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Compared to 5 years ago, are Cat 4/5 racers faster now?

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Compared to 5 years ago, are Cat 4/5 racers faster now?

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Old 04-24-18, 10:07 AM
  #51  
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Beginner racers gonna get them beginner gainz regardless of whether or not they train with power. I think you probably see more difference with guys who already have those beginner gains out of the way and have been in the sport for a while because they can better target weaknesses, which isn't what you're asking. The first couple of years a power meter is besides the point.

Reasons beginners may seem quicker than 5 years ago: aero frame, aero wheelset, aero helmet, aero clothing that breathes better (yo dawg i heard you like aero...) better brakes allowing for later braking, tires with lower rolling resistance that also corner better allowing for less braking, everything is made out of space age spider silk and weighs basically nothing.

edit: Gels taste better too! Ever eaten a sour apple power gel? Don't do it bros! You will dry heave and lose your race!

edit2 electric boogaloo: most of this stuff was around 5 years ago too, it's just a bit cheaper now.

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Old 04-24-18, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Thinking about the original question some more: Does it even matter?

What practical impact would there be if 4/5 racers were faster now than 4-5 years ago. At the top levels of sport, times are continually going down, which says people are getting stronger/faster/better. I don't attribute all of that to equipment because even runners are getting faster, though there is some discussion that we are approaching the limit at which a human can run 100m.
Mid distance up to 10k hasn't gotten faster. Peaked in the epo era. Marathon is a bit more incremental, and tech is allegedly helping there.
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Old 04-24-18, 12:43 PM
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They have not gotten faster. They were always this fast. The only thing that power has changed is that less people know how to race/ride outside of zwift.
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Old 04-24-18, 01:41 PM
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The competitive part of me hates this post because its low key looking for affirmation from the veteran 123 racers. Part of what motivates me is the assumption that acceptance has to be earned and never will be if you remain a 4.
Granted this logic has backfired on me in the past when I played billiards for years, and the day I finally won a major tournament I lost all interest. That being said, cycling has a much higher ceiling and it seems even if you're a Cat 1 you can still feel like you're on the bottom.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Locally, hands down no question 4's are faster. That's on a micro scale specific to the Inland Empire (kind of like Seattle's rock scene in the 90's). A lot of locals are getting wins and top 10's and compared to the 5 years ago we didn't have a chance against LA, Orange County, or San Diego racers. I attribute it to a bunch of athletic 20 year olds showing interest in the sport and the area having a fairly substantial support base (funding, free coaching, competitive group rides) for talented racers.

I just wonder once these guys cat up if they'll disspear into the nether of P123 races. The dude that can hold 1000 watts for 25 seconds probably wont, but others probably will.

Training rides today are essentially race simulations with full blown tactics now (3 teams show up with full squads and the intention of winning via tactics). Five years ago it was every racer for themselves. As a 4 riding solo its pretty damn demoralizing knowing every break you do has 2-3 guys assigned to cover it and there are planned surges to shake you off.
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Old 04-24-18, 02:08 PM
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I guess one of the points of the question is whether the bar to being able to sit and start racing has been increased.

But as a friend told me last year. Cat 4s are Cat 4s, no matter where they are, no matter what race. This was in reference to question whether a C race win at a certain crit was more prestigious than another crit (both weeknight crits).

I see very little in the way of team tactics in the weeknight crits I do in the C race. B race is an entirely different story, and it's the reason I joined another team this year. I wanted to be on a team that showed up to the crit that I do the most. Rather than race alone or with just one teammate.

Cat 4s have always been Cat 4s.

So when I become a Cat 3 is there a new hidden subforum that I get to join?
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Old 04-24-18, 02:49 PM
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The bar in this sport has always been stupid. I can't tell you the amount of people that have shown up to a race or group ride only to get dropped and never show up again. There's no finisher ribbon, no sympathy, and no acknowledgement for those starting out. Other sports there's some honor and encouragement in trying and coming in dead last, no so much here. I think that's one reason CX is growing compared to road (they don't pull racers and they competitively seed races).

