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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

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Old 07-21-13, 05:24 PM   #1
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USA Cycling License upgrades

Hi, The USA cycling guidelines states > Guidelines and Notes by Category
Category 5 to 4: Finish 10 mass start races.
OK , My question is do Training races count ???? BTW for road cycling upgrade from 5 to 4 ....
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Old 07-21-13, 05:33 PM   #2
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If they are USAC sanctioned the will count.

Otherwise it's up to the local rep. In my case they counted the local twilight series for 1/2 the races, because it was run as good or better than the local USAC stuff. If it's more a "jump in, jump out" thing then it's unlikely.
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Old 07-27-13, 05:09 PM   #3
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What's the rush?
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Old 07-27-13, 05:38 PM   #4
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Hi ducati hyp, I think it depends. There used to be something in the rule book about series races and that only the final series standings counted for upgrade points. However, that was before the upgrade by experience thing. I know that a couple years ago, my favorite local series did not count for upgrade at all for any category according to our District Representative even though the promoter did the race under USAC. I think this is a YMMV thing.
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Old 08-03-13, 10:38 PM   #5
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I'm happy staying a 4 for another season. I'll be racing more Masters category races next year, and letting the young girls slug it out amongst themselves, now that I know that I can race with the other Masters women. With that in my pocket, why upgrade at all?
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Old 08-03-13, 11:44 PM   #6
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More than likely, you will not be able to race with the masters women. The masters women voted and decided to preclude Cat 4 from masters races. The Masters Criterium Championship is a different animal since it had a 60+ open category. You will find most, if not all, of the masters 45+ mass start races to be Cat 1,2 and 3. You will have to race with the Masters 35+ 3/4 or the Cat 4 women. However, keep watching the NCNCA calendar for exceptions.
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Old 08-04-13, 07:58 AM   #7
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More than likely, you will not be able to race with the masters women. The masters women voted and decided to preclude Cat 4 from masters races. The Masters Criterium Championship is a different animal since it had a 60+ open category. You will find most, if not all, of the masters 45+ mass start races to be Cat 1,2 and 3. You will have to race with the Masters 35+ 3/4 or the Cat 4 women. However, keep watching the NCNCA calendar for exceptions.
Or just upgrade. I don't know that I have enough quality points to do that, in spite of having more than ten mass start races under my belt this season.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:13 AM   #8
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You must earn upgrade points by placing in races with large fields. There is no upgrade from Cat 4 to Cat 3 for women. The 10 race upgrade rule is for men going from 5 to 4. And you will not earn as many upgrade points racing in masters 35+ fields. The best way to upgrade is racing crits in W4.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:35 AM   #9
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You must earn upgrade points by placing in races with large fields. There is no upgrade from Cat 4 to Cat 3 for women. The 10 race upgrade rule is for men going from 5 to 4. And you will not earn as many upgrade points racing in masters 35+ fields. The best way to upgrade is racing crits in W4.
I can do that. I'll try to stack my next season calendar towards favoring more crits. Question - if there is no upgrade from 4 to 3 for women, how does a woman upgrade? I've read through the rules on that, and they are written primarily for the men. And they're not written clearly.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:29 AM   #10
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Agreed that they are not clear. The way I understand it, Cat5 is for men. Women start at Cat4. The upgrade rules apply similarly to both men and women. You have the same upgrade hurdles as men from 4-3. But I am not an official.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:36 AM   #11
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Men and women are the same.

http://www.ncnca.org/content/upgrade-requirements Download the upgrade worksheet to keep track.

CAT 4 - CAT3: 20 points, or experience in 25 races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields over 30. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

Here is a link to the rule book to figure out how many points per field size. For example, if you win a race with over 50 riders, you get 10 points. If the fields are small, it takes a lot of high finishes to earn 20 points.
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Old 08-04-13, 12:11 PM   #12
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I've had an upgrade to 3 as a goal, and it's a tough one for me. Here in Arizona, they will accept half of your upgrade points from Masters races; the other half must come from pure category races. My points so far come from Masters races. I typically double up on a given day, racing my age group in Masters, and then one of the category races that includes 4's. Sometimes that's a 3-4, sometimes a pure 4, and sometimes (gasp) a 4-5. But I do not enjoy the category races, for a number of reasons:

A. The surges for the corners suck the life out of you, and are so pointless it's frustrating. Brake - gun it - brake - gun it.... sheesh.
B. Taking an "in it to win it" approach is really hard to pull off, as staying out in front of a pack of Cat4 kids is truly difficult. It's very tough to make a break stick, and if you are pulled back, it's hard not to be swarmed.
C. It's possible to collect points by being conservative and just finishing near the front of the inevitable pack sprint, but racing for points is just not the point of racing. Not for me. It's what some Masters teammates have done, and what they advise, but then they are also just fine with finishing "in the dirt" as the saying goes (off the podium). Also, our field sizes just aren't big enough to get an upgrade from pack finishes, so we need to finish in the points here.

