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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Whats Cat 1-2-3-4-5?

Old 09-11-16, 07:35 AM
  #26  
Sidney Porter
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Really enjoyed this description.
I don't think I agree with it. There is,a lot of strategy in marathons (for the people actually racing not just participating). Since we are comparing to road racing I would think the track and field would be the 5 or 10k once again strategy based upon who is racing some will drive the pace early on while other will want a slow race to have it come down to 5he kick. In open water swimming races more of the same. Even with the longer pool events you see strategy employed

If the description is trying to compare swimming or running sprints those should be compared to track bike events.
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Old 09-11-16, 11:12 AM
  #27  
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Tactical strategies make minor differences in track & field or running. But they don't contribute 80% to the outcome like in bike-racing. They're no way tactics are going to turn your 6-minute mile into a 4:11-mile to beat someone faster. If you do 3-hr marathons, no amount of strategies that will allow you to beat a 2:10 runner.

In bike-racing, you have much better chance using mental strengths against physically stronger opponents. An obvious example is shoving someone off course into the weeds. Not exactly fair, but can be done in more subtle ways that's actually sporting.

BLOCKING - is a tactic easily learned. Due to the higher speeds and much more effective use of drafting, teammates can actually help you get away. In running, unless you have enough teammates to link arms and completely block the road and the sidewalks, faster runners will just get around you. In bike races, your teammates can be at the front of the pack going just 0.5-mph slower than you in the break to help you pull away. Same thing in a crit, your teammates can just start coasting 5-ft sooner into the last corner and pick it up 0.5s later and you've got a 5-10ft lead to the to finish line.

BIKE HANDLING SKILLS- you never hear runners discussing picking just the right shoes with sticky, medium, or hard rubber compounds to go faster around the corners to leave their competition behind. It makes zero difference in running, but being able to carve a precise line makes a huge difference in winning, hanging in the pack or getting dropped. Biggest issue for beginners is going around corners elbow-to-elbow in parallel lines without braking. Being able to fly around corners at physical limits of tyre-grip on the optimum line means the difference between being near the front with little effort, versus struggling with the yo-yo effect in the pack. Heck, I remember at the Casper Classic in Whistler, we gained over 5-minutes over other people on a single downhill! That's like a 3-mile lead! Imagine gaining a 3-mile lead on someone of equal fitness in a marathon; not gonna happen unless you trip them.

So I'm not saying there's no strategies and tactics in fitness sports like running, yeah it might be 10-20%. The results will be darn similar to time-trialing. But in bike racing, mental strategies and tactics are 80-90% of the outcome. That's what makes it so fun and exciting because it not overwhelmingly fitness-dependent. There's been races I've won where I was sick and puking up my breakfast in warm-up. So I adjusted my strategies to be more passive with more drafting of the stronger guys. More conserving strength for the final-sprint and being extra careful to pick out and follow the guy that's going to get 2nd at the finish. Which of course, requires shoving all his teammates off his wheel in the last couple laps

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Old 09-11-16, 12:28 PM
  #28  
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Actually running uses strategy---I was in a race where I stayed behind the strongest competitor for the first half, then kicked to gain a gap, and did so a few times. I was right on my limit, and if he had closed the gap that last time I would have had to slow and set a pace ... but I convinced him that I was stronger, and he didn't have the will to close the gap.

When I saw this I pushed just a little harder, and totally broke his spirit. At that point I did slow down---but he had as well. He could have closed right up on me but in his mind, he was outclassed. I was exhausted---I could barely keep running---but he didn't know that, he was far enough back that he couldn't hear me gasping and struggling, and had already decided he couldn't catch me.

All he needed was to make one more effort, and he would have caught me and maybe ultimately beat me--at the very least it would have some down to a sprint.

In other races he proved that he had speed and endurance equal to mine, but that day I beat his mind with my mind.

If I had started my attacks earlier, he might have had time to catch me. If I had stayed right with him during the first half he might have taken me more seriously. Instead, I stayed just close enough that he wanted to work to stay ahead, to prove he was faster---bad race management on his part. If he had saved some on the first half as I did, I wouldn't have had the energy to get away. If I had attacked later, I might not have had the energy to keep attacking. Also, when I attacked we were far enough away that he had to consider how fast he could finish---we had enough left ahead of us that he was worrying about blowing up and losing a lot of time.

