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Getting to cat 3

Old 04-30-10, 05:46 PM
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Getting to cat 3

The options to get to the 3's:

1) 20 points in any 12-month period
2) Experience in 25 races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 riders or more
3) 20 pack finishes with fields over 50

Obviously option #1 is the optimal route, but even then you could get a few 5th-9th placings and get enough points - but does that really mean you should cat up?

Would you cat up via points without having won an actual race? Is that a recipe for never winning a race?

10 top 10's seems pretty attainable (have 4 so far this season), but it also seems like a relatively weak way to get there.

20 pack finishes seems... trivial. I don't feel like that route would be the best way - but if you think of the 4's similar to the 5's (e.g. experience) then is it a decent way to cat up?

I guess the question is, is there a bad way to become a 3? (or a 2 for women)
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Old 04-30-10, 06:02 PM
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I went the middle way (10 top tens). I would have preferred to go in on points, but I kept stalling at 14 or 15 points. Seemed like everytime I was ready to move up, a few points would expire. I probably would have been happy to remain a 4 for a season longer, but I was the only 4 on my little team and was anxious to help my Cat 3 buddies. Ironically, as I got a few Cat 3 races under my belt and was feeling confident there, I started looking at the 4s races and thinking I could totally win that race!
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Old 04-30-10, 07:54 PM
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I'm sitting on 10 points right now, and plan to go the points route. I've got another 9 months to get the next 10 =).

I'm lucky in that I can go race 3/4 races and test the waters. I'll try this for the first time this weekend. - Will report back afterwards...
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Old 04-30-10, 07:57 PM
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Just start training and racing like you're a 3 and get the points. The pitfalls of the other methods are obvious, but many have succeeded on experience upgrades. I just think you should be able to figure out how to beat the sandbaggers and everyone. Don't race the same race if you're not improving or finishing well. Change up your approach and never get caught repeating what doesn't work. Do get caught taking risks and being aggressive.

Just act like you're pissed that the USAC put the wrong number on your license and prove it. Every time you swing a leg over the bike or plan for a race -- what can you be doing to win your next race?
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Old 04-30-10, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
...
I'm lucky in that I can go race 3/4 races and test the waters. I'll try this for the first time this weekend. - Will report back afterwards...
Same for me on the 3/4's here. There seems to be more of those than just 4's or 4/5's. When I really need to remind myself that I'm currently where I belong, I enter a Masters race.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Just start training and racing like you're a 3 and get the points. The pitfalls of the other methods are obvious, but many have succeeded on experience upgrades. I just think you should be able to figure out how to beat the sandbaggers and everyone. Don't race the same race if you're not improving or finishing well. Change up your approach and never get caught repeating what doesn't work. Do get caught taking risks and being aggressive.

Just act like you're pissed that the USAC put the wrong number on your license and prove it. Every time you swing a leg over the bike or plan for a race -- what can you be doing to win your next race?
I really like this approach.

Sometimes negative motivation can be a powerfull thing. I rode hatred for one team from 4 to 2.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:38 PM
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I've known plenty of people who never did very well in the 4s and did much better after upgrading.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I've known plenty of people who never did very well in the 4s and did much better after upgrading.
That's like saying, he wasn't good at adding or subtracting, but now he's great at algebra and calculus!
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Old 04-30-10, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post
That's like saying, he wasn't good at adding or subtracting, but now he's great at algebra and calculus!
bad analogy
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Old 04-30-10, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post
That's like saying, he wasn't good at adding or subtracting, but now he's great at algebra and calculus!
Not really. 5's and 4's really tend to favor sprinters. I'm more of a climber/TT guy and it took me longer to go from 4-3 than from 3-2.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:21 PM
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You have more options in the higher categories. Like Eric said, tactics other than "wait until the end and sprint" have a better chance of working.

Especially if you can consistently place in the top 10, then you are probably strong enough to do well in the 3s and have a good chance of actually winning.

I won both of my 4s races in the last k though, so turns out that's all I had going for me. I don't have the power to sustain a break (I've tried), and I'm a crappy sprinter so I'm just packfill now.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Caad 8 View Post
That's like saying, he wasn't good at adding or subtracting, but now he's great at algebra and calculus!
You know I did crap on a test when learning how to integrate in one dimension, but killed the one doing it in 3. It happens.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:47 PM
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Depends on your goals in racing. it's fun to win races, and I think there's some value in the argument that a rider should learn how to win before catting up.