So, could I focus on the upgrade and make it happen? I believe so. Would I like doing it? No. So I've pretty much decided to race the classes I enjoy. Doubling up by doing M45+ is one hell of a lot more fun that doubling up to do Cat4. In fact, I think M45+ is the absolute bomb. Really fast, really smooth, and with enough teams to include a lot of tactics. What more can you ask for? I know some of you guys get all that in the older divisions, but our fields are much smaller, and the 55+ races (the crits anyway) follow a very predictable pattern at this point.

I relate all this because you face a similar dilemma, but compounded by the fact that your Masters races exclude Cat4, rather than Cat5, and so you need points to cat up. I got out of Cat5 as quickly as possible for the same reason you want your 3 - so I could race my age group. But all I had to do is start. At that point, I didn't even need to finish, although I finished all my Cat5 races. So you have a choice to make. "Do I dedicate a season to points collection?" Maybe it isn't as much of a strategy choice for you. I don't know because I don't know the field. But racing to get points, and racing to win, can be two very different things.

One thing I would do, right away, is to contact your district upgrade administrator and ask whether they count points won in Masters divisions. Hermes may already know. Then start a spreadsheet to track your points (I track all my results in Excel, with formulas to total my points and qualifying finishes), and look at the calendar from the perspective of what you need.
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Old 08-04-13, 12:19 PM   #13
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All of that clicked with me, AzT. At least the second half of this season has. I really had not thought about "catting up" until recently, and riding with those masters women this past weekend cemented that. You said it - smooth, predictable, nothing silly. I felt right at home with them, and I want MORE of THAT. (Have you noticed I'm talking about "racing" and not "hanging on" - I just did!)

That said, I have to abide by the rules, don't I? If I have to sit Cat 4 for another season, well, that's the way it is. I'll take the opportunities as they arise to race with the masters women. I'll also talk to my Cat 3 girlfriends about upgrading - how they did it, how long, what races, etc.

Thanks, guys!
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Old 08-04-13, 03:45 PM   #14
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Getting in touch with the upgrade coordinator for your district is the best advice so far. Ask them what it would take. They have leeway. It doesn't have to be strictly by the book. In your situation, if I saw you could do consistently well as you have been doing for the next 10-15 races I would let you upgrade. You'll have your 25 in and you have gotten results.

It's a tough situation for you but look at it this way, it's way harder for me. I have 13/35 points for my Cat1 but I have to get them in pro races.
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Old 08-04-13, 04:23 PM   #15
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Getting in touch with the upgrade coordinator for your district is the best advice so far. Ask them what it would take. They have leeway. It doesn't have to be strictly by the book. In your situation, if I saw you could do consistently well as you have been doing for the next 10-15 races I would let you upgrade. You'll have your 25 in and you have gotten results.

It's a tough situation for you but look at it this way, it's way harder for me. I have 13/35 points for my Cat1 but I have to get them in pro races.
Really?? OMG! There is no comparison, Shovel!

As for me, 25 races is going to run into next season. There aren't enough races left on my calendar this season to get to that magic number. No worries, it'll come.
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Old 08-04-13, 06:17 PM   #16
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Do you have 15? 18? 20? How close are you? A midseason upgrade after a few results should definitely be possible.

Cat1 is a pipe dream for me.
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Old 08-04-13, 06:49 PM   #17
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Do you have 15? 18? 20? How close are you? A midseason upgrade after a few results should definitely be possible.

Cat1 is a pipe dream for me.
I know you see things from a different perspective, but from what I know of you and what kind of a rider you are, that's hard for me to understand. Still, if you say so, it must be really difficult to do.

I've got 15 USAC races, 14 mass start, and 4 non-USAC. The last three were consistent USAC finishes. Only three - that's not enough, I'd want more time before I would pronounce myself "ready" (that's the pilot in me talking).
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Old 08-05-13, 09:18 AM   #18
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Isn't it 25 races with 10 top 10 finishes in packs of 30 or more? How many of your races had 30?

I'm a 4, racing age is 48.

In CO, we have a regional organization (BRAC) that has a web site that shows our upgrade points for the last 12 months (it should be since the start of 2012, but they haven't updated the web site to match the rule change on that). Maybe you guys have something like that too?