I've always thought a great racing format would an all day tournament where races go every 30 minutes with no categories (or maybe 1,2,3 and 4,5). End up in the bottom half of the results, move down a bracket, top half move up one.
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Old 04-24-18, 04:29 PM
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I have been toying with an idea. i ran it by some of our officials. I might end up doing it. The just is that I put 2 cat 5 races on the schedule. One is labeled "beginners" or "citizen". In order to race in it you have to pre-reg. That gives me time to look up past results, check out your social media, etc. If I believe you're simply new to the sport but in reality an athlete that has already been training with a power meter and coaching, etc but are just now starting to race then you go into the "other" cat 5 race. If you're truly new and not even sure you should do this then you get to race beginner. If you do well (podium) in beginner - you're over to the other cat 5 race for the next day in the omnium.
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Old 04-24-18, 04:34 PM
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the 35+ seems to have gotten faster, but I think maybe i've just gotten a lot slower
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Old 04-24-18, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post

edit: Gels taste better too! Ever eaten a sour apple power gel? Don't do it bros! You will dry heave and lose your race!
I tried the "tastefully nude" flavor of gu gel this past weekend in a race. That was damn near the worst taste I've ever had. Put my stomach in knots for the next like 20 miles.

I'll be honest (and this is gross) it tasted like how I imagine male ...fluid... to taste. Never experienced this (and no plan to) but holy **** it was so bad. With a name like Tastefully nude combined with this taste, I nearly contemplated throwing it back up.
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Old 04-24-18, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
The competitive part of me hates this post because its low key looking for affirmation from the veteran 123 racers. Part of what motivates me is the assumption that acceptance has to be earned and never will be if you remain a 4.
Granted this logic has backfired on me in the past when I played billiards for years, and the day I finally won a major tournament I lost all interest.
Personally I respect those who stick with the sport, even if they never upgrade at all. I get annoyed at the people that fly through categories and then quit racing after like two years (it happens).

To me, the respect part is about "the struggle" (lol if you can call it that.. not really but I think racers get what I mean), not how fast you are or which category your license says you are.

That being said, cycling has a much higher ceiling and it seems even if you're a Cat 1 you can still feel like you're on the bottom.
There's always a bigger fish out there, ready to swallow you up.

I bet the domestic elite guys who end up doing Tour of Utah & CO probably get yelled at and pushed around by the World Tour pros. (ok except for when they win, but still)
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Old 04-24-18, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ttoc6 View Post
I'll be honest (and this is gross) it tasted like how I imagine male ...fluid... to taste. Never experienced this (and no plan to) but holy **** it was so bad. With a name like Tastefully nude combined with this taste, I nearly contemplated throwing it back up.
Utah. Can't say semen and it's a vile substance.
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Old 04-25-18, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post



There's always a bigger fish out there, ready to swallow you up.

I bet the domestic elite guys who end up doing Tour of Utah & CO probably get yelled at and pushed around by the World Tour pros. (ok except for when they win, but still)
There was an article about that a couple of years ago. Basically how the worldtour pros looked down on the pro-conti guys, who looked down on the conti guys. Always ready to blame them for the littlest issues or any crashes or anything. Also said how Sagan would just push anyone out of his way he wanted to get position.

And it makes sense, I guess. Guys at the top feel entitled over the guys not. Last year Alzate from UHC just shoved me out of the way at Gateway with his hand. Just in the middle of the field, in the middle of the race. Just so he could move out that very second. And it's crazy tough trying to push into a line in a prt race or something if you're wearing an amateur jersey. Just so little respect.

But I guess it happens at every level. I won't hesitate to move in on a cat 2 or 3 at the end of a race simply because I don't think they'll go fast enough and I want to be in front of them.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:27 AM
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I think there is a lot of 'get-off-my-lawn' from the older/higher-cat racers on this whole topic. They don't want to believe that the lower categories are as fast/skilled as them, so they purposely downplay their abilities to make the higher categories seem better.

An announcer at one of my first Cat 4 racers was consistently giving out terribly incorrect numbers to the crowd.
"These Cat 4 racers aren't as powerful as the higher categories, they'll average about 19-20mph around the lap....blah blah blah."

Dude....I was just dropped/pulled from the Cat4/5 race and my average before being pulled was 24mph.

