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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

Which Cat 4?

Old 11-17-13, 06:47 PM
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Which Cat 4?

Folks - I've been thinking about next year, and what happens when I can FINALLY get out of Cat 5, which should occur in April. My racing age next year will be 63. I read through all the races in my area from this year, and my choices generally boil down to Senior 4, Master's 40+ 1-4, and Senior 4/5. Some races have Master's 55+ or 60+ Open, or Master's 35+ 4/5. The road races and crits are almost always the same distance among them.

Based on your experience, any recommendations as to the pros and cons of each? My first instinct was to go with the highest age classification, but then I checked the results for the Pensacola Cycling Classic, and saw that the 60+ guys were faster than the Senior Cat 4s!
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Old 11-18-13, 10:50 AM
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It's my experience, which is nil compared to most here, that the older Cat 4's 45+4 in my case, can't ride a bike to save their ass. I had less weirdness in the straight 4's than I did in the 35+4 and 45+4 classes. I would have thought it was the complete opposite, but I was wrong.

My thought on that: I think folks wanting to race bikes at a later time in life were likely fairly athletic in earlier times. Running killed their body, or they want to try something new, so they figure cycling would be the next logical step. Anyone can ride a bike, so let's go race one. I know there are many more reasons for folks wanting to race, but I see that scenario quite a bit.
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Old 11-18-13, 02:44 PM
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revchuck, I didn't have much choice when I started racing at age 55. It was Cat 5, then Cat 4 or Masters 1 - 4. From my seat it was easier to race with the Masters, but not be in contention at the end as I would in the pack riding 4's. In the Masters there would be strong breaks that were protected by team tactics pretty much leaving me to sit in and sprint for scraps.

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Old 11-18-13, 03:30 PM
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IMO, it gets down to goals - upgrade to cat 3 or register, ride and / or hang out with your peers. One can always register and line up with the 55+ open guys. And you can chat with them afterward to see how the race was. Whether you can race with them competitively is another matter. However, you can tell tales from Offthebackistan. Every master who starts racing later in life faces the same issue.
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Old 11-18-13, 03:39 PM
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55+ Open will almost certainly be harder. Much harder, but safer. On crit days I would try to do both if time and fitness allows. Usually the Cat 4 race will be the 2d race of the day. That one is the race you could do to try for some primes and a good placement. The Masters races later in the day you could treat like a motorpacing session.
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Old 11-18-13, 06:11 PM
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Thanks, all! The consensus confirms what I expected - Senior 4 would be easier than Master's 55+/60+ Open, or Master's 40+ 1-4. I know how badly I was spanked at the one Master's race I did. Even so, I'd like to race with guys my own age. I've got lots of time to decide, but I'm leaning toward a version of caloso's suggestion - sign up for a stage race as a 4, and race the Master's crit too, assuming it's within the rules. As for working toward Cat 3...that's not a goal at this time.

If I can get some results as a 4, that'd be great. If I'm destined for pack fodder either way, I'll just ride with the other codgers.
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Old 11-19-13, 12:08 AM
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Do both if it's a crit.

If it's a road race do the Cat 4. You'll probably have more company. Once you can hang a bit in the master's crits move to the master's road races.

When I was a 4 I'd do the 35+ 4/5, the 4's, and the 45+ on most crit days. Or at least 2 if I couldn't do 3.

How far are you from Houston BTW?
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Old 11-19-13, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Do both if it's a crit.

If it's a road race do the Cat 4. You'll probably have more company. Once you can hang a bit in the master's crits move to the master's road races.

When I was a 4 I'd do the 35+ 4/5, the 4's, and the 45+ on most crit days. Or at least 2 if I couldn't do 3.

How far are you from Houston BTW?
Ex - It's about 150 miles to Houston, so it's within range. One of the last point races in LAMBRA is the Chappell Hill Road Race in September. Thanks for the highlighted suggestion!
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Old 11-19-13, 09:18 AM
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How far are you from Baton Rouge?
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Old 11-19-13, 10:48 AM
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Hermes and I are both going towards a track bike and doing some track racing. If you're doing mass start stuff it's a super condensed tactics class and I've found it's a fair bit smoother than crits in the lower cats because people can't jam on the brakes and tend to be circumspect on where they stick their nose.

Most race days run on an omnium format with 3 different events per class, if you do both the straight cat and the masters (either age or an age/cat if it's offered) you get 6 "races" to work on tactics plus the events often require thinking and strategy beyond just crossing the line first (points race, miss n out, snowball, Etc).

Additionally, all the other races unfold right in front of you so you can watch and learn from other racers.

I don't think it's an accident that a lot of the best current and former racers had a track background, from Zabel to Cav.
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Old 11-19-13, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Hermes and I are both going towards a track bike and doing some track racing. If you're doing mass start stuff it's a super condensed tactics class and I've found it's a fair bit smoother than crits in the lower cats because people can't jam on the brakes and tend to be circumspect on where they stick their nose.

Most race days run on an omnium format with 3 different events per class, if you do both the straight cat and the masters (either age or an age/cat if it's offered) you get 6 "races" to work on tactics plus the events often require thinking and strategy beyond just crossing the line first (points race, miss n out, snowball, Etc).

Additionally, all the other races unfold right in front of you so you can watch and learn from other racers.

I don't think it's an accident that a lot of the best current and former racers had a track background, from Zabel to Cav.
So that's why you're encouraging me to race track!
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Old 11-19-13, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
How far are you from Baton Rouge?
About 135 miles. That's the closest track, but I don't see a track bike (or another bike in general) in my immediate future. Besides, I know even less about track racing than other forms of bike racing...and that takes some doin'!

I'm pretty sure they do have rental bikes there, though. I'll check it out.
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Old 11-23-13, 07:09 AM
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Rev,
Next time you are in Pensacola, including for the Classic, shoot me a P.M. You always have a place to base out of at our home, if you'd like. We may not be a Marriot or Sheraton, or even a Holiday Inn Express, but we do keep the farm animals outside now and have indoor plumbing. It would be our pleasure to have you and yours stay with us.

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Old 11-23-13, 07:23 AM
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Bill - That's a wonderfully generous offer! I might have to take you up on it in September. Just hope I can remember.
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Old 11-23-13, 07:25 AM
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Old 11-24-13, 09:09 AM
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I'm with Ex on all fronts. Race both Cat4 and Masters when you can. Race Cat4 for the win and use Masters for training. The Cat4s are still loaded with guys who race like Cat5s so they will chase pretty much everything, however the Masters will not. Use the Masters to try stuff like bridging to a break or soloing for a prime. Finally, don't lose perspective just because you upgraded to Cat4. You are still a beginning racer even without the 5 on your license. Watch, listen to your body, try stuff, and don't be afraid to lose.
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