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Thread: Cat 5 Question

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I'm not disagreeing with you. Though I do think it's mostly generation gap and selective memory, that's not my current point. My only question was "what's your measurement?" to know that it was better "back when" or if any changes to cat 5 structure make improvements. What's the metric?
    Good question. I look at how racers ride in a group, primarily in corners. Do they swing out before they turn in? Do they follow the group rather than their own line? If they know how to do a pace line of sorts (meaning if they're pulling they know how to pull off). I see if they have a basic grasp of tactics, like not chasing a teammate, not pulling relentlessly when it's unnecessary.

    Also if there's anything really weird with a rider - saddle is way too high, missing (seriously, there was a guy that used to ride in the NY area that insisted that riding without a saddle or seat post was beneficial), bizarre bar or saddle angle, etc - it's usually because the rider rides by themselves all the time. In a group ride, even if it's not a club ride, they'd probably get feedback questioning the bizarro stuff.

    Basically as a rider gets more fluent they become less noticeable in a field. The weird ones stand out because they do unusual stuff, stuff you don't expect.

    Someone said to me "school of fish" yesterday. In a school of fish the one going the wrong way stands out. A skilled group rider won't seem out of place. The ones that disrupt the rhythm are usually doing something wrong.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  2. #52
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    That's an impressively thorough answer, as usual, but I think Yg's question was how do you know beginner pack skills are worse now than in the past.

    I wasn't a bike racer in the past, so I have no personal basis for comparison, but I am naturally skeptical of the "good old days" effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AERO63 View Post
    I bet you all love reading that in the title!

    I'm a new racer this year. I've got 7 mass starts and a few TT's under my belt is all, so totally new to the sport.

    My understanding of Cat 5 was that the category is designed for new racers to "learn" how to race. Now of course there is going to be a competitive aspect to it all, that's expected and welcomed. It's still a race after all.

    I like being competitive. I've done fine in the races, I'm not winning but I'm not getting lapped, pulled, or dropped. I'm definitely trying to be safe and learn how a bike race is supposed to be ridden.

    Around here, there are almost no Cat-5 exclusive races. Everything is combined 4/5. So here's the question...am I crazy, or is Cat 5 kind of useless when everything is combined with 4's as well? Is it mainly 4's that are riding these 4/5 races like their mortgage being paid depends on the result? (That's a slight exaggeration...haha). USAC races that I've ridden will show secondary results inside the overall results ranking the Cat-5 guys, so in those it's easier to tell if it's the 4's doing the damage or not but in the local crit stuff you never really know. So am I nuts? I don't know much, but I kind of feel like Cat-5 needs to be it's own dedicated race to accomplish what it's supposed to??

    Aside from any of this, I'm enjoying racing so far. Learning lots, or at least trying to.
    When fields are combined like that, having a cat 5 just slows down the upgrade process - which is a good thing. It forces you to take more time in learning how to race, before you get to the 3's.

    When I was a 5, most of our crit fields were 4/5's combined, and the races seemed the same to me, just bigger (not faster).
    cat 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    When fields are combined like that, having a cat 5 just slows down the upgrade process - which is a good thing. It forces you to take more time in learning how to race, before you get to the 3's.

    When I was a 5, most of our crit fields were 4/5's combined, and the races seemed the same to me, just bigger (not faster).
    That makes sense, I think I get what you're saying...having 4's in with 5's slows their results-based upgrade to the 3's. So essentially you're in "5's" learning how to race until you're in 3's. Question...in your experience, is it mainly 4's that are pushing the pace and winning 4/5 races? I don't want this thread to get off track with "I can't win in 4/5's as a 5" because that's not my point at all, but for example I recently finished 14th in a 4/5 crit with a pretty large field, and that was 2nd in the 5's in that race. Is this normal in your experience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AERO63 View Post
    That makes sense, I think I get what you're saying...having 4's in with 5's slows their results-based upgrade to the 3's. So essentially you're in "5's" learning how to race until you're in 3's. Question...in your experience, is it mainly 4's that are pushing the pace and winning 4/5 races? I don't want this thread to get off track with "I can't win in 4/5's as a 5" because that's not my point at all, but for example I recently finished 14th in a 4/5 crit with a pretty large field, and that was 2nd in the 5's in that race. Is this normal in your experience?
    Yes - as a 5 I had similar experiences: placing in the teens in large 4/5 fields, but losing to a bunch of 4's. A result I was proud of, and still am, since it was my first real/big crit. 75 starters, only ~25 finishers!