I cannot speak to marathon running, but in cross-country ... as in most physical endeavors---motivation matters, and anything which saps motivation is a huge edge.

In a running event, as on a bike---if you are matched against much faster competitors, they will beat you. A cat 5 isn't going to beat a 1/2 Pro unless the pro wrecks. But matched against like competitors, psychology and strategy is often the only edge.
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Old 09-11-16, 02:08 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
It's not really about average-speed so much as max-speed:

cat-4/5: 24-27mph ave, 32-33 max
cat-3: 26-30mph ave, 35-40 max
cat-1/2/pro: 28-32mph ave, 42-47 max

During the races, they'll be moments when they'll take off, could be going up a hill, or right after a prime-sprint, or coming out of a tight-corner. They'll do it over and over again, 20->40mph, 25->45mph, multiple times per race, multiple times PER MINUTE even. If you can't hit this max-speed and hang on, doesn't matter what the average is, you're dropped and gonna get pulled.
Yes, I know I'm responding to something that's very old.
But still...
I think these speeds are waaaaaaay overblown.

At our races, Cat 1 & 2 race together, and Cat 3,4 & 5 race together.
The Cat 1 & 2 average about 2 minutes and 15 seconds around a 1 mile track. If my calculations are correct (and they may not be), this comes out to about 26-27 mph (for a 30 mile race). This race includes pros and our US Olympic track racing representative.

Cat 3's do about 20-24 mph.

Cat 4 & 5's...some can hang a bit with the Cat 3's ...some not.

Cat 4 & 5 will generally do around 18-21 mph. That's for a 15 mile race.

If my math is off, please feel free to correct me...and I know you will.
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Old 09-11-16, 02:32 PM
  #30  
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Best definition I had seen;

Cat 1 - Car
Cat 2 - Job, Car
Cat 3 - Married, Job, Car
Cat 4 - House, Married, Job, Car
Cat 5 - Kids, House, Married, Job, Car
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Old 09-12-16, 06:34 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
Yes, I know I'm responding to something that's very old.
But still...
I think these speeds are waaaaaaay overblown.

At our races, Cat 1 & 2 race together, and Cat 3,4 & 5 race together.
The Cat 1 & 2 average about 2 minutes and 15 seconds around a 1 mile track. If my calculations are correct (and they may not be), this comes out to about 26-27 mph (for a 30 mile race). This race includes pros and our US Olympic track racing representative.

Cat 3's do about 20-24 mph.

Cat 4 & 5's...some can hang a bit with the Cat 3's ...some not.

Cat 4 & 5 will generally do around 18-21 mph. That's for a 15 mile race.

If my math is off, please feel free to correct me...and I know you will.
Maybe your math is fine, but you just have a bunch of sandbaggers.
And if there's anything off compared to my experience, it the difference between categories. They aren't as different numerically as they are experientially.
Just looked it up on Strava and the last race I finished (mid-season Cat 5, five laps of a 3.3 mile circuit with one little hill and one nice descent), my laps came in at between 23 and 25.5 mph, resulting in a respectable front group finish. A couple of weeks earlier, laps over a much longer, but slightly more challenging circuit came in at 22.8-24.2 mph, resulting in a laughing group finish. Meanwhile, 28 mph, or just 3-4mph faster than our good laps is enough to excite the higher category fields at our club races. Sure, they may do a lap at a blistering pace that the Cat 5s couldn't sustain for more than a few hundred yards, but the average doesn't necessarily end up a whole lot higher.
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Old 09-12-16, 08:02 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
Yes, I know I'm responding to something that's very old.
But still...
I think these speeds are waaaaaaay overblown.

At our races, Cat 1 & 2 race together, and Cat 3,4 & 5 race together.
The Cat 1 & 2 average about 2 minutes and 15 seconds around a 1 mile track. If my calculations are correct (and they may not be), this comes out to about 26-27 mph (for a 30 mile race). This race includes pros and our US Olympic track racing representative.

