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Old 04-22-13, 05:08 PM   #1
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Track Cycling Upgrade Requirements

So it's that time of the year where I dust off the bikes, renew the license, and have visions of grandeur.

I put in for my Track 5->4 upgrade since I've done the track class at Giordana plus raced a number of weeknight races (even though those don't technically count I guess, the class does).

I was reading about the 4->3 upgrade, and I don't understand it. Not that it really matters or there will be enough USAC events run at Giordana for me to make it, but I'd at least like to understand it. The relevant bit is below.

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National Championships and Cat A, B, and C events: 7, 5, 3, 2, and 1 for each event.
For all other events, upgrade points are 5,3,2,1 and are based on an omnium of the eventís races. If the race ran individual events but did not award omnium prizes, the points are still allocated as though they had run an omnium.
http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=2626 is the whole thing.

WTF does this mean? If you do an E track event (everything I see seems to be E, if it's USAC at all) that's a 2 day event, and has maybe 5 races, and you score it as an omnium, even though it's not an omnium, and even though you maybe won a race, you placed 5th overall when scored as an omnium, you get 0 points for that? Even if you win the whole weekend you get 5 points? Out of the 20 you need?

Does anyone ever actually upgrade on the track, or is USAC's grasp on track much less than the road and most stuff is run informally and under ATRA with just local velodrome assigned categories? Seems like even if I won every USAC event I could find within 200 miles this year I still probably wouldn't qualify for an upgrade.
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Old 04-22-13, 05:27 PM   #2
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So, yeah, there are rules and you're interpreting them pretty accurately. In order to upgrade, you need to be doing consistently well for a while. If you're head and shoulders above the rest, then, well, it's just a handful of wins or whatever until you upgrade. That's not so bad.

But from my experience at 3 or 4 velodromes, upgrades are usually pretty much at the discretion of the track director. A couple years ago one of my teammates just said, "Don't bother counting your points. One day you'll register and the track director will just look at you and say you're a 2 now." Sure enough, that's what happened. I was racing as a 2 well before my license, either hard copy or on the internet, said I was a 2.
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Old 04-22-13, 06:17 PM   #3
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I had this same confusion when I first started racing.

Undersand that:

- ATRA uses "A, B, C, D" to describe a racer's skill/speed level. "A" is top.
- USA Cycling uses "Pro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5" to describe a racer's skill/speed level. "Pro" is top.
- USA Cycling uses "A, B, C, D, E, F, G" to describe event types. "A" is top.
-- For example, "Saturday Night Lights at the San Diego Velodrome" is a "Category E" (Local) race.
-- USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals is a Category A (National) race.


Don't confuse earning 7 points for getting 1st in a local ATRA Category A 50 Lap Points race with getting 7 USA Cycling Licence Upgrade points for winning a 50 Lap Points race in a Category A National Championship event.


So, in short:
- Don't confuse ATRA ATHLETE Categories with USA Cycling EVENT Categories
- Technically, you cannot get USA Cycling Upgrade points for doing ATRA races. But, that just means that it's up to the USA Cycling Representatives discretion. When I upgraded from 5 to 4 and 4 to 3, they were all based on ATRA results at DLV. I simply submitted my race resume along with a link to my local results website. The rep will get a feel to see if you can handle racing at the requested level. He will likely also contact your local race director to see if you are competent (read: not squirrelly).
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Old 04-22-13, 06:54 PM   #4
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Yeah, it was mostly the omnium scoring thing that was confusing me. I know the ATRA a/b/c/d isn't the same as USAC event categories. Good to know about the discretion thing though. So if you're an ATRA C and winning some races and doing well and aren't a squirrel, you can probably submit to be a 3? Or something like that.
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Old 04-22-13, 07:40 PM   #5
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Yeah, it was mostly the omnium scoring thing that was confusing me. I know the ATRA a/b/c/d isn't the same as USAC event categories. Good to know about the discretion thing though. So if you're an ATRA C and winning some races and doing well and aren't a squirrel, you can probably submit to be a 3? Or something like that.
Yeah, something like that. But remember, the word of the track director who sees you every week will carry more weight than the results.

I'd consider talking to the track director first and getting his thoughts on the matter. "Hey ________, I'm considering applying for an upgrade to _____. What do you think?"
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Old 04-22-13, 07:46 PM   #6
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Gotcha. He knows me enough that he'll definitely say yes to an upgrade to 4. I don't have the results to upgrade to 3 right now anyway, nor any desire to, but I'll definitely talk to him before I ask for it.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:34 AM   #7
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As last year was my first year on the track moving from 5 > 4 took I think 6-8 weeks or so. In the big picture the difference on our track
was that I could race in the 50+ Masters where though I may not do any better I was pretty sure I would be riding with smarter, safer more experienced riders and in a smaller field.

Bottomline to me? It will take me many moons until I could get to a 3, maybe never.
In the mean time, I ride and have fun and hurt alot.

Opening night tommorow and NO MASTERS races.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:40 AM   #8
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Is upgrading optional? I'm already damn near half way to Cat 4, but my track groups 4s with 3s and I feel like I am no where near strong enough to actually compete with 3s.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:48 AM   #9
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Is upgrading optional? I'm already damn near half way to Cat 4, but my track groups 4s with 3s and I feel like I am no where near strong enough to actually compete with 3s.
Some people just stay in cat4 for a long time.
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Old 04-23-13, 04:50 PM   #10
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Is upgrading optional? I'm already damn near half way to Cat 4, but my track groups 4s with 3s and I feel like I am no where near strong enough to actually compete with 3s.
Upgrading, in it's most strict definition, isn't optional. It's a way to keep the racing fields even and competitive.

If a guy a consistently beating up the CAT4 field, then the director should move him to 3.

I have Masters teammates that race in the Elite CAT1 on the road and have applied to be downgraded to CAT2 and were denied because they are simply too strong and would demolish the 2s.

It's very possible to be in a "no man's land" of categories, like too strong for the CAT4 field but not strong enough to kick butt in the CAT3 field.

I watched a guy go from kicking butt in ATRA CAT B and being upgraded to CAT A. Then he suffered in the A's for 1.5 seasons and never won a race. Then he applied to be downgraded to B and regained his confidence.

It's not a perfect system.

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Some people just stay in cat4 for a long time.
Yup.
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Old 04-23-13, 05:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Yeah, something like that. But remember, the word of the track director who sees you every week will carry more weight than the results.

I'd consider talking to the track director first and getting his thoughts on the matter. "Hey ________, I'm considering applying for an upgrade to _____. What do you think?"
This is an accurate description of how things usually went when I was promoting a lot of track races (I stopped a couple years ago).
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Old 04-29-13, 05:18 PM   #12
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It's very possible to be in a "no man's land" of categories, like too strong for the CAT4 field but not strong enough to kick butt in the CAT3 field.
Statistically speaking, if you're kicking any kind of butt in your category and the categories are meant to be evenly matched you already should be moving up. Mid-pack ought to be taking up the vast majority of your finishes
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