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Old 06-10-10, 11:35 AM
  #1  
fishmel
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Mandatory...

So I never actually thought 4 years ago when I started racing that I would ever be anything other than your average Cat 4 racer who was out to have fun and challenge myself against others. Somehow I made it to the 3s, and as of last weekend after the Mt Hood Classic Stage race, I just bumped up to 42 points.

Having seen how brutal the P/1/2 version of most Stage and single day races are, I am having a real hard time wanting to alert anyone to push the upgrade through. I guess I could be considered a decent Cat 3, but I still get my ass handed to me on any given day, in any given race by fellow 3s. My points did not come in a dominating rush, as they do for some, but very spread out thoughout the year.

Due to work and family my training and racing this year has taken a hit, and I don't see it getting any better in the years to come. This, I assume, would effect my ability to even be with the pack in any P/1/2 stage races (the type of racing I enjoy the most). I did just turn 40 this year so the Masters racing is an option, not that it is easier just that the length of the races is more in line with the Cat 3 distances.

10 of my upgrade points will expire in a week, this will deal with the mandatory aspect if I keep a low profile and don't race till then. The question I wanted to throw out there is , "What would you do?" I know that I have to make up my own mind, but since I have been contemplating this, I thought I would ask.

Secondly, anyone upgrade to a 2 and realize it was really not worth it.

Thanks
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Old 06-10-10, 11:41 AM
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You can always go back to the 3's....
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Old 06-10-10, 11:44 AM
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As a 41 year old hunting for the 2 upgrade myself, I'd say do it, and if it doesn't work out, downgrade back to the 3s.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:55 AM
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Kensurf/Mattm, I have the same thought. Part of me wants it just so I can say to myself that I officially made it, and here's the card to prove it. Another part knows that any future individual success is all but a lost hope, or at least seems that from my current vantage point.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:56 AM
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Another data point: one of our strong 3's recently earned his mandatory upgrade, and is currently in the process of getting shelled in the 1/2's.

But, I think that's mostly because it's crit season here and he's not a crit guy. I hope he sticks it out until the RRs, when he'll probably shine.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:58 AM
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fishmel, do it, you might surprise yourself with how you can "create" training time. you've got 42 pts demonstrating you've got the goods to be better than a 3.

i'm a 39 y.o. cat 2 of meager talent, father, with demanding job, wife who is an executive (thus requiring long hours and travel leading more dad time). i'm doing OK in the 1/2 world. i'm not a world beater but slip into a break on occaision and am a valuable team mate to work for those that are more "results getters" on my squad. My results in the races that i dont have the skill set for (stuff with big climbing or being competitive in stage races where TTs and climbing decide the outcome) arent different regardless of how much time i can train. no offense intended to anyone, but after racing some 1/2 and P/1/2 stuff, i dont ever want to be a 3 again.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fishmel View Post
Kensurf/Mattm, I have the same thought. Part of me wants it just so I can say to myself that I officially made it, and here's the card to prove it. Another part knows that any future individual success is all but a lost hope, or at least seems that from my current vantage point.
Although I myself am nowhere near that situation, I know several people who where/are in similar situations. None wanted to upgrade, but one was forced to and now only races masters. The others have managed to stay just under the mandatory threshold...
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Old 06-10-10, 12:03 PM
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upgrade and race masters.

the mandatory upgrades exist for a reason.

otherwise you are contributing to the bottom-heaviness of the category system.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:04 PM
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Not that I'll ever have to worry about this problem, but I'd take the upgrade, partly just for the accomplishment, and partly just for the experience of racing with the Pro's and one's.

You might surprise yourself, and you can always downgrade, or focus on Masters.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:18 PM
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And fwiw, I would take the upgrade if I could. I also know people who regretted not upgrading when they had the chance. Personally I'd rather be packfill in the 1/2 races than be "a decent Cat 3".
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Old 06-10-10, 12:37 PM
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There was an interview with Andy Hampsten on Competitor Radio a couple years back where he talks about the experience of racing pro in Europe. One of the things he said that I found interesting was "90% of the time, you're not on form, you're just trying to survive." This from a guy who won the Tour of Switzerland twice, the Tour of Romandie at least once (can't remember if he won it twice), placed 4th in the Tour twice, and, of course, won the Giro d'Italia. So, one of the top pros (and probably best American after Lemond) of the 80's and early 90's, and the large majority of the time, he was pack fill.

Of course, racing P/1/2 in the PNW ain't racing pro in Europe, but the point is that those 42 upgrade points are all the evidence you need to show that you belong in the 2s. The fact that you're pack fill in most of your races is irrelevant if you're getting good enough results in Cat 3 to get 42 points in a year. Upgrade. The other 3s will thank you, and you'll probably be glad you did. And if you aren't, it's not like you can never go back.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:45 PM
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fishmel
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Good advise/insight from all around, thanks for that.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:52 PM
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I say upgrade.

I upgraded to Cat 2 and lost a bunch of training time at the same time. I was really excited to get up there, and the racing was just a blast. Unfortunately, I went from 8 hrs/wk to ~5.5 hrs/wk and the fitness really started to die off. I couldn't finish P12 crits on that fitness. This year I downgraded back to Cat 3 and I'm no longer as dominant as I was in 2008/9 in the 3s crits.

