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  1. #1
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    Hmmm, which category to race

    4/5 or 3/4 or 4

    Upgraded to 4 this season even though I had an injury plagued first season as a 5 last year. I currently ride with some really strong 3's and 4's. Lately, I've been finding myself at the front of the group and a lot of times setting a pace that drops all of the 4's I ride with.

    Honestly, I don't really care about winning a lot of races I just want to get stronger, become more aware of tactics, and become a better rider in the pack.
    In TX we have a crap load of early road races this time of year and I'm trying to figure out which category I should race in.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    if you want to get stronger, logic might say do the 3/4...

    or race the 4's and presumably get to the 3's...

  3. #3
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    whichever category they have at the race you're going to, or more than one if you're able.

  4. #4
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gios78 View Post
    4/5 or 3/4 or 4
    all of the above.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Do they do things differently in TX? Every race I’ve been to either has a 4/5 field, a 3/4 field leaving the cat 5s to their own field, or a different pack for each category. Are there races where you have a choice? If so, I go for the Cat 4 only. This way you don't have to share the road with the first-time racers, but you don't have your ass handed to you cat 3 guys.

  6. #6
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    Cat3 if you are enlightened and want to learn.

    Cat4 if you want to win more than learn.

    Cat4/5 if you want to "serve up the pain".

  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Depends on the race.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  8. #8
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Anything but the 4/5's.

    And as others have said, more than one race in a day if you can handle it.
    cat 1.

    blog

  9. #9
    old & slow Snap's Avatar
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    I'd go where I had teammates.

    But bouncing around between different cats makes it hard to know who the players are.
    Last edited by Snap; 01-19-11 at 09:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    At your stage and this point in season, try a 3/4 and see what you think.

  11. #11
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Do the 3/4 and the 4. No reason you can't do two races the same day.
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  12. #12
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    3-4s, 4s, 4-5s in that order. Skip the last race if that's your second. In other words just do one race, skip the 4-5s unless the 4-5s happen AFTER the 4s. You want to do the harder race first, then the easier one.

    Target race first, then the training race.

    3-4s because the best riders (meaning combination strength and tactics) will be at the front. If you're there, you're there. If you're not... you're not part of that "best" group. Around here, although it's not as true for the past few years, the top 3s were national level (sandbagging) masters riders. I'd line up in a Cat 3 race with 2 or 3 current national crit champions sometimes. No I wasn't up there in those races.

    If you can place in a 3-4 race then you're well on your way to being a 3. Tighter riding, much more aggressive in the last laps before a field sprint, and some good sprinters that keep you honest. Around here a fast 3-4 crit will be close to but not quite 27 mph avg.

    The 4s next because that's what you are. If you're good you'll be destroying them, but 4s race much more conservative overall. Around here it's 1-2 mph slower - 24 mph is about where they get comfy for a crit. 26 is fast. If you're doing a 4 race and a 3-4 race, do the 4s to win.

    4-5s last because you'll be riding with a mix of different riders. Some new, some strong but clueless riders, and some like you. Smaller field (limited to 75 according to USAC).

    A rough basis on how you did if the race ends in a field sprint (it's my own acid test):
    - close to the front - within a couple places of winning, maybe 10 feet from the winner - if I coast past the winner in the next 50 meters I could have won. I should have gone earlier, I could have done better.
    - close to the front or even a win - but riders pass me in the 50 meters after the line. Best sprint I could do. Can't get much better than that. I accept that as a "great sprint" on my part.
    - not anywhere near the front (more than 5 places, 20 feet). I didn't belong in that sprint. If I'm not 6th or better I (and you and whoever) might as well just sat up in the sprint. This is bike racing, it ain't a running race. 10th place is 4 places away from being anything better than a spore on a piece of mold (or something like that). Often if I place 10th I'm flying by people and trying to get into that nice top 6 area. But a lot of times I launch too late or from too far back.
    Note these are field sprints. For a 5 mile climb to the finish in a road race disregard

    The only time I'll sprint for top 20 is if there are 20 MONEY paying spots (Tour of Somerville, any race I did in Tour of Michigan, or any race in Belgium I did in lol) or there's a crash and I am hoping that I might break top 10 (Harlem). In my case I sat up in Somerville once I saw about 20 guys pass me (got 37th). In Harlem I did a little solo sprint to the line for 14th after a huge stack up at 200m to go - I missed seeing a lot of riders I guess.

    cdr

  13. #13
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    Not trying to steal the thread but I must ask...CDR...what is the "Tour of Michigan"? I'm hoping this is a real race and still running, its hard to find stage races around here.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jancouver's Avatar
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    @cdr Since I will be racing Cat 4 and some 35+ races this year I did look in to that and I have to say that in most cases, the good/harder races start after the lower categories...at least here in CA.

    So for example, the Red Trolley I will do (at least signed up for) 4/5 then 4 then 35+

    See ya there

  15. #15
    fair weather cyclist pjcampbell's Avatar
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    3/4

  16. #16
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    4 and 4/5 as a new 4 the 3/4 will likely be over ur head

  17. #17
    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    If you're that strong, do the 4's, get upgrade points and upgrade to a 3.

  18. #18
    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jancouver View Post
    @cdr Since I will be racing Cat 4 and some 35+ races this year I did look in to that and I have to say that in most cases, the good/harder races start after the lower categories...at least here in CA.

    So for example, the Red Trolley I will do (at least signed up for) 4/5 then 4 then 35+

    See ya there
    If the 35+ guys out there are anywhere near as strong as the ones here, be prepared to get completely shelled in the 35+ especially if it's your 3rd race of the day. In these parts, a lot of the "mature" 1's and 2's use the 35+ as a warmup and those races are super fast. Good luck.

  19. #19
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCroadie View Post
    If the 35+ guys out there are anywhere near as strong as the ones here, be prepared to get completely shelled in the 35+ especially if it's your 3rd race of the day. In these parts, a lot of the "mature" 1's and 2's use the 35+ as a warmup and those races are super fast. Good luck.
    35+ open guys in SoCal are notoriously slow.

  20. #20
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    Tour of Michigan is gone. 1991-1992 were the last years of 8 crits (25 mi for Cat 3s) in 10 days. Awesome. In 1993 they started throwing mtb races in there and we stopped going. Faded away shortly after that.

    35+ is basically 1-2s. Someone, maybe UMD, had a clip of the M35s at Trolley last year. They looked like they were on motorcycles compared to the 3s.

    Let's put it this way - I skipped doing Masters for 10 years because they're usually harder than the 3s.

    I'm dreading the Red Trolley based on my lack of training overall (3 hours in the last two weeks, no volume whatsoever prior to that), lack of bike at this moment (it's on its way), and the fact I leave next Wed AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    35+ open guys in SoCal are notoriously slow.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    For criteriums, I try to do 2 races. One in which I will be competitive, and one that will be more of a challenge.
    If it's a RR, then it might be a tougher choice, based on the categories available, type of course, your strengths etc...
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  23. #23
    Bulldozer GirlAnachronism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    And as others have said, more than one race in a day if you can handle it.
    I dunno, I'd be careful with this one. I've heard that racing more than once a week leads to certain death.
    You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone.

  24. #24
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    +3.1425927

  25. #25
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    35+ open guys in SoCal are notoriously slow.
    Blue hair and white knuckles

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