And WR I'm stealing your line since that's exactly what happened to me.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I went the middle way (10 top tens). I would have preferred to go in on points, but I kept stalling at 14 or 15 points. Seemed like everytime I was ready to move up, a few points would expire. I probably would have been happy to remain a 4 for a season longer, but I was the only 4 on my little team and was anxious to help my Cat 3 buddies. Ironically, as I got a few Cat 3 races under my belt and was feeling confident there, I started looking at the 4s races and thinking I could totally win that race!
Good to hear you went that route - seems like I only hear about people going via points..

Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
I'm sitting on 10 points right now, and plan to go the points route. I've got another 9 months to get the next 10 =).

I'm lucky in that I can go race 3/4 races and test the waters. I'll try this for the first time this weekend. - Will report back afterwards...
I've been doing a 3/4's training race and got a top 10 in one, but it's also comprised of the 3's that don't want to do the 1/2/3 just afterwards, so there is that. Still, so far I've been able to hold my own in this race, which is somewhat reassuring.

Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Just start training and racing like you're a 3 and get the points. The pitfalls of the other methods are obvious, but many have succeeded on experience upgrades. I just think you should be able to figure out how to beat the sandbaggers and everyone. Don't race the same race if you're not improving or finishing well. Change up your approach and never get caught repeating what doesn't work. Do get caught taking risks and being aggressive.

Just act like you're pissed that the USAC put the wrong number on your license and prove it. Every time you swing a leg over the bike or plan for a race -- what can you be doing to win your next race?
That is motivating, but I'm kind of wondering if peeps think it's worth it to spend a few seasons as a 4 working on getting those points, or if one should try to get up to the 3's as soon as possible.

I think staying in the 5's until you won would be a waste, and the 4's are seeming more and more like the 5's sometimes. So should I really hang out here in the 4's, hunting for a W or points, if there's another way out?

Another motivator to exit the 4's ASAP is 4/5 combined fields... ugh. I know 4's aren't that much better, and that's why we get mixed but damn, Cat 4-only fields do seem a tad smoother than 4/5 combined. (and we're getting into combined 4/5's crit season here! scary stuff)

Thx all for the feedback!
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Old 04-30-10, 10:02 PM
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i want to get to cat 3 just because I think there the cat4 field is way too big. 120 riders (cat4 punchbowl) and 80+ at chuck pontius 0.8mile 4 turn crit is just stupid and dangerous.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:05 PM
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Yeah but 2/3 of that 120 was gone after the first lap.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
You know I did crap on a test when learning how to integrate in one dimension, but killed the one doing it in 3. It happens.
Oddly, in college Calc I was hard & confusing, but I just muddled through it.

By the time I got to Calc IV it all made much more sense, I could see why we were learning it, and I actually got a kick out of some of it too. Go figure.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by danahs View Post
i want to get to cat 3 just because I think there the cat4 field is way too big. 120 riders (cat4 punchbowl) and 80+ at chuck pontius 0.8mile 4 turn crit is just stupid and dangerous.
That's exactly why I upgraded on experience. I was sick of the 100+ fields in the 4s and was getting consistent top 10 / 15s on courses that suited me. I could have stuck it out for 10 top 10s (I had 7) but I didn't see any point in it.

I'm doing fine in the 3s. I sat in a few races last year just to get the feel for a CAT 3 race. The pace is not much different than the 4s. There is just a lot more team tactics going on you have to pay attention to.

I say if you feel you're ready then go.
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Old 05-01-10, 12:24 AM
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to the OP -- would it be so bad if you never won a race?

if you've got a guy who has a lot of experience, knows how to handle himself, and regularly stays with the field, why not let him race with his teammates/friends in the 3s if he wants? it sure sounds like racing team tactics with my teammates would be a lot of fun. it would also be nice if i weren't getting dropped in the 5s, obviously...

i think the 20-points/12-months thing is mostly meant to prevent someone truly gifted from getting stuck in the lower categories.
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Old 05-01-10, 02:03 AM
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Wussup mattm-
I think I raced with you at Frozen Flatlands. Beautiful snow hailish windblown rainy fun.
I have yet to read any other replies....
but, I think it all depends on where the rest of your team races category wise. or at least which guys on your squad you fit better with.(if your team is large and spread over cats.)
Back before my 20 year hiatus I raced three years as a jr and two as a sr. I never won any big races. I won a bunch of local stuff. I was always competitive once i got the hang of it and could stay with the pack but eventually I upgraded to 3's because as a team we wanted to race together. Most of us we're pointsqualified and some, like me, who tended to lead my teammates out and not place as high, had to make what seemed to be a bigger jump. It wasn't.