    Since you've done at least 10 mass starts as a 4, you've by definition been racing longer, and are therefore (hopefully) smarter and (hopefully) stronger than cat 5's.

    I didn't win **** as a 5, only one once as a 4. More wins as a 3. Part of that is just more experience, the other part was just training more and getting stronger.

    The 5's aren't about winning - and come to think about it neither are the 4's really; both are just practice as you move up. Which is not the say the 3's is "serious business", but you'll have tougher competition there.
    cat 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    Yes - as a 5 I had similar experiences: placing in the teens in large 4/5 fields, but losing to a bunch of 4's. A result I was proud of, and still am, since it was my first real/big crit. 75 starters, only ~25 finishers!

    Since you've done at least 10 mass starts as a 4, you've by definition been racing longer, and are therefore (hopefully) smarter and (hopefully) stronger than cat 5's.

    I didn't win **** as a 5, only one once as a 4. More wins as a 3. Part of that is just more experience, the other part was just training more and getting stronger.

    The 5's aren't about winning - and come to think about it neither are the 4's really; both are just practice as you move up. Which is not the say the 3's is "serious business", but you'll have tougher competition there.
    Thanks for the insight. I agree that the 5's aren't (or shouldn't be) about winning. Everyone is out there to compete for sure but riding smart and as safe as possible for all the other racers is what I've always thought Cat-5 is supposed to be about. That's what I'm trying to do personally anyway. It's obviously possible to ride hard and competitively AND safely...that's my goal to learn as a Cat-5.

    It's crappy if guys are getting pulled as Cat-5's, it's like a wasted race from a learning standpoint. But I guess it is what it is, not much you can really do about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AERO63 View Post
    It's crappy if guys are getting pulled as Cat-5's, it's like a wasted race from a learning standpoint. But I guess it is what it is, not much you can really do about it.
    Luckily I never had to deal with that... but if you think about it, getting pulled is a learning experience - it means you need to train more/better!

    I would imagine if guys are getting pulled in 4/5's races, they'd get pulled in 5's races anyway.
    cat 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    Luckily I never had to deal with that... but if you think about it, getting pulled is a learning experience - it means you need to train more/better!

    I would imagine if guys are getting pulled in 4/5's races, they'd get pulled in 5's races anyway.
    Yeah you're probably right about that. I'm lucky in that I haven't had to deal with it either...yet that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    As if there was ever a cat 5 racer who said "hold up guys, this speed is getting unsafe."
    Exactly, Cat 5's have no idea what they're doing.
    2007 Cannondale Caad08

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    It's too bad that your area doesn't have Cat5 races. That's the way it is supposed to work. Forcing you into Cat4/5 kind of defeats the purpose. That said, the whole "throw them into a pack and see who survives" strategy of USAC is broken, but don't think that they actually care. USAC is an arm of the UCI. All they care about is pro racing and pro racing development. The rest is just a cash cow money sink and a price to pay for the end product. Just wait until grand fondos start replacing your local crits. It's coming.

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    thankfully I'll be able to retire and focus on epic hikes.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I'll be wearing the blue shirt.

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    I honestly have no idea what that means. lol

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    You just wait, wise guy.

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    lol. I was being serious.

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    ah. way too obscure a reference. I thought it might have been a hockey thing or something

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    Shovel is only allowed to wear blue shirts and khakis from now on. Even in the shower. It's a lifestyle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christobevii3 View Post
    In Lambra you have a lot of people who are cat 1 in mtb, cyclocross, or cross country. They show up for their one or two road race a year, blow everyone out, then not show up till next year.
    Cyclocross is different than MTB as far as categories go. In MTB you can declare yourself a Cat2 with zero experience. It is the equivalent of Cat5 men's road. Yes, there is a Cat3, but you can choose to be a Cat2 right from the get-go. Upgrading to Cat1 requires two top-five finishes. It's even easier than upgrading to Cat4 road. To get to pro, though, you have to get two top-threes or three top-fives at a national calendar event. So don't be impressed by a Cat1 MTB rider unless they're a solid road racer, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    Shovel is only allowed to wear blue shirts and khakis from now on. Even in the shower. It's a lifestyle.
    there are literally dozens of us!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerundium View Post
    Dutch cycling union has instituted that you can't get a racing license unless you are affiliated with a licensed club. ....snip......