I asked around after the race and total 45 minute average was like 23 mph with the last lap around 26 mph.
I approached the announcer later and mentioned it in casual conversation, his response was "Nah, they're Cat 4/5, they didn't look like they were going that fast." So apparently his eyes are a better judge than our GPS/Speed sensors.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:40 AM
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announcers are notoriously clueless. in all sports. ever listen to baseball guys fill 4 hours? or the usa crits guy?

still, you wildly underestimate the extent to which a better, upper cat rider could dismantle lower category riders. there's a hell of a lot more to it than avg speed. that's 41 stuff.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:59 AM
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If you want to think that riding 24mph for 2hrs is essentially equivalent to doing a reasonably chill the-right-break-got-away-so-ima-chat-with-my-friends 24.5 for 3.5hrs, please do your thing.
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Old 04-25-18, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
I think there is a lot of 'get-off-my-lawn' from the older/higher-cat racers on this whole topic. They don't want to believe that the lower categories are as fast/skilled as them, so they purposely downplay their abilities to make the higher categories seem better.
.


Are you serious?
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Old 04-25-18, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I have been toying with an idea. i ran it by some of our officials. I might end up doing it. The just is that I put 2 cat 5 races on the schedule. One is labeled "beginners" or "citizen". In order to race in it you have to pre-reg. That gives me time to look up past results, check out your social media, etc. If I believe you're simply new to the sport but in reality an athlete that has already been training with a power meter and coaching, etc but are just now starting to race then you go into the "other" cat 5 race. If you're truly new and not even sure you should do this then you get to race beginner. If you do well (podium) in beginner - you're over to the other cat 5 race for the next day in the omnium.
Me in July of 2017 (had only 1000 miles in my legs, got dropped, lapped, and pulled easily) would have loved the first race.

Me now, after 26 weeks of training during Winter, mostly indoor with a powermeter, loves the idea of the second race.
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Old 04-25-18, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There was an article about that a couple of years ago. Basically how the worldtour pros looked down on the pro-conti guys, who looked down on the conti guys. Always ready to blame them for the littlest issues or any crashes or anything. Also said how Sagan would just push anyone out of his way he wanted to get position.

And it makes sense, I guess. Guys at the top feel entitled over the guys not. Last year Alzate from UHC just shoved me out of the way at Gateway with his hand. Just in the middle of the field, in the middle of the race. Just so he could move out that very second. And it's crazy tough trying to push into a line in a prt race or something if you're wearing an amateur jersey. Just so little respect.

But I guess it happens at every level. I won't hesitate to move in on a cat 2 or 3 at the end of a race simply because I don't think they'll go fast enough and I want to be in front of them.
My guess is this is it, not a lack of respect.

If it's the closing lap of a 1/2 race and I'm in big pain, I know I'm probably gonna get to the sprint and go backwards. While I may wanna see if I can eek out a top 20 or something silly, I'm well aware of all the races I could eff up if I blow up. So I keep all gaps closed and when I'm gonna blow I try and do it where it won't mess with anyone's race.

But OTOH, I try and save as much energy as possible or else I won't survive. And this requires purposely moving to the front with the sole goal of letting others come around to shut down moves (not closing laps). And it pisses some people off - e.g. "get out of the way if you won't spew watts with us". I gotta just ignore the ******** who yell or yell back lol. But it seems the majority by the time they get to cat 2 or 1 do know that everyone has a different agenda at any point in the race.
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Old 04-25-18, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
The bar in this sport has always been stupid. I can't tell you the amount of people that have shown up to a race or group ride only to get dropped and never show up again. There's no finisher ribbon, no sympathy, and no acknowledgement for those starting out....
I think you are 100% on point.

Older fellow in his 60s started racing at the same time I did (Cat 5 - Socal area). He did 3 crits, got dropped in all of them, got pulled in all of them. His results online only show 1 race with a DNF.

He hasn't been back since.
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Old 04-25-18, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
announcers are notoriously clueless. in all sports. ever listen to baseball guys fill 4 hours? or the usa crits guy?

still, you wildly underestimate the extent to which a better, upper cat rider could dismantle lower category riders. there's a hell of a lot more to it than avg speed. that's 41 stuff.
I'm not wildly underestimating anything. I know upper category riders are much better than lower in almost every way. But I think there is a degree of "I'm at Cat 1/2/3, so Cat 4/5s suck and couldn't possibly know something or be skilled, so I won't entertain the idea that they might." Further, the OP title was "...are Cat 4/5 faster now?". I've seen plenty of Cat 3 races that were faster than the P/1/2. The Cat 3 stayed mostly together, the P/1/2 had an early break that stayed away. Speed isn't an indicator of effort required or difficulty, I know this and never implied it was.

Also, this announcer is supposedly a former racer/hotshot, so he shouldn't be clueless. It's not the local radio DJ or something.

Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
If you want to think that riding 24mph for 2hrs is essentially equivalent to doing a reasonably chill the-right-break-got-away-so-ima-chat-with-my-friends 24.5 for 3.5hrs, please do your thing.
I don't think that and never insinuated that at all. As I said above, I don't believe average speed to be an indicator of difficulty of a race. But I do think there is a perception that lower cats are just slower, which isn't always the case.

Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post


Are you serious?
A handful of posts above jump straight to the "Well, Cat 4/5 pack skills suck". The OP question was about 'faster' not 'better' or 'more skilled'. I'm responding to the implied correlation of "less skilled == slower".

I believe, as my posts above state, that today's Cat 4/5 racers are very likely 'faster' than they were 5+ years ago. This is due to Zwift/powermeters/coaches/aero bikes/etc.
I do _not_ believe the are 'better/more skilled' than riders were 5+ years ago.
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Old 04-25-18, 02:56 PM
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Man this place is hopping today and Radish dude isn't even here to quote his own posts and give definitive answers.
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Old 04-25-18, 02:58 PM
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I think (know) you're underestimating how hard it really is to do intelligent play by play, whether you know your stuff or not. The reason talk radio hosts steam roll callers is it's hard.

The OP was asking if 4/5s are stronger than they were. they really aren't. there's no evidence that they are. 1s aren't stronger either. You get some blips, sure, but for the most part things just aren't that different. Some guys may be more fit in march in cold weather climates, but overall changes aren't really great.
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Old 04-25-18, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post


A handful of posts above jump straight to the "Well, Cat 4/5 pack skills suck". The OP question was about 'faster' not 'better' or 'more skilled'. I'm responding to the implied correlation of "less skilled == slower".

I believe, as my posts above state, that today's Cat 4/5 racers are very likely 'faster' than they were 5+ years ago. This is due to Zwift/powermeters/coaches/aero bikes/etc.
I do _not_ believe the are 'better/more skilled' than riders were 5+ years ago.
If you're referring to my posts, then no.

It said that there are all of these cat 4s and 5s with 4+ w/kg thresholds and all who have no results because they don't know how to race. Which is pretty much a fact and is precisely what almost everyone experiences when they start out. I didn't have a clue how to race as a cat 4, and even as a 3 it was a steep learning curve. Hell, I've been a cat 1 for 14 years now and I learn (or relearn) how to be a better racer in nearly every race I do.

And yes, less skilled does = slower. Can't corner well? Slower. Can't descend well? Slower. Can't hide in the pack well? Slower, etc., etc.

And nearly everyone else on here that's actually made it through the 4s disagrees that they're faster.

Last edited by rubiksoval; 04-25-18 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 04-25-18, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post



I don't think that and never insinuated that at all. As I said above, I don't believe average speed to be an indicator of difficulty of a race. But I do think there is a perception that lower cats are just slower, which isn't always the case.


Here's the thing about upper category races (and pro races), and even for cat 5 races for dudes that have never raced.

It's very rarely about how fast they're going at any particular time.

It's how fast they're going when they are going full-on fast. It's the surges.

A cat 3/4 surge is nothing like a p/1/2 surge, which is typically not really similar to a PRT surge. It doesn't matter whatever you think you're capable of because you see a 24 mph average speed. What matters is how long you hold on to the 35 mph surge. And then the 2nd one. And then the 3rd one.
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Old 04-25-18, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
My guess is this is it, not a lack of respect.

If it's the closing lap of a 1/2 race and I'm in big pain, I know I'm probably gonna get to the sprint and go backwards. While I may wanna see if I can eek out a top 20 or something silly, I'm well aware of all the races I could eff up if I blow up. So I keep all gaps closed and when I'm gonna blow I try and do it where it won't mess with anyone's race.

But OTOH, I try and save as much energy as possible or else I won't survive. And this requires purposely moving to the front with the sole goal of letting others come around to shut down moves (not closing laps). And it pisses some people off - e.g. "get out of the way if you won't spew watts with us". I gotta just ignore the ******** who yell or yell back lol. But it seems the majority by the time they get to cat 2 or 1 do know that everyone has a different agenda at any point in the race.
I was looking for that article but couldn't find it. Did find one from Phil Gaimon where he talks about justifying some of his a-hole riding. Usually his posts are like written diarrhea, but this stuck out since it's related:

Regarding continental pros:

"-You know how you get annoyed when an amateur tries to take your wheel at a local race? To the WorldTour guys, you’re an amateur."
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