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Race catagories - degrees of separation

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Race catagories - degrees of separation

Old 09-22-10, 08:43 PM
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dbikingman
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Race catagories - degrees of separation

Do consider there are major steps between the different catagories of racing? For example, I would think the step from Cat 1 to Pro would be a big step. The step from Cat 5 to Cat 4 not such a big step because my understanding everyone can get to Cat 4, simply by putting in their time. Is there a big difference between a 2 and a 1 or could it just be conditioning?

I don't want to consider team tatics, but more along the line what is your impression when you hear X is a Cat Y racer.
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Old 09-22-10, 08:46 PM
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well the one thing about cat 4 is that being a cat 4 doesn't take much, but consistently winning takes a fair amount of training.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:07 PM
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My view is that almost anyone can get to cat 2 with some good training and smart racing. Cat 2 to 1 would require decent athletic genes. Cat 1 to pro requires a Delorean so you can go back in time and get you Mom to dump your Dad and hook up with the cross-country geek who's 6'2", weighs 130lbs, and runs a 4 minute mile.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
My view is that almost anyone can get to cat 2 with some good training and smart racing. .
I wish that was true.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:31 PM
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I think about them as sort of overlapping bell curves. Where's that e-wang chart?
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Old 09-22-10, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
My view is that almost anyone can get to cat 2 with some good training and smart racing...
i don't think i quite agree with this...
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Old 09-22-10, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
My view is that almost anyone can get to cat 2 with some good training and smart racing. Cat 2 to 1 would require decent athletic genes. Cat 1 to pro requires a Delorean so you can go back in time and get you Mom to dump your Dad and hook up with the cross-country geek who's 6'2", weighs 130lbs, and runs a 4 minute mile.
When I was younger and in the gym lifting I use to tell people I was three generations of selective breeding away from being Mr. Universe.
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Old 09-23-10, 05:52 AM
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I've only met one guy who went from 3's to 2's that was immediately successful. I know a guy who upgraded to a 2 at the start of this season and is now a 1, but if you ask him, he'll tell you he's had a crappy season without any real results. Of course, his "result meter" is out of calibration because of how much success he had as a 3.

IMHO, most people can be pretty competitive in the 3's, you can be a good 3 by being fit or being smart, you don't need to be both. But the 1/2 fields take a bit more -- you need to be fit, plus you need to be smart.

Of course, I say this as a 3 who's only done a handful of p/1/2/3 races, so take it with the grain of salt I'm offering with it.
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Old 09-23-10, 06:31 AM
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i speculate there's more of a difference between abilities above cat 1 than below (i.e. the difference between pros at different levels in different localities is greater than the difference between amateurs). that being said, i've found the biggest step is from 3->2. as a 5, 4, 3 i could make all kinds of mistakes, attacks that failed, etc. and still be in contention for a W or podium. as a 2, that isnt the case.
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Old 09-23-10, 06:42 AM
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i went from cat 5 to cat 1 this year so have a pretty fresh memory for what each category was like.

5 to 4 was basically the same thing only more riders in cat 4.

cat 3 had a more consistently well rounded rider and far better bike handling skills overall but still some sketchy behavior in the few races I did as a cat 3.

cat 2 was a nice step up. This is where I saw a noticeable difference in the quality of riders especially at the bigger races...the top 20 or so guys were all really strong and very competitive usually supported by strong teams. No longer did I have to deal with guys whose front wheel started wobbling on fast descents or people clueless to their surroundings randomly cutting people off.

cat 1 races I've done have been a mix of pros and cat 1s, and I've finally hit my wall. The races are longer and really fast and will take more training of the top end to handle the constant attacks the pros and top cat 1s can do after hours of already racing at a very tough pace. To me, the cat p/1 races are significantly more difficult than a p/1/2/3 type of race I've done the past few months.

Last edited by Spookykinkajou; 09-23-10 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 09-23-10, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
My view is that almost anyone can get to cat 2 with some good training and smart racing
I agree with this, even before I had gotten there myself. I knew the kinds of mistakes I made in races, in training, and even my race calendar. I got enough of those issues corrected and the upgrade points came.

Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
i speculate there's more of a difference between abilities above cat 1 than below (i.e. the difference between pros at different levels in different localities is greater than the difference between amateurs). that being said, i've found the biggest step is from 3->2. as a 5, 4, 3 i could make all kinds of mistakes, attacks that failed, etc. and still be in contention for a W or podium. as a 2, that isnt the case.
I agree with this too. A big chunk of why it's so much tougher as a 2 is the P12 races. Even when there are Cat 2-only events, the best 2s already have points toward the 1 upgrade, and they probably got most of those in P12 races.