Cat 3's do about 20-24 mph.

Cat 4 & 5's...some can hang a bit with the Cat 3's ...some not.

Cat 4 & 5 will generally do around 18-21 mph. That's for a 15 mile race.

If my math is off, please feel free to correct me...and I know you will.
It all depends on the course. If there are hills or real climbs, it'll obviously be a bit lower.

Here's a local "B" training crit I won a few years ago as a 4-

https://www.strava.com/activities/78047998

I ended up averaging slightly more than 25mph, and that's pretty normal for this race. The field is split into "A" and "B", with 1-2-3s racing in A and generally averaging 27-28 mph for the lead riders, and 4-5s in the B race averaging 23 at the low end up to 26 depending on who shows up.

TL;DR racing even at the entry level is fast and painful, and only gets faster and more painful the higher up the ladder you climb.
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Old 09-13-16, 01:47 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Best definition I had seen;

Cat 1 - Car
Cat 2 - Job, Car
Cat 3 - Married, Job, Car
Cat 4 - House, Married, Job, Car
Cat 5 - Kids, House, Married, Job, Car
Good stuff right there

Though I may nitpick on 5. Kids & single can be just as bad or worse than married. I have no sitter and no family in the state (other than my ex) and a child too young to leave at home. My training time is often nill.

Were is shift workers in this listing? Doing 12 hr rotating shifts that flip between days and nights frequently has got to knock you back a level too. Oh wait, maybe that is just for those who can't even make a Cat 5

Last edited by T Stew; 09-13-16 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-13-16, 02:09 PM
  #34  
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Steps to becoming a spinster?
The more cats you obtain the closer you get.
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Old 09-13-16, 02:10 PM
  #35  
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I like being Cat 6, myself.

Races start too damn early. They also race in the winter here, yuck.
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Old 09-13-16, 03:07 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
In bike-racing, you have much better chance using mental strengths against physically stronger opponents. An obvious example is shoving someone off course into the weeds. Not exactly fair, but can be done in more subtle ways that's actually sporting.
Is this a joke? No, that's not sporting, fair, or within the rules in any manner of the word. Intentionally running someone off course? Where on Earth are you racing?
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Old 09-13-16, 03:15 PM
  #37  
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Average speed really doesn't play as big a role in different categories as much as the surges do. Sitting in a big field on a relatively flat road and you might do 27-28 mph while having a snack and chatting with a neighbor. And that might be a Cat 4 race or an NRC.

The attacks and surges are what set the categories apart. In p/1/2 races, when we attack, it's a full on, max effort sprint and then drive for as many minutes as necessary to get separation. And it happens over and over again. And again. And again. It's relentless destruction until the right break goes. Every corner, every elevation change, every shift in wind is an opportunity to try and break the will of everyone around you. And just when you think it can't possibly get any harder, a counter attack goes.

Slobbering all over your stem is not uncommon.
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Old 09-13-16, 03:18 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Best definition I had seen;

Cat 1 - Car
Cat 2 - Job, Car
Cat 3 - Married, Job, Car
Cat 4 - House, Married, Job, Car
Cat 5 - Kids, House, Married, Job, Car
Saw this on another forum, apparently from red dit:

Cat 5: I have no idea what I'm doing but think bike racing might be fun. I ran/swam/rowed in college, so this can't bethat different, right?

Cat 4: I have no idea what I'm doing, but my carbon wheels help me crash at higher speeds. During races, I find it helps to verbalize my every action. Safety of the pack (though I'd call it a peleton) is ensured by yelling "Hold your line!" in every corner. I have seen Breaking Away.

Cat 3: I won a few races as a 4, so I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious. I cracked my carbon wheels as a 4, so I'm back on aluminum hoops. I can beat up most of the guys on the group ride, unless I annoy one of the 1/2s and they make me beg for mommy. I have seen American Flyers.

