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My Racing Future...

Old 09-03-10, 05:29 PM
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My Racing Future...

My situation is as follows: Two years ago I raced 10 times in NorCal, then moved and raced a handful of times last year in MT. This year I did the whole calendar, such as it is. I've had a good season in the 4s (3 x 2nd, 1 x 4th, 1st in BAR) and I've got the points to upgrade to the 3s.

A couple factors are making me hesitate about upgrading. The first is that there are no 3s races in MT. The only option is P123 races at P123 race distances, and competitiveness. As small as the state is, there are a handful of guys in the our 'A' field who've done very well in big regional races like Elkhorn and Walla Walla, and I'm just not sure I'm ready to make the commitment it would take just to hang on.

The second hang up is that I haven't yet won a race. I feel like that's a sure sign to know you're ready for the next category.

I know this is ultimately a personal decision, but I I'm curious to get some sage feedback and also maybe just stimulate discussion on the topic. WR has often said that 3 is the Ultimate Cat., but does that hold true when you always race with 1s and 2s?
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Old 09-03-10, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Yep
WR has often said that 3 is the Ultimate Cat.,
That's a joke from the "cat 3 phenom" blog
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Old 09-03-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
That's a joke from the "cat 3 phenom" blog
I think there's a lot of truth to it.
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Old 09-03-10, 07:32 PM
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I just meant it didn't originate from WR, unless he was secretly the author of that blog.
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Old 09-03-10, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
I just meant it didn't originate from WR, unless he was secretly the author of that blog.
I really thought he coined the term. Woops. At any rate I think it is the ultimate cat for a lot us for a lot of reasons.
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Old 09-03-10, 08:29 PM
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points dont go bad, hang out and get a w, but give yourself a deadline.

then, if you hit the deadline and it hasnt happened, pull the trigger on the upgrade.

since you won your BAR, you know how to be around the win. think about why you didnt finish 1st, was it sitting around waiting for field sprints to get top 10s although others are faster or more aggressive sprinters? if this is the case, you need to work on getting up the road, possibly at the detriment of a bunch of 4th places, but so what, you're trying for a win, not upgrade points. or possibly you cook yourself too early by battling for position ineffectively or do too much work during races and are cooked at the end leading to not having the freshness to win. if this is the case, race lazy and get your W.

congrats on what sounds like a banner year.
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Old 09-03-10, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV
points dont go bad, hang out and get a w, but give yourself a deadline.

then, if you hit the deadline and it hasnt happened, pull the trigger on the upgrade.

since you won your BAR, you know how to be around the win. think about why you didnt finish 1st, was it sitting around waiting for field sprints to get top 10s although others are faster or more aggressive sprinters? if this is the case, you need to work on getting up the road, possibly at the detriment of a bunch of 4th places, but so what, you're trying for a win, not upgrade points. or possibly you cook yourself too early by battling for position ineffectively or do too much work during races and are cooked at the end leading to not having the freshness to win. if this is the case, race lazy and get your W.

congrats on what sounds like a banner year.
Thanks for the kudos.

I don't have much in the way of sprint. My podiums (and a win in an early season training race) came out of breaks on hilly, selective courses. In a couple of the 2nds I was beaten by an expert MTB guy who won the three races he did in the 4s, so maybe I'm just unlucky.

You're point about going for the 'W' is well taken. Last year I was happy to be "finishing well" when I should have been pissed about not winning.
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Old 09-03-10, 08:54 PM
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If you don't have much of a sprint but you're doing well in hilly, tough races, you're more Cat 2-3 material than Cat 3-4 material. You must have some decent level of fitness, i.e. FTP, and you must have some decent level of w/kg.

I have to remember you're basically talking of upgrading from 4s to 2s. One of my teammates went from 5s to 4s early this year - I figured he'd be one of the main guys I could rely on for help since his main goal was to help me in a 3-4 series. And he did help. But he also consistently blew himself up in the races - they were much faster than the 5s because, frankly, the top 20 of each race was dominated (properly) by 3s. After the first race we all asked him what he thought. He said something like, "well, it's kind of a big jump, 5s to 3s." We all kind of paused while we digested what he said, then we looked up and around at each other, grinning. "Yeah, when you put it that way..."

