Iím debating on whether I should cat up to 4. I know the only requirement is 10 mass starts. Thatís done. But I told myself that I would upgrade when I thought Iíd learned all I needed to as a 5.
I now have a grand total of 16 races in (11 this year). Truthfully I donít think Iím a naturally gifted bike racer. But I donít care. I have made some nice, hard fought, improvement this year in being able to hang with the pack on 20-30 minute crits by the end of the season. Most of those races I was just hanging on and then finally cracked a top 10 in the last race of the year. I didnít do any road races this year, though last year I was destroyed in the one that I did. So I guess what this information is leading to is that Iím in no danger of coming in and dominating the cat 5 races next year. Though maybe I can be competitive earlier in the season.
Pros to upgrading
This would present a new challenge in the off season. Maybe a little extra motivation?
I think I could at least hang with the 4ís in the crits next summer though it may be a struggle.
I will probably get to race with many of the guys I raced with this year.
I will be racing against some faster riders which would really challenge my limits.
Cons to upgrading
The cat 4 road races pretty much double in distance compared to the cat 5. I will likely get pummeled on these.
This year I havenít noticed the 4ís being any less crash prone than the 5ís. In fact, in the races I attended there were more crashes in the 4ís.
Though Iíve gotten more comfortable, I havenít really spent all that much time riding with the pack in races as I mostly got dropped before the last half of this season. Might it be good to get a little more experience before upgrade?
It might be nice to gain a bit more experience at the front of the pack and maybe be in a position where I would have a chance to podium before upgrading. Or in other words, gain a little more experience in actually ďracingĒ than just hanging on.
I won't really have time to increase my training volume. Though I think the hours I have available may be enough to drag me through cat 4 races.
Iíve talked to a couple of guys who upgraded to 4 and had trouble and at least one of them doesnít race much anymore (though I think they mostly did road races).
So I guess what it comes down to is Iíve gotten used to working hard and being in the back of the pack and Iím OK with that. Iím trying to decide whether I should just suck it up and, in all likelihood, repeat that MO in the 4ís or hang back and gain a bit more experience and confidence (and maybe better results) in the 5ís.
I know I need to make the decision but any thoughts are certainly welcome.