If you're not looking at losing any training time, just take the upgrade and see how it goes. You can always downgrade like I did. No shame at all, and I've had several 3s tell me they're glad to have me back because I'll string it out rather than letting it get bunched up (too many of them still race like 4s). You might find that the upgrade motivates you to find a couple more hours per week and bump yourself up another level.

At this point, I'm just looking forward to racing masters next year (I'm only 39 this year). I did get back my training time last month, so the fitness is starting to climb again, but I don't know if I'll get back to working the cat 3 crits over.
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Old 06-10-10, 01:35 PM
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i had the upgrade points, which i worked my ass off to get. in fact, i worked so hard, i burned myself out. big time. so big that i took several years off the bike.

still regret not getting around to requesting the upgrade. seeing as all of my races are out of usa cycling jurisdiction, that ship has sailed.
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Old 06-10-10, 02:02 PM
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i say definitely upgrade. as others mentioned, you have the optionality of moving down if needed. i upgraded last year and having masters 35's as an option made it a no-brainer.

The Pro-1/2 is tough, but it's a lot of fun. In a lot of ways, it feels like being a Cat 5 again (the year when I had the most fun racing) where you work for and occasionally accomplish goals that initially seemed out of reach: hanging on -> surviving -> comfortable -> mixing it up -> thriving -> results. for me, this has been more fulfilling than placing in Cat 3 races.

when i was undecided about the upgrade last year, a very strong rider from a dominant team put it succinctly, "Of course you should upgrade, everyone wants to race in the main event!"
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Old 06-10-10, 02:03 PM
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I wish Dave Letterman would chime in with his top 10 reasons to upgrade from Cat 3 to Cat 2.

Only you can decide if the positives outweigh anything else, but, some reasons that I say upgrade are:
- try a new adventure and see what it is like (time to cue up the Bill Murray speech from Stripes)
- humans adapt well; it may turn out that you like it, perform better and realize more satisfaction
- wouldn't it be fun, at least once, to say, "yeah, my fellow Cat 2s and I...."
- One is the loneliest number, two is not as bad as one no matter what Three Dog Night sing/sang
- you're extremely likely to look back and wonder what might have been if you don't upgrade
- reason for a celebration -- celebrate good times, c'mon (your post is making me think back to songs from yesteryear)
- several folks on BF will likely post congrats in this thread should you upgrade and then post this outcome/decision
- I bet it increases the likelihood that you get free bike stuff that you can use
- you'd probably be able to post a better picture of you suffering in the appropriately titled BF thread
- botto will sleep better knowing that he has helped someone not experience a regret that, to this day, hounds him with the fury of the underworld
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Old 06-10-10, 02:04 PM
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plus you won't have to race in an event where WR is sandbaggin'
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Old 06-10-10, 02:14 PM
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Doit.

Seeing as I'll likely languish in the 4s for years to come I personally would be proud to get a mandatory upgrade. It would be a milestone of sorts.
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Old 06-10-10, 02:29 PM
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Botto - part of me feels burned out too.

SteelerHoo - Good way of putting it, makes me realize I need to re-adjust my way of thinking.

Grumpy - I couldn't hold WR's wheel in a race if he was sandbaggin or not.

Boston - I really like the 1st one you listed, goes along with what Steeler was getting at.

grolby - I love reading ch!t like that from those who know.

umd - I will hope to be "decent packfodder" in the 1/2
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Old 06-10-10, 02:35 PM
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"It never gets easier, you just get faster."

I say, go faster. Like others have said, downgrading is an option.

Don't let the threat of failure stop you from trying something. If you take the rest of the season off to build base and have fun, you can still come back next year and race in the 2's. Don't burn out. You're apparently better than most at this.
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Old 06-10-10, 02:47 PM
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Do it.

You can always change your mind later. The opposite isn't always an option.
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Old 06-10-10, 03:44 PM
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If you've got the training time to put in, I'd say do it.

I'm going to make it my goal next year.

Having the time to train and keep training some more is my biggest limitation right now. I can maintain and be a hunky dory 3 on 5 hours a week; survey says that ain't gonna be the case in the 2's.

I already know I can at least be pack fodder in a P12 race without any issues because of all the previous P123 RR's and I usually finish pretty well in the 3's in these situations. A P12 crit would be another story however ------>OTB.
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Old 06-10-10, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fishmel View Post
Botto - part of me feels burned out too.

SteelerHoo - Good way of putting it, makes me realize I need to re-adjust my way of thinking.

Grumpy - I couldn't hold WR's wheel in a race if he was sandbaggin or not.

Boston - I really like the 1st one you listed, goes along with what Steeler was getting at.

grolby - I love reading ch!t like that from those who know.

umd - I will hope to be "decent packfodder" in the 1/2
I hope you mean, Hampsten, not me; I'm just a 4!
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Old 06-10-10, 05:37 PM
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quit your whining and take the manditory upgrade like a man.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:40 AM
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You have the opportunity and can control your fate. Passivity may open the space for regrets. Have a cup of coffee. You can always go back but going back up may be tough...
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