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Old 02-12-13, 10:02 AM   #1
Carley P.
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Cat 5 in Cyclocross: Is this the real deal?

http://www.cxhairs.com/2013/01/23/ca...ross-its-here/

I don't know if you all saw this, but I'm wondering if the series I'll be racing this upcoming season will have a Cat 5. Honestly, I've only raced one race before, and I would love a Cat 5 race. I plan on doing around 8 races this upcoming season so I'd love to be able to race Cat 5 my first entire season of racing. Even if a Cat 5 exists, I wonder if they'll group the Cat 5 and Cat 4 together. Or even worse, they might group us along with single speeds or women or the real young kids or other oddballs.

I think it's a good idea. Cyclocross is the most spectator-friendly cycling sport and I know a lot of people who want to try it but are too scared of making a fool of themselves when racing sandbagging Cat 4's. It would be hard to sandbag if you're forced to move up to Cat 4 after only ten races.

Any thoughts of whether or not this is going to be legitimate?

New for 2013 USA Cycling rule change:

1E6: Category 5 established for men in cyclo-cross and upgrade system changed to resemble the road more. There will be voluntary upgrades and mandatory upgrades based on points. Cat 5 to Cat 4 upgrade by experience only.
Full upgrade section with new rule changes:

1E6. Cyclo-cross Upgrades and Downgrades

Cyclo-cross categories are upgraded similarly to road category upgrades using the system below:

(a) Requirements for upgrading:

5-4: Experience in 10 races is a mandatory upgrade.

4-3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is amandatory upgrade.*

3-2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.*

2-1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.

*Juniors are exempt from this mandatory upgrade


(c) USA Cycling may add additional requirements for upgrading at their discretion. Any such changes shall be made available on the website.

(d) Cyclo-cross Conversion

Cyclo-cross (CX) categories may also be upgraded by conversion from a riderís earned road or mountain bike (MTB) cross country (XC) category. If during the season, a rider upgrades his or her road or XC category, the cyclo-cross category can be upgraded to match the road or XC category shown below by request of the rider or by request of the administrator.



Complete USA Cycling Rulebook can be found here: http://www.usacycling.org/forms/rules


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Old 02-12-13, 10:25 AM   #2
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Also, I just noticed there is only one Cyclocross race posted on USA Cycling's website. It's the "Cross Out Cancer" race in Kansas. It has a Cat 5 men section, and it looks like they're being grouped with the Women's 35+ Category, starting at the same time. Oh no. I love the idea of a Cat 5 but don't like the idea of possibly being beaten by a 35+ woman. At first I was worried about being lapped by some sandbagger, now I'll have to worry about being lapped by a 35+ woman. How embarrassing. Maybe we should have stuck with just 4 categories...
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Old 02-12-13, 10:29 AM   #3
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I don't see a need for Cat 5 in cyclocross. I'm a 3 on the road and 4 for CX. Doing Cat 4 CX races, I just haven't seen a situation where new racers ( who will now be Cat 5's in CX) are causing any problems.

Also, CX tends to be more of an individual effort than a crit or road race.

Inexperienced rider riding squirrely in a crit puts everyone at danger. Inexperienced bit squirrely rider in CX, not a big problem, as long as they use some common sense in not getting in the way of stronger riders.

And from a fitness point of view, dropped in a crit, your race is over. Dropped in a CX race, not that big of deal, as they typically tend to string out with a lot of people riding by themselves.
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Old 02-12-13, 11:27 AM   #4
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Also, I just noticed there is only one Cyclocross race posted on USA Cycling's website. It's the "Cross Out Cancer" race in Kansas. It has a Cat 5 men section, and it looks like they're being grouped with the Women's 35+ Category, starting at the same time. Oh no. I love the idea of a Cat 5 but don't like the idea of possibly being beaten by a 35+ woman. At first I was worried about being lapped by some sandbagger, now I'll have to worry about being lapped by a 35+ woman. How embarrassing. Maybe we should have stuck with just 4 categories...
Oh noes! Perish the thought of a woman who's stronger and a better bike handler than you.

They should call it "beginner" if they're going to do it - a place to get your feet wet. That's what the non-USA Cycling sanctioned series does here.

I think if they have to upgrade out of 5 people will hang out in 4 a lot longer. The sandbagging is already bad, and as has been said earlier the dangers are not the same. More often than not if you're hitting the deck in a cross race it's nobody's fault but your own.

