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  1. #1
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    Fast Track from cat 5 -> 4

    Hello,

    I'm wondering if there's anyway around the upgrade status from Cat 5 to 4. The USA Upgrade Guidlines state in order to advance you have to have 10 mass start races. I've been told that I would do really well with racing and probably outperform the cat 5 category. I'd like to make cat 4 and do the tour of Gila this year!

    They also state: "USA Cycling sanctioned and approved rider education clinics (at least half day), will count as three qualifying races for category 5 to 4 upgrades up to a maximum of 5 qualifying races" I cannot find what or where these are. I rather not travel lots of places and do Crits just to get the minimum mass starts.

    Anyone have any info?

  2. #2
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Depends on where you're at, but you should be able to knock out enough Cat 5 races before Gila (May??) to get a 5 to 4 upgrade. Check bikereg and your local association's page for races in your area and jump in as many races as you can (note, cat 5 races with a mentor counts as 2 races).
    Cat 2 upgrade status: never

  3. #3
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    just do the 10 races.

    you could do them in like 1.5 months or less depending on where you live and how old you are.
    cat 1.

    blog

  4. #4
    Carfree and Carefree
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    You can also get good results in a few large cat5 races and then email your region's upgrade person and request an early upgrade. Worked for me going 5 to 4 and going 4 to 3.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    Depending on how your schedule looks for the beginning of you season, you could have your 10 races in a month. Here there is a race series in April each weekend that gives 5's the opportunity to race 2x a day, and there is another series that runs 3 weeks. Unless you have some experience already (which it sounds like you don't?) I would just race all the races you can and upgrade as soon as possible

  6. #6
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Just do the races. No matter how strong you are, you (and more importantly, the people around you) will benefit from you having 10 races worth of pack experience. I don't know where you live, but in most regions, there are 3-4 opportunities to race in a given week, if you are willing to do some driving.

    Many regional upgrade coordinators simply won't allow early upgrades out of cat 5, and in my opinion, they are correct to be strict.

    Also, I can't tell you how many people start racing having been told they will outperform, or thinking they should outperform, only to be humbled. There's no way to know until you actually do it.

  7. #7
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    most of the time people looking for loopholes in the upgrade criteria fail at the next level. just find 10 races and do them, and since in my opinion connecting people who want to race with races to do is a big failure in our sport, if you post where you are geographically, I'll bet someone from here can assist you in identifying a racing calendar.

  8. #8
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

  9. #9
    formerly dnuzzomueller dz_nuzz's Avatar
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    Depends on your upgrade coordinator. Mine was / is a little upgrade happy. Think I got outta cat 5 after 4-5 races but I did pretty well in all of them.
    I don't like cats.

  10. #10
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
    Ahhhhhh those were beautiful words.
    You g are beautiful and unique..

    Emphasis being on unique...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  11. #11
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    "I've been told that I would do really well with racing and probably outperform the cat 5 category"
    Please also shed more light as to who said this?
    I can guarantee that the common consensus will be to do the races. If I look at who has responded here it looks like you have 4 Cat 1s that have taken the time to respond as well as some other 2s and 3s.
    Maybe just do the 10 races...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
    Wiser words have never been spoken

  13. #13
    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    You can upgrade fast in the right regions. In Socal, you can go from 5 to 4 in a week or two if you are willing to race tired. You can also go 4 > 3 in even faster time, if you win 3 or 4. We had a guy do it in a week. Because of this Cat 5 can be just as fast as the 4's. There are a lot of guys that have Cat 2 or 3 talent that race in the 5's, especially in road races where people may only participate once a year.

    So it really depends on your region. If you race in the middle of nowhere and there are only a handful of races a year, its going to take time unless you travel.
    judging from what you post on here it seems having a powermeter has caused you to focus on ewang numbers without much a focus on developing actual fitness.

  14. #14
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dz_nuzz View Post
    Think I got outta cat 5 after 4-5 races but I did pretty well in all of them.
    You might say.

    I'm an official who feels pretty strongly about new racers getting their ten finishes before upgrading. I also believe strongly in the leeway that upgrade coordinators are given to accelerate the process, given good reason and judgement. Without observing you racing, how do they make an informed decision?

    Clinics are helpful but they are deliberately not a shortcut to an upgrade or a replacement for actual experience.

