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How long did it take you to upgrade from Cat4 to Cat3?

"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.
View Poll Results: How long did it take for you to upgrade from Cat4 to Cat3?
1 year or less
44
75.86%
1-2 years
8
13.79%
2-3 years
2
3.45%
3 years and up
4
6.90%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

How long did it take you to upgrade from Cat4 to Cat3?

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Old 04-21-18, 07:30 PM
  #76  
Radish_legs
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I have thick skin, or I wouldn't be here.
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Old 04-21-18, 07:32 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
I have thick skin, or I wouldn't be here.
Don't worry. A few more seasons of crit races and you'll likely have enough scar tissue on all your bony bits that it'll peel away like paintchips. I grazed a table corner the other day and ripped off two layers of scar tissue like I was peeling a banana.
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Old 04-21-18, 07:39 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Don't worry. A few more seasons of crit races and you'll likely have enough scar tissue on all your bony bits that it'll peel away like paintchips. I grazed a table corner the other day and ripped off two layers of scar tissue like I was peeling a banana.
It's a minor miracle that I haven't crashed yet this season in all these C crits I have been doing. I have had two full body side-by-side collisions, and I have been off the course in the grass/gravel 5 times.

Part of why I am starting to lift weights again. I want my bones to be strong. Praying for no broken bones, and no crashes.
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Old 04-21-18, 08:24 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
In my second season, still a Cat 4. By choice. Lots of people have told me not to be in a hurry to upgrade to 3.
I'm curious...

Are you racing the same course against the same people, every week? Or are you racing different type races and courses?
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Old 04-21-18, 09:25 PM
  #80  
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Its real simple, if you've won in the 4's, upgrade, if you haven't stick around and see if you can. Winning is rare in this sport and you may not get close at the next level.

Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Look, Rubik, have some self-awareness, it's a topic of interest to a few people around here. When should people upgrade or not. It was kind of fun to see a young mattm talking about upgrading to 3. Lighten up.

I notice most of the people in that thread are long gone. Maybe they were driven off the board? I don't know how that could happen. Shocking.
I've lurked here for 10 years or so and most either get banned or lose interest in the sport or forum. Really the only people driven off the board are newer racers that show some bravado and overstep their knowledge base (I've been guilty of that). To be fair, when a Cat 5 starts correcting a guy with 10 years of racing (and that happens alot) can see why people get annoyed.

The newer guys are excited about racing as well and just want to contribute, I don't see it as intentionally malicious.

Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Don't give up. I don't know if I have been granted the right yet to actually give advice to another cyclist in this forum (many people over the past year have criticized me for it). One thing that I am doing different this year is not worrying about results or points or upgrades, I'm just doing it for fun. I'm trying to get fit, I'm trying to learn to be a better racer, but I'm not obsessing about outcomes. If racing becomes unfun because of lack of results, then you might benefit from changing your outlook. Work for your teammates. Let fitness build up over the season. Just enjoy the experience. There's no shame in being a 4 for a long time. Some of the successful 4s around here have been racing for 4 years straight.
I probably take this too seriously, but I think everyone here does. Right now I'm getting back into it and doing too much dumb stuff in races, but fitness wise I think I'm 'okay'. It would also help if I would stop being afraid of my chain snapping or slipping when I sprint; I'm basically hitting 500 less on my peak power because of that 'fear'. I love racing but if it ever gets to a point where I think there is zero chance of me ever stepping atop a podium I don't really see the point. That's far from the case tho.

Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
We have guys in my area that are basically cat 4s for life. For example, some of the guys who race the 35+ 4/5 every year, and regularly do well and have many podiums. But they are certainly not at the level of 40+ racing. That's night and day.

We have many guys in our area that have mandatory upgrade points in a season, and it's never enforced from what I can tell.

The reason I found this thread is I wanted to read a discussion on the pros and cons of upgrade to 3. I think I already know how I'm going to approach it. When I feel like riding in the A crits is a challenge I want to take on, time to upgrade to 3. That will probably be this season.

Of course certain strengths lend themselves to upgrading quicker, for example, having a good sprint in pack finishes. Sprints happen regularly in the 4/5. Much more rare in the 3/4 and 1/2/3, so theoretically you could have a hard time upgrading to 3, but actually excel in racing as a 3 because you have more of a breakaway physiology and mindset. At least I would think.

I have a buddy that they tried to ban from the local C crit as a Cat 5, because of his success this season. He pointed out that he had submitted his upgrade, but it had not been approved yet, and he had only been on the podium once in this particular crit.

Speaking of upgrades, I'm not sure how I feel about the "I'm a cat 1 mountain biker, so I should be allowed to upgrade to 4 after a single crit, and then start racing 3/4." Apparently this is happening in my area. I don't think any of these guys have actually won a 4/5 crit yet.

It's also possible that I may not be allowed to upgrade to 3 because all of my points are from weeknight crits (apparently this happens sometimes as well).
I could probably upgrade on 35+ 4/5 crits, even though racing here is down we have a crop of talented 20 year olds in the 4's. Those 4/5 masters races are largely eliminated for 30+ 3/4 (which, I don't really see 30 as 'masters' I mean, people win grand tours at that age) because a lot of Cat 3 Masters didn't want to race in the Masters 123's.
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Old 04-21-18, 09:46 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
I'm curious...

