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  1. #1
    Cycle for Life
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    I have always wanted to know but never got around to is so please explain them.

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    United State Cycling Federating categorys for USCF races. Everybody starts as a Cat 5.After 10 races you can upgrade on experience. To go from Cat 4 to Cat 3, it's based on results, but the officials have some discretion. To go to Cat 2 , again on results, and it gets harde rthe farther you go up.
    Essentially Cat 5 is beginners. Cat 4, above begginnners. Cat 3 is where it starts to get fairly serious. Cat 2 riders are basically the strongest local to regional riders, and Cat 1's are elite, at the national team level.

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    . bbattle's Avatar
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    This is Cat 4:




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    Senior Member geraldatwork's Avatar
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    Curious what the average speeds are of the different categories.

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    SAB
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    That's really more dependent on the race than which catagory. A Cat 5 road race can be 25+ mph average if it's flat with a tail wind. In general cat 4/5 races are around 20-25, for shorter road races and criteriums, in my personal experience. Cat 1/2's are in the pro speed range, maybe 30+ mph. Speed, however, really is relative and highly variable. And remember that "average" speed means half the time it's faster and half the time it's slower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAB
    And remember that "average" speed means half the time it's faster and half the time it's slower.
    I don't mean to pick nits, but isn't that the definition of the median speed, not the average? I.e., the middle point between the high and low....

  7. #7
    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle


    Much like the rest of the R600DuraAce humor, that pic is timeless. I always giggle when I see it.


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    demon speeder soda's Avatar
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    thank you for showing that pic again..... I love that pic!!! hilarious!!
    *insert some super cool statement here to make me as cool as the rest of the super cool signature gang*

  9. #9
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    Yeah I just read that whole thread RE: that pick a couple days ago. Amazing. I'm a strong Cat 3 and have done some training lately with our elite (Cat 1/2) squad. I'm so over my head that my nose bleeds...to have a high level of hubris and be a Cat 4 is just so lame.
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    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Cat 5s sleep in a warm bed.
    Cat 1s sleep in truck stops.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geraldatwork
    Curious what the average speeds are of the different categories.
    It's not really about average-speed so much as max-speed:

    cat-4/5: 24-27mph ave, 32-33 max
    cat-3: 26-30mph ave, 35-40 max
    cat-1/2/pro: 28-32mph ave, 42-47 max

    During the races, they'll be moments when they'll take off, could be going up a hill, or right after a prime-sprint, or coming out of a tight-corner. They'll do it over and over again, 20->40mph, 25->45mph, multiple times per race, multiple times PER MINUTE even. If you can't hit this max-speed and hang on, doesn't matter what the average is, you're dropped and gonna get pulled.

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    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    It's not really about average-speed so much as max-speed:

    cat-4/5: 24-27mph ave, 32-33 max
    cat-3: 26-30mph ave, 35-40 max
    cat-1/2/pro: 28-32mph ave, 42-47 max

    doesn't matter what the average is, you're dropped and gonna get pulled.
    Umm, is there a Cat 6 or 7 for me?
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    It's not really about average-speed so much as max-speed:

    cat-4/5: 24-27mph ave, 32-33 max
    cat-3: 26-30mph ave, 35-40 max
    cat-1/2/pro: 28-32mph ave, 42-47 max

    During the races, they'll be moments when they'll take off, could be going up a hill, or right after a prime-sprint, or coming out of a tight-corner. They'll do it over and over again, 20->40mph, 25->45mph, multiple times per race, multiple times PER MINUTE even. If you can't hit this max-speed and hang on, doesn't matter what the average is, you're dropped and gonna get pulled.

    I'm assuming these are numbers for men? I'm curious where you found these and if you have similar values for women.

  14. #14
    Robosapien substructure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLBandit
    Umm, is there a Cat 6 or 7 for me?
    No kidding!
    What are the tiny tots doing on tricycles these days? I may be able to keep up with them.

  15. #15
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    Ditto to what danno said...

