Hey-- this thread is directed towards all cat 1 and cat 2 track cyclists. I was wondering how long (1 season...2..etc?) it took you guys to upgrade to your current category. I'm trying to set a realistic goal for myself (and of course I know it differs per persons ability)..but would like a general idea. Thanks!
Cat1 is very difficult to attain. USA Cycling has been changing the requirements for this for a long time. It use to be that you had to go to a different track and compete against a different field of 1/2s to even attain points.
Then they changed it to that you had to race against 25 or more riders to get upgrade points. Now to move from 1 to 2 is more of a call on the regional director level of your velodrome.
I am still a Cat3, but back at my old track in Minneapolis I am very close to being able to upgrade to cat2. Since we were never able to get the field size up to over 20 riders in the cat3s it is difficult to earn points so you had to earn omnium points and have a successful race resume to move up. It seemed that most people there would spend about a year at the cat3 level to move up.
Here in Chicago they have a really wierd upgrading system. Instead of earning points to move up like most other tracks you have to entertain an upgrade committee that decides if you are good enough to move up. They do this because they believe that their track is a little bit superior to other tracks and they want to keep the fields managable. I think it is kind of shady that people decide if you are good enough when it should be based on your results only.
I would now say that I am over a year away again to upgrade due to less known race results here and the loss of my USCF upgrade points from Blaine.
To be honest I haven't a clue how this works yet. Been riding the track quite out here...training sessions during the week, and practice racing on Saturdays. Not sure when point racing starts. Madison training is suppose to be soon. I assume I'll start as a 5 or a 4/5 and go from there.
Keep on coming out to ride and race. I ride at ADT all the time (and Encino more than a little). There should be regular racing starting up at ADT a little after the new year (after world cup), and I think the Encino schedule is posted already and starts in March.
You'll start as a 5, but races around here are usually broken down as 4/5 in one field, 1/2/3 in another, Masters 40+ in another, and sometimes women if enough show up. Otherwise the women ride in the mens fields. Watch out for 40+. Old doesn't make you slow-- there are some really fast (and very experienced) riders who are over 40.
What it means is that once you upgrade to 3 (which isn't that hard), you have to start beating 1's and 2's consistently enough to get the top ~5 omnium finishes you need for the formal upgrade process. I think the lack of separate fields is what led to the rule change several years ago to where it's pretty much up to your local track director how to do upgrades. Here in SoCal there are a lot of really strong and experienced 1's and 2's, as well as high level roadies who decide to try out track and spank the 4/5 field for a few sessions before someone makes them upgrade.
As far as most of the racing around here goes, once you're a 3 it doesn't make much difference to upgrade unless you want to ride the mass starts at Nats (have to be a 2) or travel to other tracks where the field separations may be done differently. In that case you bring a race resume and talk to your local director about upgrading.
The four tracks that I have raced have had the 4/5 field together, the 3 seperate, and a 1/2 field.
these are Piccolo, Blaine, Kenosha, and Northbrook.
For the most part, in my experience, the Cat. 3 field is the largest. This is where more experienced riders land after upgrading out of 4/5. This field is quite competitive because some riders want to upgrade to Cat. 2. It is fast and furious...some would say 2 Fast and 2 Furious(I love vin diesel!).
An Omnium is the overall point standings for a night.
For instance, all fields at blaine have three races per night. In each individual race the winner receives 5pts, second 3pts, third 2pts, and fourth 1pt. At the end of the night you total up the points given for all three races to get your overall winner. So within the omnium the max points is 15.
Then you take the final OMNIUM Tally and dole out points that go towards your upgrade...
Therefore, you need to get 20 points to upgrade to cat3 at Blaine. So you need to race for a minimum of 4 weeks and win the omnium in order to have 20points to upgrade to cat3.
Now from cat3 to cat2 is a little more difficult. You need to get 25points AND there has to be more than 20 racers in the field to obtain upgrade points. So that is where the difficulty lies.
Another point to be made is that all upgrade points don't carry over to the next season. It used to be that upgrade points carried over in full till the middle of July, or you would lose them. Now the only half of your upgrade points carry over for the entire next season. So I had 16 upgrade points in 2005. I now only have 8 points to upgrade to cat2. Argh.
This method of upgrading to the best of my knowledge is what is used by American Track Racing Association and USA Cycling. But, like mentioned before some tracks do it differently.
Hey thank you for all the info bitingduck and Super Rookie. Yeah...in track catting up has always seemed to be a gray area. I'm 22..so I'm just wondering..is only Cat 3 needed for Junior Natl Championships? My track can only upgrade people to 3..so I would have to travel to another track if I needed to be above that. Thanks!!