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First race: Cat 4/5 or Masters 35+ 4/5

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First race: Cat 4/5 or Masters 35+ 4/5

Old 05-02-12, 10:32 AM
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First race: Cat 4/5 or Masters 35+ 4/5

I've seen a lot of threads about the difference between Cat 4/5 and Masters but they are usually referring to Masters 1/2/3/4 vs. Cat4. A lot of the local races I've looked into have the option of either Cat 4/5 or Master 4/5, so as an over 35-yo Cat 5, I would have the option of entering either and wouldn't be racing against older Cat 1s and 2s. In most cases the races are back to back, so entering both isn't an option either. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-02-12, 10:37 AM
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Masters 4/5. I have seen some wicked wrecks because it seems like a lot of total newbies (like you?) feel most comfortable in that category. That said in a straight up 4/5 you are with a bunch of 20-somethings that live life like it's going to end tomorrow. No jobs or families to go back to after the race so they tend to race more aggressively - handling wise.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:54 AM
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That makes sense. I am a newbie to bike racing, but not racing, so I understand the importance of making it back to work on Monday morning in one piece!
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Old 05-02-12, 11:39 AM
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Also, the masters tend to be more experienced riders so they're a bit better bike handlers on average.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Right Said Fred
In most cases the races are back to back, so entering both isn't an option either. Any suggestions?
I used to do back to back all the time and still do on occasion.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I used to do back to back all the time and still do on occasion.
In a crit, I could see doing that, but one of the races I looked at was a road race where Cat 4/5 starts at 9:00am and Masters 4/5 starts at 9:03. I assume that since in that case both groups are on the road at the same time, you have to choose one or the other.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Right Said Fred
I've seen a lot of threads about the difference between Cat 4/5 and Masters but they are usually referring to Masters 1/2/3/4 vs. Cat4. A lot of the local races I've looked into have the option of either Cat 4/5 or Master 4/5, so as an over 35-yo Cat 5, I would have the option of entering either and wouldn't be racing against older Cat 1s and 2s. In most cases the races are back to back, so entering both isn't an option either. Any suggestions?
If these are fairly short criteriums, then no reason not to do 2. Pin the first race's number on top of the later race, then just remove the number after the first race. Double the experience and workout. In a road race, you have to pick one.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Right Said Fred
In a crit, I could see doing that, but one of the races I looked at was a road race where Cat 4/5 starts at 9:00am and Masters 4/5 starts at 9:03. I assume that since in that case both groups are on the road at the same time, you have to choose one or the other.
Either that, or it's a really short race.

I'd say the 4/5 race, especially since it's your first race. You'll be racing these guys 9 more times, so you might as well get to know them.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:36 PM
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OP, if I were fortunate to have the option, I'd race the Masters 4/5. Better bike handlers, less suicidal. Unfortunately, over here there are no categories other than age with regard to masters racing, so I either race against everyone in my age group, or everyone who is a Cat4, regardless of age.

I do the latter. The Masters races invariably find people like me lining up against elite cyclists and the odd ex-pro. Way out of my league. So I settle for the Cat4 and get beaten by the kids, but not so badly.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I used to do back to back all the time and still do on occasion.
I really don't like to. An hour or two between races, with some hydration and nutrition, really helps. But I'm older than you and not as strong.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:13 PM
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I would think the Master's 4/5 would have less people, and maybe be a safer race. Whereas Cat 4/5, you have a wide mix of people and skills often. Not that masters don't. But down in FL, you rarely see Master 4/5 races. It is either the standard categories, or it is a Masters 30,40,50 etc...field.

I've seen people smashing/piling up in every category, so I wouldn't necessarily say either is less dangerous/safer. But, the few people, usually means more safe, maybe the Master's fields would offer that up as a better first race?