Just add this to the reasons I like racing singlespeed in the USA Cycling races. Sure, the few people who could also fare well in the 1/2 races if they wanted usually win, but I don't need to do well overall to be satisfied with my race. I just need to do well for me, and as compared to my usual rivals.
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Old 02-12-13, 11:33 AM   #5
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What Merlin said.
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Old 02-12-13, 11:51 AM   #6
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The beginners in the Cross Crusade series race at the same time as the unicycles (who start a minute or two later). I've been passed by women, that's not a big deal, but there's nothing like the humiliation of being passed by a 13-year old on a unicycle who started a minute or more after you. I've seen it happen.

That said, we've got A, B, C and Beginner around here. I don't know if our beginners correspond to Cat 4 or Cat 5. I do know that they're people who haven't done a lot of races, and it's nice to have that group to get involved. It doesn't fix the problem of being spanked by super-fast racers who ought to be in a higher cat though, because every year there's somebody in their first year of CX racing who could do well in the B's. And if you're that slow guy in the second half of the beginner field, you need to learn to get used to being spanked by faster riders, because it's going to keep happening no matter what Cat you're in.

Seriously, as CX becomes more and more popular the number of people who are never going to win a race is going to go up proportionately. Most of us need to accept that we're not racing to win. And when you're racing to just do your personal best, it doesn't much matter whether you're 127th out of 155 or 34th out of 50. You get to know the guys you're racing against and that's your competition regardless of Cat.
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Old 02-12-13, 12:03 PM   #7
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OP, are you entering the OVCX series? I'm really interested in doing some racing next season, but I don't think I'll be able to do much travelling.
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Old 02-13-13, 07:39 PM   #8
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I don't see a need for Cat 5 in cyclocross. I'm a 3 on the road and 4 for CX. Doing Cat 4 CX races, I just haven't seen a situation where new racers ( who will now be Cat 5's in CX) are causing any problems.

Also, CX tends to be more of an individual effort than a crit or road race.

Inexperienced rider riding squirrely in a crit puts everyone at danger. Inexperienced bit squirrely rider in CX, not a big problem, as long as they use some common sense in not getting in the way of stronger riders.

And from a fitness point of view, dropped in a crit, your race is over. Dropped in a CX race, not that big of deal, as they typically tend to string out with a lot of people riding by themselves.
I can understand that. I've only raced once and I wasn't very well prepared for it. I finished 56th out of 64, had a blast, and certainly didn't put anyone in danger or get in anybody's way.

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OP, are you entering the OVCX series? I'm really interested in doing some racing next season, but I don't think I'll be able to do much travelling.
Yes, I plan on racing throughout the series! I'll certainly be racing in Louisville again. I'll probably do the races in Indianapolis, Lexington, Dayton, and Cincinnati too. All of the races are within a two-hour drive and my brother will be racing with me this year so we'll take turns driving.


Regarding the topic:
I like the idea of racing with other inexperienced riders. However, I'd rather finish 56th out of 64 in Cat 4 than finish 5th out of 12 in a Cat 5 race. Ten races isn't a whole lot of races, so I'm not sure how many people are going to be racing in Cat 5 with me. One of the fun things about racing (for me) is racing with dozens of other people. If I'm racing in a smaller field I don't know if it'll be as fun. Oh well, I can only race in Cat 5 for this next year anyway, then I'll have to move up to Cat 4.

Sidenote:

