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Racing categories and fitness questions from a newbie

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Racing categories and fitness questions from a newbie

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Old 12-09-09, 02:32 PM
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RideCity
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Racing categories and fitness questions from a newbie

Hey, soon to be a first time road racer here. Pardon me if I repeat any obvious questions, i've utilized the search function in the forums quite a bit but i'm sure my questions have come up before regardless. I'm in my senior year of college and have been distance running competitively (D2) for the last 3 years. During my early collegiate years I was doing triathlons on the side, riding once or twice a week during the summer to supplement my running (main focus).

Most of the questions I have involve the USCF categories. I understand how the collegiate categories equate to the road categories. I'll be doing whatever's on the race schedule with my collegiate cycling team (only 3-5 races in my conference) and then racing every free weekend I have during the summer. Would the collegiate races count toward my 10 races to upgrade from cat 5 to 4, or would this be separate? What would be a reasonable set of goals to carry in to a season as far as catting up goes? I'd love to mix it up a little bit in the 3's by the end of the year. I'm hoping to do 15-20 road races/crits, with another 5-10 TT's as a workout. Does this seem like an adequate amount? Or would you say don't worry about it and just ride? I guess it's just nice to have a set of defined goals going in, but this is difficult as i'm new to this sport.

In regards to my fitness, i've remained fairly competitive on the running scene, and run in a couple national meets. I've got 5 years of running under my belt and i've got all winter to train until the snow melts and the roads are ready for racin'. When I went out and raced TT's 2 years ago I was in the realm of some local cat 3 guys, not that it means anything. I don't have much numbers wise: At the end of summer 07 I did 4.72W/kg in a 6minute MMP test, 28mph for a short (7 mi) TT, and 1:01 for a 40k TT in the midst of a tri. This should (hopefully) improve a lot as I transition to full time cycling. Really, it's not the fitness that is a huge concern to me. Obviously with the triathlon background there is a lot to learn for me in regards to the finer points of handling a bike, descending, riding in a group, etc, that one needs loads of experience to really key on.

With all that being said I open myself up to all advice and constructive criticism. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
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Old 12-09-09, 02:36 PM
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i didn't get past the first sentence.

read this, and come back in a week, or two.
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Old 12-09-09, 04:24 PM
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going from 5 -> 3 in 1 year is fairly ambitious (as in, probably a handful do this each year around the country... just a guess?)

your college races SHOULD (it may be discretionary) work for upgrade for 5->4.

i would not worry about how many races you want to do - most of us, given the chance would race 1-2 a week.
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Old 12-09-09, 04:25 PM
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First, running is a lot different than cycling, your running will help you a little, but don't expect a miracle.

Let me try to make this very simple. As far as I know, racing in collegiate will help you Cat #. If I were to go out and do some Cat 5 races, I would become a C quicker in collegiate racing. Im pretty sure it also work the other way around. So I'm pretty sure collegiate races count towards the ten. D=5, C=4, B=3, A=p1/2



As for moving up in the Cats, I think it is going to be very very hard to go from a cat 5 to 4 to 3 in one year. <--- don't worry about it, just ride.

"I'm hoping to do 15-20 road races/crits, with another 5-10 TT's as a workout." <--- don't worry about it, just ride.


Last edited by Caad 8; 12-09-09 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 12-09-09, 04:25 PM
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How can you be a newbie and refer to it as the USCF?
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Old 12-09-09, 04:32 PM
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Awesome, all I needed to know. Thanks guys. Ride on.
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Old 12-09-09, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
How can you be a newbie and refer to it as the USCF?
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Old 12-09-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
How can you be a newbie and refer to it as the USCF?
He is a chess player?
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Old 12-09-09, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post
First, running is a lot different than cycling, your running will help you a little, but don't expect a miracle.
True but there's a difference between being a "runner" and running national events on a collegiate level. He already probably has a great aerobic system and good endurance, and it's not like it's his first time on a bike either. I think the only thing that could stop him from getting to the 3's in one year would be tactics.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:22 PM
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Um.

Nomad was a 4 for like 2 years and he's strong as ****.

Distance running is steady state, cycling has countless accelerations. I doubt the OP's stead state is going to help him with that. That stuff takes a year or so to train for unless you're genetically gifted or if you get lucky with the kind of stuff you did before.

Also, it depends on the races. Great steady state won't help much in the bunch sprint of every 4's crit.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Um.

Nomad was a 4 for like 2 years and he's strong as ****.

Distance running is steady state, cycling has countless accelerations. I doubt the OP's stead state is going to help him with that. That stuff takes a year or so to train for unless you're genetically gifted or if you get lucky with the kind of stuff you did before.

Also, it depends on the races. Great steady state won't help much in the bunch sprint of every 4's crit.
I'm gonna file that under tactics...