It seems like making the the move to 3's is almost more to get out of 4's at first then worrying about not winning in 3's. Ride with the 3's and eventually you get fast like'em. We were dominating bigger cat 3 races eventually(Volunteer park 1990(until the last lap crash), Washington trust cycling classic 1990)

I'd say if your goal is to get as fast as you can then get there as fast as you can. If you plan on eventually being a 2 then you shouldn't worry about not winning 3 races at first because eventually, you most likely will. That's my positive outlook. I'm a bit older, i think, so My future outlook is different yet positive. I don't see myself needing or even qualifying to be anything mare than a cat 4/3ish...although next year i'll be a 40+ and some of those guys are burnin' fast....i can only imagine had i stayed with it for those 20 years :O

You could also help a few teammates get points while your there...in the 4's(like your 5 buddy who won Volunteer park?)
Maybe I'll see you and come say hey at Wenatchee...I'll be in the post 20 year hiatus category 5's! maybe an upgrade after that one.

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Old 05-01-10, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by davids0507
to the OP -- would it be so bad if you never won a race?
I started racing with the goal of winning a race or two - didn't we all?

But I can live without winning a 4's race if that's what you mean. At this point the goal is mostly to improve and go from there.
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Old 05-01-10, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TheMudder View Post
Wussup mattm-
I think I raced with you at Frozen Flatlands. Beautiful snow hailish windblown rainy fun.
Actually I bet that was Hida, I didn't make it out for that one.

but, I think it all depends on where the rest of your team races category wise. or at least which guys on your squad you fit better with.(if your team is large and spread over cats.)
We've got a good deal of 3/4/5's, and a 2 that just upgraded. I'm having fun with our 4's squad, and the 4's is plenty challenging.. but the 3's could be fun too, and one of our 4's just moved up.

You could also help a few teammates get points while your there...in the 4's(like your 5 buddy who won Volunteer park?)
Yeah I think I'll be seeing what I can do for Kyle (Volunteer Park kid), he' s moving up the fastest these days it seems - and since we've got some attacker types mixed with a few sprinter types, we can play with tactics too.

Maybe I'll see you and come say hey at Wenatchee...I'll be in the post 20 year hiatus category 5's! maybe an upgrade after that one.
Definitely say hi - I hope to be there.
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Old 05-01-10, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
You have more options in the higher categories. Like Eric said, tactics other than "wait until the end and sprint" have a better chance of working.

Especially if you can consistently place in the top 10, then you are probably strong enough to do well in the 3s and have a good chance of actually winning.

I won both of my 4s races in the last k though, so turns out that's all I had going for me. I don't have the power to sustain a break (I've tried), and I'm a crappy sprinter so I'm just packfill now.

word. I won 5 and 4 events in the sprint. as a 3 my sprint sucked so i worked hard on threshold development. I'm not winning races now, but I'm at the pointy end of many/most of the area's less hilly races.
I guess I'm just agreeing with you here... different skillsets are advantageous at different racing levels.
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Old 05-01-10, 06:06 AM
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I went option 1. My goal this year was to have enough points by the 4th race of the year. It took six due to some interesting accounting by our Texas rep. I also really wanted to win a race but that didn't happen. I was in the final sprint at every race I scored in but I'm not a sprinter and 3-5 place was the best I could manage. I don't like option 3. Earn your way out 20 points isn't that much.

Piggybacking on what umd said. My first 3s race I got 4th, the race was consistanly harder than a 4's race and played into my advantage. I need tired guys to sprint against. 4's races tend to be mire of fast group rides without any real attacks.
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Old 05-01-10, 06:07 AM
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Not for nothing, but the scariest field I was ever in was the cat 2 race at Somerville. The idea that an 18 year 2 is safer than a 30 year old 4 doesn't compute. One guy may have better skills, but the other has to get up for work the next morning.
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