Do you think you'll travel at all? Visit other areas? There are a lot of Cat 3 and 3-4 races in this area. Being a 3 opens up some options since you can race 3-4s, 3s, or a P123 race if you want.

btw points do expire, as I understand, in 12 months. But if you're consistently placing, and your life doesn't change much, you'll consistently place next year.

Ultimately you should do what you want to do. If you don't feel ready, don't. If you feel like you've chewed the gum long enough, unwrap a new piece and revel in the bright strong flavor.

cdr
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Old 09-03-10, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV
points dont go bad, hang out and get a w, but give yourself a deadline.
Originally Posted by carpediemracing
btw points do expire, as I understand, in 12 months. But if you're consistently placing, and your life doesn't change much, you'll consistently place next year.
The way the rule is written, I think technically they don't expire. You have to accumulate the points in a 12 month period, but it's not 100% clear that you have to be in that same 12 month period when you request the upgrade. I imagine the further away you are from that 12 month period, the less likely the district rep is to approve it. They have a fair amount of discretion anyway...
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Old 09-03-10, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
If you don't have much of a sprint but you're doing well in hilly, tough races, you're more Cat 2-3 material than Cat 3-4 material. You must have some decent level of fitness, i.e. FTP, and you must have some decent level of w/kg.

I have to remember you're basically talking of upgrading from 4s to 2s. One of my teammates went from 5s to 4s early this year - I figured he'd be one of the main guys I could rely on for help since his main goal was to help me in a 3-4 series. And he did help. But he also consistently blew himself up in the races - they were much faster than the 5s because, frankly, the top 20 of each race was dominated (properly) by 3s. After the first race we all asked him what he thought. He said something like, "well, it's kind of a big jump, 5s to 3s." We all kind of paused while we digested what he said, then we looked up and around at each other, grinning. "Yeah, when you put it that way..."

Do you think you'll travel at all? Visit other areas? There are a lot of Cat 3 and 3-4 races in this area. Being a 3 opens up some options since you can race 3-4s, 3s, or a P123 race if you want.

btw points do expire, as I understand, in 12 months. But if you're consistently placing, and your life doesn't change much, you'll consistently place next year.
You hit on one of the reasons I'd like to be a 3. OTOH, I don't know if I'll be able to train for 80-90 mile RRs.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing
Ultimately you should do what you want to do. If you don't feel ready, don't. If you feel like you've chewed the gum long enough, unwrap a new piece and revel in the bright strong flavor.

cdr
Nice imagery.
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Old 09-03-10, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
The way the rule is written, I think technically they don't expire. You have to accumulate the points in a 12 month period, but it's not 100% clear that you have to be in that same 12 month period when you request the upgrade. I imagine the further away you are from that 12 month period, the less likely the district rep is to approve it. They have a fair amount of discretion anyway...
It's my understanding that the points have to be accumulated in a 12 month period, but there's no expiration on that "achievement" for lack of a better term. Having said that, I agree with umd that the rep has a lot of discrection, both in tabulating points and when those points don't count anymore.

Last edited by Yep; 09-03-10 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 09-03-10, 11:18 PM
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I think you should upgrade, at least test the waters. Maybe wait until a month or so into the season next year to upgrade, so you don't have to start directly in the 1/2/3's and are sure you have the fitness - who knows you might get a win then too. And you can always downgrade if the higher cat races hurt too much.

Fwiw points expire after a year around here from what I've heard.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:18 AM
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To the OP: I definitely sympathize, I'm in the exact same boat with regards to the 4-->3 upgrade. I too am hesitating - because I am concerned about competitiveness, but also from witnessing some of my riding buddies around here. They had a single good year, upgraded, and then life caught up with kids, work, etc. and they couldn't hang as well anymore and basically became uncompetitive and stopped racing altogether.