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    1 clinic = 3 races? That sounds pretty generous. The NorCal Early Birds are much more stingy:

    Upgrade points are available for the Early Bird Criterium Mentoring sessions (5 to 4
    men, 4 to 3 women). 1 point per training race, .5 points for each clinic. A total of 5 points
    from clinics and training races can be used toward the 10 points needed to upgrade. For
    4 to 3 men, .5 points for each clinic completed. Category 4 riders are encouraged to attend
    the morning skills clinic after their training race.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the responses. I knew this may come off the wrong way and I understand how it looks but let me try to explain my goals.

    I live in Tucson AZ. The race schedule in my immediate area is a bit thin. In order to meet the minimum requirement I would have to travel at a minimum of 2-3 hours to compete. And while i'm not apposed to this, I would rather not spend the money required to do this to race a 30 minute cirt for one day. I'd likely have to spend multiple days in cities outside of where I live. I even considered riding CX but I discovered this wouldn't count toward those minimum race days.

    My goal is to ride in the Tour of the Gila this year. It looks like fun and it is the type of thing i'm really interested in.

    I could sit here tell I'm blue in the face telling you why I think i'm cat 4 material and a special snowflake but I purposefully excluded that information because I don't want to come off like an *******. I'm simply asking how I can achieve my goals. If that means 10 mass starts, NO Exceptions, than be it. But clearly there's other avenues which people have touched on that I could also explore.

    I would really like more info on these classes and how to find them.

    I'd also like to hear about people who have raced cat 5 and been advanced early because of good performance. If you win enough cat 5 races will they advance you? Who is they?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Type in your zip code, distance you are willing to ravel and the word Camp in the Event name.
    https://www.usacycling.org/events/?advanced=1

    I live on a golf course - by green 14 and Tee 15 and 3 min walk to the driving range. Yet my lack of golfing etiquette gave me away my first game despite having a pretty good drive and putt. That Cat 5 period is not about being fast (so much). That period is about learning race etiquette and safety (also who else to avoid) and just getting into what racing is about from where to warm-up to where not to part your car.

    Of course starting a forum thread should count for at least 2 races.
    Last edited by Doge; 12-17-14 at 01:26 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    You posted as I was posting mine. Contact the guys at Landis Cyclery in Phoenix.
    You have a lot before Gila in a few hours drive. The omnium and VOS will count for 4+

    Summit Velo 2015 Winter Camp 01/11/2015 Tucson , AZ
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    Last edited by Doge; 12-17-14 at 01:29 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    First you need to read the rule book. The person who does the upgrades in your LA is an official who is designated as the LA upgrade coordinator. You can find this out by contacting USAC or by asking another racer in your area.

    Be glad that I am not your upgrade coordinator because based on what you have written there's no way in hell I would upgrade you early for the purpose of participating in an NRC race.

  20. #20
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridrider View Post
    I don't want to come off like an *******.
    I wouldn't worry about that, there are plenty here that come across like that daily.
    And though earlier you mentioned that you've been told you would do really well consider the source. Are they the same people that tell their fat friends they look good in 'that' outfit?
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  21. #21
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    First you need to read the rule book. The person who does the upgrades in your LA is an official who is designated as the LA upgrade coordinator. You can find this out by contacting USAC or by asking another racer in your area.

    Be glad that I am not your upgrade coordinator because based on what you have written there's no way in hell I would upgrade you early for the purpose of participating in an NRC race.
    Would you give me an early upgrade? I have 4 races as a 5 and I think I'm pretty strong. I would consider myself a breakaway artist...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  22. #22
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    ...participating in an NRC race.
    He wouldn't be in the NRC race. They have 7 besides the NRC including the Men's 4 race. Correct me if I'm wrong, but to do the NRC you need to be on a team that is entered. I do not think an individual Cat 1 or Pro can do that race.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Would you give me an early upgrade? I have 4 races as a 5 and I think I'm pretty strong. I would consider myself a breakaway artist...
    As you're an advocate of pushing kids around - I should hope not.

  24. #24
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    As you're an advocate of pushing kids around - I should hope not.
    No I think you read that wrong. I bully everyone...

    If I'm not mistaken a 1 can enter the 1/2 race on his own but to ride the p/1 race you need a team with 4?
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  25. #25
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    I know one person who was upgraded after completing six races.

    In his first three Cat-5 races, he lapped each field solo about three times in 30-minute crits. He was a pro-triathlete with a tremendous motor. He tried upgrading after four races (two Cat 5 and two Masters). The local official said no. Her reason: If he were to cause a crash and injure someone, she could be held liable for not abiding by the specified rules.

    But after destroying a third Cat 5 crit field (sixth race total), nearly every Cat 5 in the area threatened to not show up until he was upgraded. He was moved from a 5 to a 3 because he was so strong, and it took about four races before he had the points to be upgraded to a 2.

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