Upgrading to Cat 2 for me was a bit of a mistake because I eliminated any possibility of ever doing another road race. There was no way I was going to bump training time to deal with the volume. I also underestimated the difference in speed between a weekly P12 crit series vs. a decent payout weekend crit.

Moving from 4 to 3 is a decent jump, but when you get there you're ready for it. The big jump comes when you're still a 4 and figure out how to get onto the podium. Once you're there, 3s aren't much faster -- it's just tougher to do well.
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Old 09-23-10, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Spookykinkajou View Post
i went from cat 5 to cat 1 this year so have a pretty fresh memory for what each category was like.
congrats spooky, that is pretty badass.
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Old 09-23-10, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Spookykinkajou View Post
i went from cat 5 to cat 1 this year so have a pretty fresh memory for what each category was like.

5 to 4 was basically the same thing only more riders in cat 4.

cat 3 had a more consistently well rounded rider and far better bike handling skills overall but still some sketchy behavior in the few races I did as a cat 3.

cat 2 was a nice step up. This is where I saw a noticeable difference in the quality of riders especially at the bigger races...the top 20 or so guys were all really strong and very competitive usually supported by strong teams. No longer did I have to deal with guys who's front wheel started wobbling on fast descents or people clueless to their surroundings randomly cutting people off.

cat 1 races I've done have been a mix of pros and cat 1s, and I've finally hit my wall. The races are longer and really fast and will take more training of the top end to handle the constant attacks the pros and top cat 1s can do after hours of already racing at a very tough pace. To me, the cat p/1 races are significantly more difficult than a p/1/2/3 type of race I've done the past few months.
congratulations, color me impressed.

only race i did that was heavy on the Ps was bikejam/kelly cup, formerly on the NRC. it was a 35 mile crit, and was a good bit harder than anything else i've done intensity wise.
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Old 09-23-10, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
congrats spooky, that is pretty badass.
+1 nice work. That would be a good example of what talent can do for you when combined with hard/smart work.
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Old 09-23-10, 08:34 AM
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could be regional i guess

3 > 2 seems like the biggest jump around here from what i ca tell.

but it also seems like its discipline dependent, and probably dependent on what your relative strengths are.

seems like new 2s struggle more with P12 RRs with big climbs than with crits, which i've actually heard some folks say are "easier" to hang qith the pack in P12 cuz theyre less surgy.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Spookykinkajou View Post
i went from cat 5 to cat 1 this year so have a pretty fresh memory for what each category was like.
That's pretty friggin impressive. How old are you? Do you have pro aspirations?
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Old 09-23-10, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Spookykinkajou View Post
i went from cat 5 to cat 1 this year so have a pretty fresh memory for what each category was like.
Working part time at a bike shop with no wife or kids. AmIrite?
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Old 09-23-10, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by badhat View Post
could be regional i guess

3 > 2 seems like the biggest jump around here from what i ca tell.
Seems to be the case from my view in Chicago.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:16 AM
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33, married, full time job. Unfortunately I started late and doubt pro is an option.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:23 AM
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What would prevent a rider, say in cat 3, jumping to cat 2, realizing it was too hard and going back to 3?
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Old 09-23-10, 09:25 AM
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As far as I know you can downgrade whenever you want besides back to cat 5.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by musicmaster View Post
What would prevent a rider, say in cat 3, jumping to cat 2, realizing it was too hard and going back to 3?
It's been done. You request a downgrade. Just can't downgrade to a 5.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by musicmaster View Post
What would prevent a rider, say in cat 3, jumping to cat 2, realizing it was too hard and going back to 3?
Nothing but you better have a strong case.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
Nothing but you better have a strong case.
I downgraded to 3 when I got old and didn't train that much. Don't remember it being a big deal. (Don't remember a lot now-a-days !!)

I agree with the other posts about 3 > 2 being significat, and also the point at which you realize you still suck as you try to hang in with the big boys, including crits.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
I downgraded to 3 when I got old and didn't train that much. Don't remember it being a big deal. (Don't remember a lot now-a-days !!)

I agree with the other posts about 3 > 2 being significat, and also the point at which you realize you still suck as you try to hang in with the big boys, including crits.

I have done the downgrade thing with no issue but that was after a long layoff... Point was dont upgrade to 2 in Feb then ask for a downgrade in July without a damn good reason.
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