This shows how many points you get for each type of race/result, you can figure out how many points you got for all your races:
http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=580

Here's another source of the same info, summarized in a very easy to use way:
http://www.coloradocycling.org/sites...e_criteria.pdf

It's not clear to me when/if points from masters races can be applied towards catting up.

In the races around here, you don't have to be any particular category to race in masters, you just have to meet the age requirements. So that sounds like that's different from your area. The men's masters categories are usually broken out (45+_4, 45+_1,2,3, etc) but the women's fields are too small and aren't separated that way.

I have chosen to race category, not masters, for a couple of reasons.
1) I am still a beginner in terms of bike handling, race tactics, and pack skills. The masters around here are aggressive and bossy, and will rip you a new one if you make a mistake. They also manipulate races verbally. I don't want to join the masters until my skills are up to par, I know what I'm doing, and I can tell when I'm being manipulated.
2) the 4s races are bigger and I like racing in bigger fields
3) the masters races are mostly Cat 2 & 3 racers with years of experience, and I can't be competitive with them, they are not my peers, the 4's are more my peers. In other words - masters here is harder than 4's.

Oddly the cat 4's here are pretty old - most of the people I race against are 35-55 years old. There are a few younger gals who are lingering in the 4's but more of the young ones with talent rise quickly to the 3's and 2's, and for women around here it just seems like the older crowd are racing bikes, I don't know what the young ones are doing.

I just got enough upgrade points to cat up if I want, but I'm going to stay a 4 until the forced upgrade, then race 3s. At that point, I may look into masters racing, but this year most of the races had the 3s and the 45+s racing the same race scored separately, so it shouldn't matter much.


anyway. babbling. more interesting than work, which is what i should be doing. oops.
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Old 08-05-13, 09:43 AM   #19
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Isn't it 25 races with 10 top 10 finishes in packs of 30 or more? How many of your races had 30?

I'm a 4, racing age is 48.

In CO, we have a regional organization (BRAC) that has a web site that shows our upgrade points for the last 12 months (it should be since the start of 2012, but they haven't updated the web site to match the rule change on that). Maybe you guys have something like that too?

This shows how many points you get for each type of race/result, you can figure out how many points you got for all your races:
http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=580

Here's another source of the same info, summarized in a very easy to use way:
http://www.coloradocycling.org/sites...e_criteria.pdf

It's not clear to me when/if points from masters races can be applied towards catting up.

In the races around here, you don't have to be any particular category to race in masters, you just have to meet the age requirements. So that sounds like that's different from your area. The men's masters categories are usually broken out (45+_4, 45+_1,2,3, etc) but the women's fields are too small and aren't separated that way.

I have chosen to race category, not masters, for a couple of reasons.
1) I am still a beginner in terms of bike handling, race tactics, and pack skills. The masters around here are aggressive and bossy, and will rip you a new one if you make a mistake. They also manipulate races verbally. I don't want to join the masters until my skills are up to par, I know what I'm doing, and I can tell when I'm being manipulated.
2) the 4s races are bigger and I like racing in bigger fields
3) the masters races are mostly Cat 2 & 3 racers with years of experience, and I can't be competitive with them, they are not my peers, the 4's are more my peers. In other words - masters here is harder than 4's.

Oddly the cat 4's here are pretty old - most of the people I race against are 35-55 years old. There are a few younger gals who are lingering in the 4's but more of the young ones with talent rise quickly to the 3's and 2's, and for women around here it just seems like the older crowd are racing bikes, I don't know what the young ones are doing.

I just got enough upgrade points to cat up if I want, but I'm going to stay a 4 until the forced upgrade, then race 3s. At that point, I may look into masters racing, but this year most of the races had the 3s and the 45+s racing the same race scored separately, so it shouldn't matter much.


anyway. babbling. more interesting than work, which is what i should be doing. oops.
1) Pack skills are what I need, mostly in terms of tactics. I can handle the bike pretty well. Many of the 4's don't, and it drives me beyond bonkers.
2) The 4 races here are bigger, too, but wildly varied in terms of ability and skills within the pack.
3) Masters races here are just like your area. If you're not up to snuff, you'll be chewed up and spit out in short order. The sub 45 women are the toughest. They're skilled, savvy, and ruthless - true racers! You'd better be able to cope with that if you want to play in their sandbox.

The 4's here are mostly young. If you see a field with some older women in it (and I don't mean MY kind of older, but 40+), they're probably 3's. The fields here are almost always combined. The 3's are good racers, it's just trying to figure out who they are and sticking with them that's the challenge. It's only been recently that I've started to learn who people are.