Are you racing the same course against the same people, every week? Or are you racing different type races and courses?
In my case I've just been racing the local weeknight crits in the Dallas area. This is a big enough area that there can be a different crowd from week to week. And as the season progresses, the number of racers dwindle somewhat, and the quality also goes down (due to people upgrading, and others just losing interest). So winning in July is not the same thing as winning in March.

This year we have 3 weeknight crits in the Dallas area, and 1 in the Fort Worth area. We have of course some regional-type crit events as well as road races of various kinds.

Some people are very serious about this stuff. I'm not. Sort of like softball. For some people, softball is their lives. And they travel and do weekend tournaments and play in multiple leagues on weeknights. For others of us, we play once a week, and that is good enough.

If there was no challenge, I would stop doing it. But obviously there is plenty of challenge, just in doing the crits. I have many top 10s in the 3/4 weeknight crits, but only one podium. I'd like to do a road race, but so far my schedule has not allowed for me to do it. I think I might be actually have more talent for road racing than crits, but I'll never know if I don't get to do it. Sorry for the long answer.
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Old 04-22-18, 06:36 AM
  #82  
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My question for you RL is why do you worry so much about category?

You frequently refer to people by what category they race in, and I wonder why? It's not really that important to a lot of people, nor is it always an accurate reflection of one's ability/strength. I know Cat 4s who easily would be 2s if they raced enough. And I know 2s who would struggle in a 4 race because they haven't ridden/trained consistently for several years.

Also, do you do this much hand-wringing in your real life? You spent two years stressing about whether to race. Now you are stressing about your racing category and whether to upgrade.
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Old 04-22-18, 07:41 AM
  #83  
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I'll play!! I upgraded to 3's after a season for one reason, to race with the 1,2,3's in the weekly crit race. In the 4,5 race, I was competing and generally winning the sprints, every 3rd lap, and in contention for the win of the race. It was great fun, but I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to ride faster, and holy moly did I. Was I ready at that level, probably not. No regrets, and depending on how that race goes I can hang. If it gets single file, nasty wind I get dropped. I am also 30 years older than many so no big deal. Road race 3's, not a problem in general. Fast, tight crits, my lack of skills is not my legs, but my willingness to nail the corners, time after time. So i say just go for it Radish! Make that jump, the worse that happens is you get dropped!
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Old 04-22-18, 09:47 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
I'm not even a 4 yet, so I'll have to get back to this thread later (hopefully). I hope to make it to the 3's in at most two years, we'll see.
Had to look this up; took me 18 races (about 3 months) to get from 4->3.
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Old 04-22-18, 12:18 PM
  #85  
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Ah - I found my racing palmares regarding my progress from 4->3 on Youtube...

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Old 04-22-18, 01:43 PM
  #86  
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I don't really know the answer. It was before some of you were born :/
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Old 04-22-18, 02:54 PM
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FF, it seems to me that within 3-4 years, 80-90% turnover in the lower levels of racing, i.e. cat 3/4/5. Seems like it is not that many people that stick with it. Of the guys doing it for a long time, many of them are cat 2 or higher.

I guess what I'm saying is that most people tire of racing within a couple years.
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Old 04-22-18, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post

I guess what I'm saying is that most people tire of racing within a couple years.

I think most people tire of constantly losing at racing within a couple years.

It can be a total mindf*** to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars a year to go and get shelled repeatedly. And even if you clear that hurdle, there's an enormous difference between packfodder and the front.

Hell, I still find myself contemplating why I'm wasting my time with this sport every time I have a bad race. My seasons are typically mediocre, with a few devastating lows and maybe one to two monumental highs. It's those highs that grab you and keep you coming back (for some).
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Old 04-22-18, 04:54 PM
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I've got a friend, he's now abou 60yo, and he has raced for a long, long time. He finishes on the back almost every time. And he's pretty pumped when he finishes with the pack. He has no illusions about winning. But he loves to race. And he's out there almost every week in the crits. Guys like him are definitely the exception.

The part I am trying to learn and like is working for a team.
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Old 04-22-18, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
In my case I've just been racing the local weeknight crits in the Dallas area. This is a big enough area that there can be a different crowd from week to week. And as the season progresses, the number of racers dwindle somewhat, and the quality also goes down (due to people upgrading, and others just losing interest). So winning in July is not the same thing as winning in March.

This year we have 3 weeknight crits in the Dallas area, and 1 in the Fort Worth area. We have of course some regional-type crit events as well as road races of various kinds.

Some people are very serious about this stuff. I'm not. Sort of like softball. For some people, softball is their lives. And they travel and do weekend tournaments and play in multiple leagues on weeknights. For others of us, we play once a week, and that is good enough.