Or maybe this is all crap and do what you want?
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Old 05-02-12, 01:34 PM
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I've had a couple people tell me one must first be a Cat 4 before he's allowed into a Master's race. Is that really true?
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Old 05-02-12, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTuner1970
I've had a couple people tell me one must first be a Cat 4 before he's allowed into a Master's race. Is that really true?
Probably not, depends on the masters race, but getting to a cat 4 upgrade is a good idea because masters races are often faster than 4 and if you don't have good bike handling skills, you are going to get yelled at.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sdgrannygear
Probably not, depends on the masters race, but getting to a cat 4 upgrade is a good idea because masters races are often faster than 4 and if you don't have good bike handling skills, you are going to get yelled at.
Yeah, I've been told that also.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:24 PM
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Pretty much all masters races here in Arizona require Cat4, but that of course isn't universally true. There may be some experienced C4 masters in your race, which could help smooth things out a bit. Small field size helps, but less so in a RR. Racing mostly Masters, the biggest issue I have with the 4-5 races when I do them is how 'surgy' they are in the corners. There is a lot more braking and acceleration in a 4-5 crit, which creates a different feel to the pack, and I frankly have difficulty getting in sync with the pack. I dropped off the back of one awhile back because I felt so out of sync with the kids that I was dangerous, and the pack was large and difficult to get around to the front.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:29 PM
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Personally, I would choose the M4/5 race. Even though they're new to racing, most of the riders in that race have probably done more riding (touring, commuting, MTB'ing, whatever) and are likely to be better bike handlers. Plus, as noted above, probably have jobs to get to on Monday.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTuner1970
I've had a couple people tell me one must first be a Cat 4 before he's allowed into a Master's race. Is that really true?
If it's one that doesn't allow 5s, then it's true. Often Masters is cats 1-4. But an explicit masters 35 4/5 would allow 5s.

Here in NorCal there's a lot of masters 4s and 5s. 35s, 45s, even 55s. Often the 45+ 4/5 field will be significantly larger than the 45+ 1/2/3 field. At Sea Otter they had full 45+ cat 5 and cat 4 fields.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by zigmeister
But down in FL, you rarely see Master 4/5 races. It is either the standard categories, or it is a Masters 30,40,50 etc...field.
I think that the Deland (Spring Fling of Cycling) RR still has a Cat 5/35+ field. It is the only one that I know of, but there might be some more.

And BTW the one time I did it years ago I got caught behind a crash just after the last turn before the finish.

And doing it other years as a Masters 55+ or 50+ like this past one was much harder and much faster (these are not the same thing!), but no crashes.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:56 PM
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Do the Masters 4/5 and leave a spot open for a young'un to do the other 4/5s race. Unless you can do both, then do both.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Right Said Fred
In a crit, I could see doing that, but one of the races I looked at was a road race where Cat 4/5 starts at 9:00am and Masters 4/5 starts at 9:03. I assume that since in that case both groups are on the road at the same time, you have to choose one or the other.
Enter both, start with the 9:03 group, bridge up, then win both.

Simple.

35+ 4/5. Slightly less yelling.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Enter both, start with the 9:03 group, bridge up, then win both.

Simple.
LOL. Can't understand why I don't do that every weekend.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by racer ex
enter both, start with the 9:03 group, bridge up, then win both.
potd
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Old 05-02-12, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979
Also, the masters tend to be more experienced riders so they're a bit better bike handlers on average.
But if they have that much experience then they shouldn't be a 4 or a 5 anymore, I'd think..

Anyway in my experience a masters 4/5's race is as bad if not worse than a regular 4/5's race, it's just that there are more Ti bike, the head tubes are taller, and the positions are more upright (due to bad backs).
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Old 05-02-12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
But if they have that much experience then they shouldn't be a 4 or a 5 anymore, I'd think.
Experience comes with experience. Talent comes with good genetics. I know a lot of masters who are very experienced, great bike handlers, smart racers, and couldn't pedal their way into a sub hour TT if you stuck a gun to their children's heads.

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Old 05-02-12, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Experience comes with experience. Talent comes with good genetics. I know a lot of masters who are very experienced, great bike handlers, smart racers, and couldn't pedal their way into a sub hour TT if you stuck a gun to their children's heads.
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