    Women have no Cat 5, and as such the threshold seems a bit higher, furthermore the lack of women mean that unless you live in an area with a lot of women racers, Cats 1-4 race together frequently. Also women (at least around here) engage in extream blocking-they slow the peleton down to 12-13 mph for extended periods which skews the average. It's really annoying.

    That said, all cats combined road races on rolling terrain, 40+ miles, avg speed of 21-22, Crits are a little faster. The sprint usually gets around 30-32.

    When racing against other female pros, women can average 26-28 with sprints in the mid-upper 30s.

  16. #16
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    The average speeds posted at best give you a general flavor. bike racing is dynamic. Sometimes it is very fast and sometimes its pretty slow, depending on the course, the riders, and the tactics at work. Ironically, average speeds in Cat 5 can be pretty high. The reason being that you can always count on some inexperienced Cat 5s to take off from the gun, other inexperienced Cat 5's to chase in an unorginized fashion, and still other Cat 5's to launch suicidal breaks that have to be chased down. Thus, the race is always on in virtually every cat 5 race. In higher categories, when the racing gets going it's obviously faster than in Cat 5, but there are often periods where the pack isn't working that hard.

  17. #17
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah. A lot of the problem with cat 5 is you get guys who can in NO WAY sustain a break, but yet they still make them. OTOH though, you get guys who can hang out there all day. Its often difficult to tell if you have either or both of these in a break - so you end up chasing everything down. If you're in the draft, its not so bad though.

    The thing that gets really crazy in the higher levels is the accelerations. Out of every corner and up every hill the speed will VERY QUICKLY pick up to even higher speeds than the pack was carrying into the braking area. Then it slows back down a little. Its because of this that the people who can't handle that category are weeded out VERY QUICKLY in the higher levels, whereas in Cat4/5 there are usually guys dropping off at all points of the race from the first lap to the last corner.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    I'm assuming these are numbers for men? I'm curious where you found these and if you have similar values for women.
    It's just from memory after 10-years of racing. Although I've only done three cat-4 races, they are very similar to collegiate-C races. If you're fortunate in your area to have a womens-3/4 race, it'll be slightly slower in speed to a men's cat-4/5 race. The womens-1/2/pro race are similar to mens-3 races. Although it's usually the same small group of women winning these races all the time. They can usually do the mens-1/2/pro races without any problems.

    The thing that a lot of beginning racers don't realize is that bike-racing is about competition, NOT performance or fitness like most people familiar with track & field events, marathons, or swimming events think. You DO NOT run the course against yourself and the clock and compare times with others. It's more like picking up some boxing-gloves and getting into the ring with another competitor. It's more like wrestling, fencing, football, soccer or chess. Winning is about directly interacting with the others.

    So focusing on average speeds really isn't any indicator or predictor of how you'll do in a race. I've seen a tonne of super-fit athletes come in from other arenas of fitness sports like running or swimming and they can drop just about everyone on the training rides with blistering solo time-trial speeds of 27-28mph. Yet in a race, they're instantly off the back, or they crash and break bones; a lot of them quit early on in frustration.

    Bike racing is about mental-strategies and tactical-games. If you're good at chess or Risk or any of the warfare games, then you'll be familiar with the kinds mental posture that's required for bike-racing. Bike-handling skills is an often overlooked training requirement. Learning to visualize the fastest line through a corner and actually being able to manuever the bike on that line precisely is critically important. Sometimes in a race, you have to ride the gutter with your chainrings rubbing the kerb because someone's got their shoulder leaning on you pushing you down in the corners. Other times, you'll be in the middle of the pack going around a corner at 30mph and you'll be rubbing guys on both sides with your shoulders & elbows. At the end of a race, frequently they'll be guys shoving you off their teammate's wheel in setting up for a sprint. They'll pull off way to the other side of the street and dive back, slamming into you like a linebacker. Bike racing is more similar to combat-type sports such as boxing, wrestling or karate than it is to running track, marathons or swimming.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 01-05-06 at 10:17 PM.

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