Cat 2: I'm a legit road racer now. My first P/1/2 race nearly broke my will to live, but since quitting my full time job and moving in with my girlfriend, I'm getting faster. Every upgrade point is celebrated like a birth in the family. I rub elbows with the pros in certain races, and while I try not to show them I'm impressed, I tell all my friends about it after the fact. The weekly local training race is now used as a recovery day. I have seen Deux Secondes

Cat I: After breaking up with my girlfriend, getting kicked out of my parents basement, and sleeping in my car for the last 6 months, I finally got my 1 upgrade. I'm a demi-god who can take all the **** the pros can throw at me, though I'm acutely aware of how little I can throw back. I can't imagine getting much faster than this, but I really don't have much else to be doing with my life so I continue to train. I have been in the background of a photo on Cyclingnews.

Domestic Pro: I can finally afford indoor plumbing again. Most of us understand this is as good as it's going to get, so we spend most of our time partying, but only after the training is done. I have raced with someone who has doped. I show up to the occasional local crit and spend 90 minutes mother ducking the entire field around. Then I win the field sprint and head out to finish my century for the day.

Euro Pro: I am half human.
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Old 09-13-16, 03:43 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by geraldatwork View Post
Curious what the average speeds are of the different categories.
Cat 5 - So fast you forget your plan.
Cat 4 - So fast it's hard to stick to your plan.
Cat 3 - So fast you forget you aren't a pro.
Cat 2 - So fast you have to stick to your plan.
Cat 1 - Pretty fast.
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Old 09-13-16, 04:07 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
I like being Cat 6, myself.

Races start too damn early. They also race in the winter here, yuck.
yeah, but isn't your winter 65 degrees?
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Old 09-13-16, 05:22 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by AristoNYC View Post
yeah, but isn't your winter 65 degrees?
65 is cold when you're used to 110!!!

I swear our season starts around the same time as the holidays and by that point, I'm just cycling to maintain a somewhat healthy weight, the idea of race weight is long gone.
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Old 09-13-16, 05:24 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
65 is cold when you're used to 110!!!

I swear our season starts around the same time as the holidays and by that point, I'm just cycling to maintain a somewhat healthy weight, the idea of race weight is long gone.
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Old 09-13-16, 06:00 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by AristoNYC View Post
Haha...I'm too lazy to race is the main reason, really.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:17 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post

Cat 5: I have no idea what I'm doing but think bike racing might be fun. I ran/swam/rowed in college, so this can't be that different, right?

Cat 4: I have no idea what I'm doing, but my carbon wheels help me crash at higher speeds. During races, I find it helps to verbalize my every action. Safety of the pack (though I'd call it a peleton) is ensured by yelling "Hold your line!" in every corner. I have seen Breaking Away.
Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Cat 5 - So fast you forget your plan.
Cat 4 - So fast it's hard to stick to your plan.

I can attest to the veracity of these.
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Old 09-14-16, 06:25 AM
  #45  
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I've also heard CAT races described as assisted suicide... and with all the talk on crashes I really don't have much interest in that, especially since I prefer to ride barefoot and without gloves. I do however have a slight interest in trying a duathlon to combine it with running since I'm a much stronger runner, and these seem to be a bit less dramatic and crash prone by what I can tell.
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Old 09-14-16, 07:23 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
Haha...I'm too lazy to race is the main reason, really.
Your sig would need to be changed to "Hey guys, let's stop enjoying ourselves and start taking this too seriously".
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Old 09-14-16, 08:14 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by FLBandit View Post
Umm, is there a Cat 6 or 7 for me?
Yes, and no entry fees required for Cat 6/7. It's a pretty sweet deal...
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Old 09-14-16, 08:16 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by T Stew View Post
I've also heard CAT races described as assisted suicide... and with all the talk on crashes I really don't have much interest in that, especially since I prefer to ride barefoot and without gloves.
I think you mean Criterium races. They come in different flavors (Cat Levels) as well.
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Old 09-14-16, 08:59 AM
  #49  
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They're also not nearly as bad as people that haven't done them claim they are. Not that crashes don't happen, because they most certainly do.
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Old 09-14-16, 09:13 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Cat 5s sleep in a warm bed.
Cat 1s sleep in truck stops.
that's awesome
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