I don't know many 4's that can roll a 1 hour 40k tt, let alone do it after a swim and before a run. Who knows if he even had any aero gear. With that kind of strength I'm pretty sure he can roll off the front of enough races to get the upgrade.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:27 PM
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actually the collegiate divisions are very loosely defined, at least for C & D levels. i know a guy who raced for only one year & he was a collegiate A. but then again, he rowed lightweight crew before. on the other hand, it's very easy to jump directly to collegiate C. place high in a few D races & no one will really care to check your credentials.

check pg 65 of this. http://www.usacycling.org/forms/coll...e_rulebook.pdf
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Old 12-09-09, 06:28 PM
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If you were racing in Upstate NY I'd say you have a shot at getting in the top ten in a number of cat 4 races if you can do 6-minute hills at 4.7w/kg. 28mph TT over a short distance should also help you make some breakaways stick (although you would have to do it without aero gear so subtract some speed)

It all depends on the location. Some places are crit-centric. Some places are filled with long mountain climbs, and some (like here) are dominated by road races where the pack breaks up on hills and small groups (or solos) are left to duke it out at the finish line.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:30 PM
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Every few years someone comes up through the ranks in NY and goes from 5 to 1 in a season. They usually come from other endurance sports.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin View Post
I'm gonna file that under tactics...

I don't know many 4's that can roll a 1 hour 40k tt.
LOL, move out west.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Every few years someone comes up through the ranks in NY and goes from 5 to 1 in a season. They usually come from other endurance sports.
It always seems to be the Tri geeks or cross country runners around here! The cross country guys are usually pretty fast. Sometimes they have the lungs, but not the legs.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post

Let me try to make this very simple. As far as I know, racing in collegiate will help you Cat #. If I were to go out and do some Cat 5 races, I would become a C quicker in collegiate racing. Im pretty sure it also work the other way around. So I'm pretty sure collegiate races count towards the ten. D=5, C=4, B=3, A=p1/2
Minor correction: A's=p/1/2/3, B's=3/4, C's=4/5, D's=5. We don't have 5's or D's here in CO so the last one is irrelevant here.

With the right genetics and some half decent training going 5-3 in a season is not impossible. 5-4 is just a matter of racing a bunch, and if you're strong will take you longer to get out of the 5's than out of the 4's simply because you have to get the 10 races in to get out of the 5's (negotiating with your rep to upgrade early is sometimes possible though). You could potentially get out of the 4's in 4-5 races if you're killing it. Not likely, but possible. I did it in 6 I think.

Based on previous TT performance its obvious that you're somewhat strong. For clarification, what are you describing with the MMP acronym? It can mean at least two very different things. I'm assuming you are describing something similar to a MAP test, in which case your FTP at that time was close to that number. That would match up pretty well with your 40k time without aero equipment. If that is the case, you should have little trouble getting out of the 4's if you find any race with a hill or have the tactical ability to race yourself out of a wet paper bag. I didn't own a power meter back when I was briefly a 4, but my guess is that my FTP was somewhere in the 4.4ish range at that time, albeit with a race winning sprint. I was too dumb to use it correctly though.
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Old 12-09-09, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by spinwax View Post
LOL, move out west.
Sorry, 5's*

* not including those guys that show up for the handful of TT's every year and never enter a mass start race.
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Old 12-09-09, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin View Post
* not including those guys that show up for the handful of TT's every year and never enter a mass start race.
No doubt, there are a ton of those guys in SoCal. Same with the hillclimb events.
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Old 12-09-09, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
going from 5 -> 3 in 1 year is fairly ambitious (as in, probably a handful do this each year around the country... just a guess?)
Incorrect.
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Old 12-09-09, 08:57 PM
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There was a poll recently about how long it took to get to cat 3, at least from a 4. Getting to 4 is just a matter of putting in your races, so race enough and 5->3 is not really any different than 4->3.
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Old 12-09-09, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin View Post
Sorry, 5's*

* not including those guys that show up for the handful of TT's every year and never enter a mass start race.
NorCal too. They totally skewed the TT in a masters omnium I did last year. Stupid tri-geeks showed up on Friday night, stole a bunch of omnium points and then disappeared.
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Old 12-09-09, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin View Post
True but there's a difference between being a "runner" and running national events on a collegiate level. He already probably has a great aerobic system and good endurance, and it's not like it's his first time on a bike either. I think the only thing that could stop him from getting to the 3's in one year would be tactics.
+1
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Old 12-09-09, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post
First, running is a lot different than cycling, your running will help you a little, but don't expect a miracle.

Let me try to make this very simple. As far as I know, racing in collegiate will help you Cat #. If I were to go out and do some Cat 5 races, I would become a C quicker in collegiate racing. Im pretty sure it also work the other way around. So I'm pretty sure collegiate races count towards the ten. D=5, C=4, B=3, A=p1/2



As for moving up in the Cats, I think it is going to be very very hard to go from a cat 5 to 4 to 3 in one year. <--- don't worry about it, just ride.

"I'm hoping to do 15-20 road races/crits, with another 5-10 TT's as a workout." <--- don't worry about it, just ride.

According to your sig you've never done a race....??
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Old 12-09-09, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
NorCal too. They totally skewed the TT in a masters omnium I did last year. Stupid tri-geeks showed up on Friday night, stole a bunch of omnium points and then disappeared.
They didn't steal anything, they were just faster.
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