It would take a humble man to downgrade back to the 4's. I'd prefer not to upgrade far enough that it would take a continuous massive committment in terms of training even to have basic fun in the 3's, as the real world doesn't always allow tons of training time.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:34 AM
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I'd point out that, depending on your "base fitness level" (i.e. "talent" if you will), you won't need to train much to hang in the Cat 3s. To influence the races, to win them, well, yeah, you need a bit more than 1-2 hours a week. But to hang in there, I'd say it's possible doing 1 hard hour on Tuesday, 30 min on Saturday, and 1 hour Sunday (crits), and that's with someone with a 230-250 watt FTP who is, oh, say, 190 lb 5'7" and not that muscular. Go for primes, try and bridge up to a break, help a teammate, try to get your name announced, those are all things you can do without a lot of time training.

Disclaimer: does not work for races with more than 70 feet elevation change per lap, for races where wind speed regularly exceeds 20 mph, for field sizes less than 30, average speeds of over 27 mph, or for any race that has laps more than a mile long.

Another disclaimer: if you have a good jump (which OP has stated is not the fact, but I'm throwing this out there for the others), said training schedule is enough to win select Cat 3 bike races.

For 3s & 4s it's not about training. Many riders in the 4s are fit enough to get top 6 in Cat 3 races, at least around here. It's a matter of applying said fitness. There are a lot of strong but tactically limited racers in both fields.

cdr
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Old 09-04-10, 07:46 AM
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Men who are pregnant or who are thinking of becoming pregnant should not upgrade to Cat 3.

Call your doctor if you have a race lasting more than four hours.

Common side effects include:

trouble breathing,
leg pain,
vomiting,
& receding peloton.

Around here most of the races I want to do are combined 3-4 fields, so the only difference is the ease of scoring points. The race experience is the same regardless of cat. I say why not go for it? Why hold back because you're afraid you're going to have to downgrade eventually? If there weren't masters racing categories, wouldn't everyone? (Except Ned Overend, that is).
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Old 09-04-10, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by specq
Men who are pregnant or who are thinking of becoming pregnant should not upgrade to Cat 3.

Call your doctor if you have a race lasting more than four hours.

Common side effects include:

trouble breathing,
leg pain,
vomiting,
& receding peloton.
Thanks. This made my morning.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:00 AM
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upgrade. let others get their upgrade points too.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:02 AM
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Don't say "racing future," you're tempting the fates.
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Old 09-04-10, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by specq
Men who are pregnant or who are thinking of becoming pregnant should not upgrade to Cat 3.

Call your doctor if you have a race lasting more than four hours.

Common side effects include:

trouble breathing,
leg pain,
vomiting,
& receding peloton.

Around here most of the races I want to do are combined 3-4 fields, so the only difference is the ease of scoring points. The race experience is the same regardless of cat. I say why not go for it? Why hold back because you're afraid you're going to have to downgrade eventually? If there weren't masters racing categories, wouldn't everyone? (Except Ned Overend, that is).
Rich


Given the information provided, I say upgrade too.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by specq
Men who are pregnant or who are thinking of becoming pregnant should not upgrade to Cat 3.

Call your doctor if you have a race lasting more than four hours.

Common side effects include:

trouble breathing,
leg pain,
vomiting,
& receding peloton.

Around here most of the races I want to do are combined 3-4 fields, so the only difference is the ease of scoring points. The race experience is the same regardless of cat. I say why not go for it? Why hold back because you're afraid you're going to have to downgrade eventually? If there weren't masters racing categories, wouldn't everyone? (Except Ned Overend, that is).
Pure gold.

The missus and I are having a baby in January. Did I forget to mention that minor detail? I guess even with that detail I'm on the fence. Maybe it's crazy to even be contemplating in light of the babe.
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Old 09-05-10, 06:34 PM
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eh i just upgraded w a BAR win and a bunch of top tens but no Ws. id really rather work my ass off this winter to be compr
etitive in 3 than to get a W in 4. as proud as i am of my first season id just rather be racing in a harder slightly more experienced field than trying to dominate the newbs.

im a deisel with a mediocre sprint, so the limiters u
i need to train to be a player in 3 are the same id need to target to get a W in 4 so id just as soon be racing at the next level.
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