If there was no challenge, I would stop doing it. But obviously there is plenty of challenge, just in doing the crits. I have many top 10s in the 3/4 weeknight crits, but only one podium. I'd like to do a road race, but so far my schedule has not allowed for me to do it. I think I might be actually have more talent for road racing than crits, but I'll never know if I don't get to do it. Sorry for the long answer.
Thanks for clarifying. I was curious, as we have a Wednesday night crit, and they break it down like that. Same track, one week clockwise, next week counter. Racing the same course would get old to me, but I get you have to do what you have to do.
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Old 04-23-18, 08:32 AM
  #91  
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Old 04-23-18, 10:38 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Thanks for clarifying. I was curious, as we have a Wednesday night crit, and they break it down like that. Same track, one week clockwise, next week counter. Racing the same course would get old to me, but I get you have to do what you have to do.
Our Tuesday night course is very exposed to the wind. So variable wind conditions and directions change things. Also who shows up. And how the races play out. This particular cup has a "cash cup" where the winning teams takes home something like $1000, so that is another motivating factor for guys to come out and work for their teams.

This kind of racing allows one to experiment with different strategies, and try and find out what you are good at.
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Old 04-23-18, 02:31 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
I guess what I'm saying is that most people tire of racing within a couple years.
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I think most people tire of constantly losing at racing within a couple years.
I think most people tire of pretty much anything after a few years.
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Old 04-23-18, 05:24 PM
  #94  
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My progression was 2 years of collegaite with ab it of summer racing. Then I got serious and put my training cap on. Got on the trainer over the winter and buckled down. Collegiate was hard and didn't get but a few points there. I then collected all my points in a summer of road / crit racing. I did all this without winning a cat 4 race, which is a big regret.

My 3>2 progress is pretty much going the same way. I'm ready to move up. I just need to do the right races so I can collect the points. I've been racing with our 1/2/3 field anyways, so I'm in no huge rush to get the points. I'll drop down and do some of the 3/4 races so I can get them and race in the 2 fields for the bigger out of state stuff next year. Oh, and I've won a couple of cat 3 races this time, which makes me a little more confident in my ability, even if my early season stage racing didn't go 100% like I wanted it to.
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Old 04-23-18, 08:31 PM
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why do you regret not winning as a 4?
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Old 04-24-18, 02:27 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
why do you regret not winning as a 4?
The reason I ask that is that it has been suggested to me that one ought not upgrade to 3 before one has had a "big" win.

I guess in my case, that would be winning one of the local state road races, or one of the regional big crits. Maybe Cat 4. Maybe 35 4/5. I've won three weeknight crits in 2 seasons.

I personally feel like winning a "big" race as a Cat 4 doesn't matter much to me, so I will probably upgrade before I even attempt a "big" race. just so I can start doing the local A crits on weeknights.

But maybe I would regret that. [hand wringing trigger alert].

Also as a master's racer, I think category tends to matter a bit less. As a Cat 4, you can still race the 35 4/5 or the 40+. There's more flexibility. And the incentive to go from 3 to 2 is pretty minor I think. My club has incentives for upgrades. The shop discount goes up for every upgrade. [category discussion ad nauseum trigger alert]

Last edited by Radish_legs; 04-24-18 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 04-24-18, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
The reason I ask that is that it has been suggested to me that one ought not upgrade to 3 before one has had a "big" win.

I guess in my case, that would be winning one of the local state road races, or one of the regional big crits. Maybe Cat 4. Maybe 35 4/5. I've won three weeknight crits in 2 seasons.

I personally feel like winning a "big" race as a Cat 4 doesn't matter much to me, so I will probably upgrade before I even attempt a "big" race. just so I can start doing the local A crits on weeknights.

But maybe I would regret that. [hand wringing trigger alert].

Also as a master's racer, I think category tends to matter a bit less. As a Cat 4, you can still race the 35 4/5 or the 40+. There's more flexibility. And the incentive to go from 3 to 2 is pretty minor I think. My club has incentives for upgrades. The shop discount goes up for every upgrade. [category discussion ad nauseum trigger alert]
How many points do you have?

A big win isn't a guarantee so maybe give a one or two a shot and then move up. I'd definitely upgrade at the end of the season at the latest. You've won a few and seem to be competitive in 3/4 races.

SCNCA is largely eliminating 4/5 masters races for 3/4 (often times 30+ which htf is that a masters age?) so our path is just as hard as a 30 year old moving up. I think they're doing this so the 3's are the end path (i.e. where crappy riders end up) and a bunch of riders screamed and yelled because guys getting podiums in 40+ 4/5 were getting slaughtered in 40+ 123 and 3's.
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Old 04-24-18, 03:26 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
The reason I ask that is that it has been suggested to me that one ought not upgrade to 3 before one has had a "big" win.
all I will say is that everyone with whom I've talked about this experienced the same thing. Winning in the 3s is great until you upgrade and race p12 and it takes all the shine off your previous wins.
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Old 04-24-18, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
How many points do you have?
I'm not sure. Results have not been sent in, and a certain number of points were when I was a cat 5. But I think after all that, I'm in the low 30s.
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Old 04-24-18, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I don't really know the answer. It was before some of you were born :/
I think the year of my first actual annual license was the first year they had cat 5. It was like 92 or 93. When you started didn't they only have 1/2 and 3?
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