I told my fiance I'd buy a new bike if I ever moved up categories (meaning from 4-3) and she agreed. Maybe I can use this to my advantage and convince her to let me get a new bike once I move to Cat 4. Aww, yeah.
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Old 02-14-13, 06:45 AM   #9
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I see this as a good commonsense move. The fact that road had 5 cats and CX 4 was a source of confusion, especially in USAC-affiliated regions without a long CX tradition (i.e. anywhere but New England). Promoters can combine cats as they see fit.
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Old 02-15-13, 11:35 AM   #10
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What Merlin said.
Yup.
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Old 02-15-13, 11:40 AM   #11
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I see this as a good commonsense move. The fact that road had 5 cats and CX 4 was a source of confusion, especially in USAC-affiliated regions without a long CX tradition (i.e. anywhere but New England). Promoters can combine cats as they see fit.
I can see there was some confusion, but it's really pretty simple. In SoCal, they've basically been running A,B,C. C is a beginner, Road Cat 4-5. B is an intermediate Road Cat 3-4. A is fast Road Cat 1,2,3. The only thing that really hacks me off is that they don't police any of it. I have a teammate that is a Road 1 or 2 and races in the C's. I've told him it's crap, but he does it anyway. I race against guys in the B's that are "A's", no question. Idiots have to get on the podium, though, to stroke their own egos. They just can't take getting beat by a peer.
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Old 02-15-13, 01:07 PM   #12
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Anyone who has watched roadies do their first CX race knows there isn't always a 1-to-1 correspondence between road and CX categories.
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Old 02-15-13, 02:27 PM   #13
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Anyone who has watched roadies do their first CX race knows there isn't always a 1-to-1 correspondence between road and CX categories.
I am Exhibit A.
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Old 02-15-13, 03:34 PM   #14
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I don't really see the need...I got trounced in every CX race I ever entered, but it didn't seem to matter too much.
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Old 03-29-13, 11:08 AM   #15
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They should call it "beginner" if they're going to do it - a place to get your feet wet. That's what the non-USA Cycling sanctioned series does here.
The real benefit to this, IMO, is that the beginners' series doesn't have any awards structure. It's truly there as a "I just want to get an introduction to racing" division.
I did 1 Beginners race since I hadn't done any racing in 15+ years, then went with the Cat-4 afterwards.
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Old 04-02-13, 04:55 PM   #16
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I don't have any problem with the addition of a Cat 5 category. In some areas (Seattle for instance) the number of racers in the Cat 4 class is at or near field limit every weekend. Some races (MFG comes to mind) have dealt with this problem by adding a "True Beginner" Cat. I see a Cat. 5 as the logical progression for a growing sport.
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Old 04-09-13, 07:09 AM   #17
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I don't see a need for Cat 5 in cross. If its an issue of reaching the field limit every weekend, maybe add a 3/4 race on top of straight 3s and 4s.
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Old 08-07-13, 07:29 AM   #18
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I don't have any problem with the addition of a Cat 5 category. In some areas (Seattle for instance) the number of racers in the Cat 4 class is at or near field limit every weekend. Some races (MFG comes to mind) have dealt with this problem by adding a "True Beginner" Cat. I see a Cat. 5 as the logical progression for a growing sport.
^^^^^^^This! MFG had over 200 racers in a Cat 4 race last year however MFG is not sanctioned racing anyway so they can form whatever categories they want. They have a beginner class for less money, shorter race duration as well. This year they are adding a Clydesdale Cat. I think adding a cat 5 is wise unless the sport wishes to not grow.
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Old 08-07-13, 04:05 PM   #19
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Eventually you get to the point where there isn't enough time in the day for more categories and every field is full (see also, Cross Crusade series). At that point, Cat 5 doesn't help. If Cat 4 is full and there's time for another race, it ought to happen. Or the people at the top of Cat 4 could upgrade.
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Old 08-07-13, 07:35 PM   #20
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Eventually you get to the point where there isn't enough time in the day for more categories and every field is full (see also, Cross Crusade series). At that point, Cat 5 doesn't help. If Cat 4 is full and there's time for another race, it ought to happen. Or the people at the top of Cat 4 could upgrade.
Cross Crusade could free up some space by getting rid of absurd, waste-of-time categories like "Clydesdale" and "Unicycle."
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Old 08-07-13, 08:22 PM   #21
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The people in Clydesdale would just end up in one of the other categories. Clydes share a race time with C's and unicycles share a race time with beginners, so there's really nothing to be gained.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:53 AM   #22
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Then put them in those categories. Cat 5 is a way better idea for cross than ridiculous novelty races. And the unicyclists aren't going to end up in other categories unless they race with a bicycle, so you can free up some space, there. As far as numbers of races and time in the day, cyclocross may in that respect be a victim of its own success. That's a pretty good problem to have, actually. The runaway success of cross races in the PNW and New England is the best argument I can think of for Cat 5 cyclocross. The challenge is that participation is so variable across the country. Cat 5 isn't really called for in Tennessee. But what is there to do about that? I'm not sure.
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Old 08-08-13, 12:22 PM   #23
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^ If you have time, and need it for field sizes, promoters can always run 2 Cat 4 races. That's not that uncommon in Cat 5 road races to deal with the 50 rider field limit.
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Old 09-21-13, 01:12 AM   #24
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The cynic in me thinks it's just a ploy to get the day license 4s to buy a year license. Cat 5 races here are 20 minutes. No joke. Who the hell wants to race for 20 minutes?

I'll just continue racing singlespeed on a day license for the 4-5 sanctioned races I'm planning to do this year.
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Old 09-21-13, 11:50 PM   #25
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The cynic in me thinks it's just a ploy to get the day license 4s to buy a year license.
That sounds like USAC.
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