    It is the same here in Australia. Cycling Australia, through State/Territory cycling administrations control rider licensing and all riders must belong to an affiliated Cycling Club in order to obtain a race licence. It does make it easier to manage, (reduce sandbagging - to an extent) and offers the ability to sanction riders who transgress and ensure that they do not pop up somewhere else and try to beat their suspension/sanction, as their club is also accountable for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oespinoza83 View Post
    I think it varies per location. For instance, I was a Cat 5 last season here in Texas. I raced 4 road races (Cat 5), 4 crits (Cat 5), 2 crits (Cat 4/5), and 2 stage races (TT, Crit, RR) (Cat 5). There were plenty of races I did not do simply because there was no C5 category only 4/5 and I did not feel ready. I am a 4 now and when I race 4/5 races there are guys who have been racing as a 4 for a couple of years who are going balls out while first-timer 5's are trying to hold on and survive. I think it pushes some of them away from the sport. I understand promoters need to make $, but I have yet to see a Cat 5 race that wasn't close to selling out in this region.
    'going balls out while first-timer 5's are trying to hold on and survive".lol.. that must be me at bear creek crit

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Cyclocross is different than MTB as far as categories go. In MTB you can declare yourself a Cat2 with zero experience. It is the equivalent of Cat5 men's road. Yes, there is a Cat3, but you can choose to be a Cat2 right from the get-go. Upgrading to Cat1 requires two top-five finishes. It's even easier than upgrading to Cat4 road. To get to pro, though, you have to get two top-threes or three top-fives at a national calendar event. So don't be impressed by a Cat1 MTB rider unless they're a solid road racer, too.
    Yeah, and if you have anything remotely resembling fitness, I have to recommend NOT signing yourself up as a Cat 3 MTB racer. I did that last year for my first MTB race - a Cat 3 road racer guy doing the Cat 3 MTB short track race. I lapped EVERYONE. I've never felt like such a jerk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christobevii3 View Post
    Here is an email from a race we had recently:



    So racing in a 4/5 mixed field in Lambra as a 4 is no different than just being a 4 it seems. The cross country and what not are classified as 3, 2, 1 so maybe that is why there is some issues there. But I would hope anyone doing 100kmh+ cross country as cat 1 would start as a 4 or 3 at least. But nope, we get them in cat 5. The last race they had one as a 4 ride off the front and win by 3 minutes solo.
    That's from Rouge Roubaix, which is a different race all together, .

    But in the 'normal' races, Cat 5 isn't about winning anything, anyway. If those guys want to do that, that's fine. Just get your mass starts (LAMBRA is quite lenient with upgrades to 4) and get your upgrade. Let those guys continue racing as a 5 if they want. You'll gain a lot more experience and fitness by training and racing as a 4 and continuing on to Cat 3 and up.

    You must be referring to the Cat 4 guy who demolished the field in Lake Charles. It looks like he raced a couple of 'cross country' races as a Cat 2. He is now a Cat 3 on the road. I don't think he was out to stroke his ego or anything. I think he is just that strong . . . . there are those people out there that just have to put in their 'time' in each category and fly through. LAMBRA got him up where he needs to be quickly. I've seen it a lot racing LAMBRA over the past several years. Guys I started with as Cat 5 were killing us, then killed us for a while in 4s, then immediately were 3s, then some are 2s already. It's just the nature of bike racing. It takes a while for the talent and skills to shake out.

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    Senior Member TexMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AERO63 View Post
    I hear you. I don't think getting dropped due to fitness is the main issue. Everyone is gonna get dropped at some point, even if it was just one bad day or something like that. Cat-5 doesn't need to be "easy" racing so that everyone gets a ribbon, it just needs to be a good learning experience. At least that's my understanding of it. Like you say it's more the whole confidence and pack experience thing, which makes it tough...you don't have it, you get dropped in 4/5's. You didn't gain anything in that race. Then next time it happens again.
    Group rides are great to help, but even fast group rides are quite a bit different than a race in my limited experience.
    Clinics would be great as someone mentioned, but it might be hard to get guys to attend.
    At some point I guess it becomes just get out there and do it, 4/5's or whatever be damned...seems like that's how it works. But I'm not sure that's how USAC has Cat-5 working in it's mind is it? That's the big question.
    Being in the same boat as you, i think nobody wants to take the responsibility to "hand hold" new racers. This is probably a thankless job and they would have to volunteer in undertaking this.
    Honestly if was a coach, i would take this opportunity to educate new racers and let them decide if they can use/need your services. I've been to Crits and seen guys who just get off work, come to race with no warm up or anything of sorts. When i get to CAT3, someday, I might start volunteering to educate new racers

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