I received a note from Ron Rouse at NCNCA this morning with some links to upgrade requirements. I have to figure out how many upgrade points I have, but I'm pretty sure I don't have 30. I haven't raced 25 races, even with last season thrown in the mix. Top ten finishes with fields of over thirty I've NEVER done.

Now, I have to get back to work, too!
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Old 08-05-13, 10:19 AM   #20
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I chased points/ top tens for a year in Cat 4 in my 50's mostly just so I could say I'm a 3.

Now that I've pretty much given up on upgrading to Cat 2, I just race Masters, unless the Cat 3 race is more convenient timing, or I want to double up.

At my current fitness level, the disadvantage to upgrading is that I'm not as competitive. I pretty much knew I had a chance to win or place in any Cat 4 race I entered. Currently in the 3's, I'm finishing mid pack, and not a real threat to place.

Just riding around with the pack is not nearly as much fun as racing to win. So, I've got to step up my game, downgrade, or quit.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:56 AM   #21
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I chased points/ top tens for a year in Cat 4 in my 50's mostly just so I could say I'm a 3.

Now that I've pretty much given up on upgrading to Cat 2, I just race Masters, unless the Cat 3 race is more convenient timing, or I want to double up.

At my current fitness level, the disadvantage to upgrading is that I'm not as competitive. I pretty much knew I had a chance to win or place in any Cat 4 race I entered. Currently in the 3's, I'm finishing mid pack, and not a real threat to place.

Just riding around with the pack is not nearly as much fun as racing to win. So, I've got to step up my game, downgrade, or quit.
Step up your game! My vote!
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Old 08-05-13, 01:08 PM   #22
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I just finished the USAC Upgrade Calculator. Upgrade Points = 0

First Season.
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Old 08-05-13, 01:42 PM   #23
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Why should Masters worry about upgrading? It depends.

In no particular order:
  1. To be able to race at US Masters National Championships. For men, below age 55 you have to be Cat 3 or higher. I think you have to be Cat 4 or higher for 55 and older, but I'm not sure. For Masters women, I'm not sure what or if category requirements exist. The info is not on the current Masters National Road Championship web site.
  2. To be able to ride in Masters or Elite Cat 1/2/3 races. Why a Cat 3 Master would want to race in an Elite 1/2/3 race is beyond me. <sarcasm>
  3. To be able to tell you parents, siblings, relatives, and friends that you're a Cat 1 or Cat 2 racer. <more sarcasm>
  4. Because you're goal oriented. Getting upgrade points motivates you to train and race harder.
Me? I'm in the so-called ultimate category for men -- Cat 3. Since I've been racing when we rode fast to outrun dinosaurs (think Amateur Bicycle League of America), I got to Cat 3 by racing as a Junior and getting a couple of results; not wins, but some places. Back in the 1980s I had enough points to upgrade to Cat 2 but I didn't because I knew my place in the pond. I could hang in in Cat 1/2/3 races (there were no pros to speak of back then) but I couldn't really race. I stayed in Cat 3 so that I could try to win which, by the way, I never did as a Senior Men Cat 3 (more ancient terminology).

So now I'm in an almost worse situation. I'm a Cat 3 Master who gets to race almost all the time with guys who:
  • Were former pros
  • Were former world, national, or state champions
  • Are current world, national, or state champions
  • Are current Cat 1 and Cat 2 racers
  • Are professional Masters (retired and able to train like they're pros )
However, as the kids say, "It's all good." Riding and racing are better than the alternative. I can hardly wait until I can be a professional Master.
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Last edited by Cleave; 08-05-13 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-05-13, 03:12 PM   #24
merlinextraligh
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^ I don't think we have as many ex pros here, but I feel your pain.
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Old 08-05-13, 04:03 PM   #25
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For me, I can't use the "ability" card, because most masters women (35+, that is) are stronger than I'll ever be. 50+ is another story, but that's besides my point. That point is bike handling and race dynamics. The operative words are "predictable" and "smooth". Oh, it makes such a difference! I've been in 4 fields all season, and through the season I've seen progression in other rider's skills sure enough. Do one race with masters women, though, and OMG. After a couple of laps I was hooked. I didn't have to worry about lines through corners, surges off of every corner, and yo-yoing. That stuff was either not there, or so much smoother that it was barely noticeable. In all, it made it so much easier to RACE because I wasn't as nervous and I wasn't wasting precious energy trying to cope with unnecessary surges.

I don't know, right now it's more about thinking this over. I've still a lot to learn, such as this exercise in catting up. I'm likely fine where I am, and it's nothing I can change, anyway. Discussion is good, though.
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