 1992 (used to start at cat4). You are no longer a beginner, especially after 10 races. Best of times ahead for you.

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    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    Upgrade. You'll become a better rider and racer by competing at a higher level.
    +1
    And just be aware there are as many crashes in the 4's. Out of the 20+ races I've done this year I think only 1, maybe 2 did not have a crash.

    But the races are longer and more fun.

  13. #13
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Unless you're placing in the races, the only reason to upgrade (imo) is to get away from all the squirrelly noobs.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Move up. If you want to experience bike racing, get into the 3s as quickly as possible so you can start to see consistent team behavior, and the races play out much differently. Alternatively, depending on age, you can just upgrade to 4 and start masters racing -- which is even more team-heavy.

  15. #15
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    Unless you're placing in the races, the only reason to upgrade (imo) is to get away from all the squirrelly noobs.
    Yeah, but most of them end up in 4s. Still can't ride their bikes worth a dam, but now they are going faster and think they can.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  16. #16
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    another consideration. Master's races often do not allow Cat 5. If you want more racing options (ie get shelled in the masters races) then upgrade.

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    There seems to be a fair amount of sand bagging that goes in the cat 5 races, for some unknown reason, so I figured it made sense to stay there for another season. I think I'm making the move however, sounds like a good way to improve quickly, even though I'll get shelled for awhile! Thanks for the encouragement.

  18. #18
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    I would say upgrade. You get fitter by chasing and pushing at or above your level. If you always hang with the slow group you will never improve. After 9 more mass starts I will upgrade to Cat 4. I want to have clear goals. I have 1 race and 1 2nd (though doesn't really count, Greenbelt 'C' race) but still that in and of itself was a learning experience.

    But anyway, upgrade. How else can you get better without pushing?

  19. #19
    cmh
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    You have raced more than 10 mass start races. The 4s is where you belong.

  20. #20
    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    Definitely upgrade. Speeds won't be too different, but the fields will be bigger and more competitive.

    And isn't the point to be challenged? No point in staying around in the 5's to get some wins. Big fish, small pond kind of thing.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwarf View Post
    There seems to be a fair amount of sand bagging that goes in the cat 5 races, for some unknown reason, so I figured it made sense to stay there for another season. I think I'm making the move however, sounds like a good way to improve quickly, even though I'll get shelled for awhile! Thanks for the encouragement.
    Way more sandbagging in CAT 4s.

    Proof?

    http://www.usacycling.org/rankings/i...=RR&cat=04&age=

    *take the top half of the list, look at the races they have won, add up points they got going for "forced upgrade" and notice they are still 4's (most of them are)
    Last edited by wfrogge; 08-27-07 at 10:13 AM.

  22. #22
    I'm that guy that I am.
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    The fact that cat 4s do 55 minute 40k TTs still makes me boggle. The whole category system is flawed, so just push on to higher cats so you can improve as you are challenged by progressively more advanced peers.
    It's not how many miles you ride, but how hard you ride them. Time trials aren't races.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rizz View Post
    The fact that cat 4s do 55 minute 40k TTs still makes me boggle. The whole category system is flawed, so just push on to higher cats so you can improve as you are challenged by progressively more advanced peers.
    Just because a Cat4 can do a 55min 40k doesn't mean he can race his bike competently. I know plenty of guys who are miserable TTers but just know how to RACE. Maybe it's the solo mindset of a TT, and they just don't have it, but these guys will work in a break, bridge solo for 15 minutes, or take off with 2 laps to go in a crit in a perfectly timed move. Racing is more than your FTP.

    I also know plenty of guys who can ride a sub-55 who suck at racing bikes. Some of them happen to be triathletes who dabble in the 4s and 5s, but just can't handle the accelerations of a crit.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    Unless you're placing in the races, the only reason to upgrade (imo) is to get away from all the squirrelly noobs.
    Staying in Cat 5 until you place isn't really good logic. Cat 5 races are short, and therefore suited to a certain type of rider. If you like to end your races in a group sprint, then by all means stay a 5. If you like a race that has attempted breakaways, is longer, and may actually benefit racers with better overall fitness, then upgrade. Not that cat 4 races don't often end in group sprints, they just have a few breaks that are loosely organized (And most of those fail).

  25. #25
    Senior Member blaronn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
    Way more sandbagging in CAT 4s.

    Proof?

    http://www.usacycling.org/rankings/i...=RR&cat=04&age=

    *take the top half of the list, look at the races they have won, add up points they got going for "forced upgrade" and notice they are still 4's (most of them are)
    Keep in mind that a lot of races don't count for upgrade points because they either aren't long enough (Cat-4 races must be at least 20 miles for crits and 25 for RR's to count) or don't have the 30 racer Cat-4 minimum. If you look at my USAC history you'd think I had over 30 points but in reality I've only got five due to non-qualifying events.

    To the OP, about the only time I'd definitely suggest waiting beyond the ten mass-start requirement is if you aren't currently finishing with the pack. If someone is getting dropped by the 5's, upgrading will just result in getting pulled from a lot of crits, and turning RR's into long solo rides. Sounds like you're ready though, although around here nobody would complain if someone hung around in the 5's beyond the ten unless they were consistent top-5 finishers.

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