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How much time to be at your Cat level?(11 posts)

How much time to be at your Cat level?eschelon
May 3, 2002 11:19 AM
Please gents, no feline comments...that joke has already been done by others.

Anyway, here is the criteria: the start time of your actual serious training to the Cat level that you are now.

Definitions: serious training - concerted effort and plan as far as training rides go...I am not referring at all to the amount of time you played on your bike.

Reason for asking this question: I am trying to get a time scale of how long it typically takes a person to reach a certain category.

And if any of you guys type on this forum that it took you 1 year to go from serious training to cat 3 or 2 or higher, you will be considered full of shit, along with your comments taken into consideration with a pinch...no, make that a few handfulls of salt.
it all depends on how well you do at raceswonderdog
May 3, 2002 11:29 AM

if you are placing in the top 5 consistantly for a month at cat 4 races, you can upgrade. same is true for cat 3 to cat 2. field size and overall placing contribute to the uscf points you earn.

i went for a 4 (may) to a 2 (september) in a summer, and no, i'm not full of shit. lots of people can/do accomplish this feat.

You are Da-man...but...eschelon
May 3, 2002 11:35 AM
I'm afraid my question wasn't clear to you...I believe your account of your cat'ing up, but what is more important is how long were you seriously training to get to where you are?
gotchawonderdog
May 3, 2002 11:50 AM

let's see.....i bought my road bike as a college graduation present to myself (upon getting a "real job") in early july 1999. raced a few times as a cat 5 that summer. a local team saw potential in me and "took me in." i trained all that winter with weights and long slow training rides which gradually got longer and more intense as spring approached. i also got some coaching help (which can be a big factor depending on the rider). i started racing as a 4 in may 2000 and started doing well in races. by september, i was a 2.

so, to answer your question, after throwing out the first month for "goof off time" on the bike, I'd say it took me 13 months of hard work and luck. i say luck because sometimes, esp in sprint finishes, that's the way it goes in bike racing.

one further note, be careful about 'catting' up quickly. it's easier to go up than down. i think you have to submit a special request to cat down.

2 years, Cat 5 to 3climbo
May 3, 2002 11:47 AM
and I wouldn't want to go any higher. I enjoy racing but I also enjoy my other activities so to go up a level would be too much work. Half the fun is hanging out and having a beer after the race so I don't think I'd make a Cat 2 anyway, my training is not that strict.
You forgot to mention...Sherpa23
Jul 25, 2002 2:46 PM
That on top of your training you hammer for 1.5 hours everyday with a bunch of hammerhead yahoo lunch guys which is loads of fun but doesn't allow for much rest and you still do okay despite being wasted by July. BTW, I emailed you twice that I cannot head down to the TT today w/ you but they bounce back to me for some reason.
Timeline to Cat 3 pack fill (long)BipedZed
May 3, 2002 1:29 PM
Background - ran cross country/track in high school - mediocre as I didn't really care about results. Worked in bike shops and did a few Tuesday night crits but sucked. Started racing MTB in college (early 90s), mostly while high.

April 1999 - Quit pack a day smoking habit after 12 years. 5'8" weigh 180lbs. I had boobs. Get a new MTB and start riding the trails after work once or twice a week. Hurl up lungs every ride. In June, start racing Sport MTB. Absolutely SUCK. Get yelled at by Sport Women as they pass me on single track. Keep riding trails and buy my first road bike in 15 years. Start riding more road, complete 88-mile recreational ride in September. Still very slow. Race the 24 Hours of Moab in Sport. Stopped training after race, didn't stop eating. Weighed 190lbs by Jan 1, 2000. None of my clothes fit anymore.

2000 - Started training more regularly by riding road 1hr during lunch and keeping a training log. Continued MTB Sport racing and still sucked. Dropped 30lbs by end of year. First season of cyclocross racing as a Cat 4 (no Cat 5 in CO). Managed mid-pack finishes. Joined racing club South East Area Riders who pretty much take anybody. 5000 mile year.

2001 - Start group rides early winter with club. Strongest guy among 40-60 year old Masters. Up to then no real structured training with intervals, just rides where I'd push pretty hard. Prepare for domination in the Cat 4s. Get dropped and lapped in first crit of the year. Utter disappointment. Hire and start working with a cycling coach. Get a few pack finishes and then fracture my shoulder blade at the end of May in a sprint finish crash. Doctors says you are lucky, only out for a month. Race State TT 2 weeks later with lots of pain in aero position. Come back to mass start racing in late June and suck once again and get dropped for the next several races. By the end of the season start to get pack finishes and occasional top 20 by the end of the road season. Weight down to 154lbs. Take two weeks off and start cyclocross season. The structured training plan starts kicking in and have a pretty killer cross season with mostly top 5s, a win, and a 2nd place in the Cat 4s. Lack of base means I'm exhausted and totally over-trained by December. Due to cross results get invited to join serious sponsored racing team Vitamin Cottage/Morgul Bismark. Take a much needed rest for 2 weeks. 7500 mile year.

2002 - Increase LSD over the winter average 12hr 250 mile weeks. Riding with new team start suspecting fitness has dramatically increased. Start dropping the 4s and climbing with the top 3s on the team. Very strange, yet exciting. Weight is now at 145lbs and 7% body fat. Begin intervals in March and at opening race weekend take 3rd and 10th in 100+ fields in Cat 4. Petition to upgrade to Cat 3 approved that night by district rep. Get USCF SM 3 upgrade shortly after and decide to go to Tour of the Gila 5 day stage race as first real Cat 3 experience. Eat humble pie and fight for mid pack finishes. 3200 miles by beginning of May.

Some guys have natural talent and can go from Cat 5 - 2 in a season. That's pretty rare. Other guys I know have been racing for 10 years and are still Cat 3. I'm probably somewhere in the middle. For most of us it takes dedication, sacrifice, and mostly, blind determination to overcome the weekly disappointment and not quit until you reach your goals.
Timeline to Cat 3 pack fill (long)insmanblue
May 3, 2002 1:48 PM
I really enjoyed reading your story. It sounds like you had made many goals for yourself and had many set backs. Stick with it. This will be your year!
re: How much time to be at your Cat level?Ian
May 3, 2002 4:08 PM
I got a good friend to take up road riding about two years ago. He would come out and do the club rides, but no real training, just lots of basic riding. One year ago this weekend, he did his first Cat 5 race, he won. He was hooked and started training for racing. Spent the rest of the spring in Cat 4. No races in the fall, all training. He is currently leading the state in the Cat 3 division, with enough points to move up to Cat 2.

Ian
re: How much time to be at your Cat level?da cyclist
May 3, 2002 7:41 PM
You're not in Texas are you? That's an almost identical story to one of my teammates. Wierd.
Florida. nm.Ian
May 4, 2002 2:21 PM
nm