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What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?(12 posts)

What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?Swat Dawg
Dec 17, 2003 1:08 AM
I'm wondering what a pro is? In the US we have a handful of DIII teams (i.e. formerly Saturn, Jelly Belly, Snow Valley[?], etc.), but of these teams their is a larger number of rides that are wearing pro kit and racing regionally that are not on one of the DIII teams. So what does it mean to be a DIII pro, in terms of Cat designation and fitness level? Are they really good Cat 1's, regular Cat 1's, or could some even be Cat II level riders? I use Category in this case to define both the actually category level, but also as a proxy for supposed fitness of riders at different levels.

Now for the next part of my post. Depending on whatever fitness level you think it takes to be DIII pro, do you think is it possible to also have 30-40 hrs/wk job? Is it foolish to think that at the old age of 22, and about to graduate from college as a Cat 3, that the fitness could be attained to race as a DIII pro? In case your wondering, I am going to take two years for myself, after giving myself to school for four, to work on a reduced schedule to have the time to really give myself to riding my bike. I know what everybody says, "racing is no good, and you won't be able to make it unless you are phenomenally naturally gifted, blah, blah, blah...I've heard that and understand that. So, that isn't the answer I'm looking for. Basically, I am giving myself two years of me time, off from school to do something with myself that I won't have the chance to do ever again. After that it's off to grad school, and more serious things. So with average ability, a late start, but incredible commitment, is racing at a DIII level in two years out of the question? I don't really have notions of joining a DIII trade team, but I do want to be on a team that travels regionally, and maybe one or two national races a year. I would like to be good enough to race at a DIII level, or just below, because I want to know what my body can do. Anyway, thanks in advance for the advice and opinions. I hope too that your dreams have come true, or that there's hope for them to come about.

Swat Dawg
re: What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?Bill B
Dec 17, 2003 6:32 AM
Been there, done that. Got out of the Air Force in Jan of '80 and became a "full time" cat3. You can have all the committment, the best equipment, train like a madman and live like a monk but you need two more things, luck and talent. You can off set those two by having a good coach. Don't minamize this one thing, a coach is objective and can help you by taking a load off your shoulders as to what kind of training you should be doing and helping plan races and tactics. Then you have got to race and race a lot, every week end and one or two during the week. Some races are just speedwork that you do in the context of a race but you gain invalueble racing experience. I did it for about five years and don't regret a minute of it. I did not make much money during those years but that was not my goal. I planned my season around several key races that I wanted to do well in and a lot of others where I just wanted to win gas money but I had a blast. Go for it and have a lot of fun.
re: What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?TJeanloz
Dec 17, 2003 6:35 AM
Having been very close to several domestic pro teams, I can give the answer you've been waiting for: it depends. There comes a point where racers are pretty much all capable of hanging in races - around Cat 2. The difference between Cat 2 and Cat 1 is the ability to win races. As a result, I've known a handful of Cat 2's, and even a couple Cat 3's who made the jump straight to DIII teams - but these are guys who show some extraordinary potential. I also know guys who have been Cat 1's for a dozen years and never gotten the opportunity to take the next step.

A big part of getting selected for a team isn't how good you are, but who you know. DIII teams are low-budget affairs, and if you have a friend or former teammate on the team - somebody who knows how good you are - it goes a long way towards getting you a spot. Is it possible to have a job and race DIII? No. There's too much travel. The life of a pro racer is not as glamorous as it looks. Be prepared to be on the road basically from February to October - you probably won't be "home" for more than two consecutive days at any point. The team is paying you a salary to be out on the road, showing their colors, not bagging groceries at the Quickie Mart.

Bottom line is that it's possible, I've seen it happen, but it's hard to get there, and not all that gratifying once you do.
re: What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?asgelle
Dec 17, 2003 6:53 AM
"Is it possible to have a job and race DIII? No"

how about Kent Bostick
Did Bostick have a job when he was with Shaklee?TJeanloz
Dec 17, 2003 7:11 AM
He did when he went to the Olympics, but I don't think he was working when he was a travelling pro.
Did Bostick have a job when he was with Shaklee?asgelle
Dec 17, 2003 7:32 AM
Bostick has worked full time as a hydrologist as long as I've been involved with cycling, which dates back to the late 80's. That includes all the time he was with Shaklee.
Get a copy of The Hard Road DVDinnergel
Dec 17, 2003 6:59 AM
It's a documentary following the NetZero D3 team for a year. Jamie Paolonetti is a racer and did the film for his film school class. Interesting insight into the lives of D3 racers in the US. Not too detailed on the training requirements, but it did not paint a picture of an easy life.

All that being said, I'd love to do what you are thinking about doing. Go find yourself a good coach and follow your heart. I think it sounds like an great idea. And if you don't make it, then at least you tried. That's more than a lot of people can say about their dreams.
re: What's a DIII pro...A really good Cat 1 or just a reg cat 1?scary slow
Dec 17, 2003 8:13 AM
"It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all"...Go for it and good luck!
Do it at 22 or when you turn 40 you'll wish you had. nmMike P
Dec 17, 2003 11:34 AM
Tricky semantic question.djg
Dec 17, 2003 2:10 PM
For generations, serious athletes in every sport under the sun sought the "amateur" side of the professional/amateur divide. That included, at least in my lifetime, "amateur" track athletes and skiers, etc., etc. who made healthy six figure incomes from their sports. That also included sad spectacles like Jim Thorpe being stripped of his olympic medals for excessive (although entirely trivial) professionalism (before my time) and Rod Laver (only two-time men's grand slam winner in tennis history) being excluded from the major tennis tournaments during most of the prime of his career.

Heck, as a junior tennis player I got some cash, along with printed USTA/USLTA rules regarding amateur status. You know, very small time bucks, and not often by a long shot, but US currency all the same.

So in contemporary US Cycling we have what seems to me to be a unique phenomenon in the history of sports language: scores of "professional" riders who don't make anything remotely like a living (let's say, hitting the poverty level, after costs) from their professional activities.

That says nothing about what you should do of course. Beats me--I was never anything remotely special in cycling and I'm not a coach and I don't know you. But if you really want to go for it ... what the heck. Once you start a career it's really hard to take time off. Before ...
one more opinionbiketillyapuke
Dec 18, 2003 8:41 AM
You can also do what I did. Ditch the bike for a pair of boots and join the Peace Corps. Now THAT is something you will really regret missing when you turn 40.
That was my first idea, but financial concerns trumped itSwat Dawg
Dec 18, 2003 9:36 AM
Peace Corps was my first options, and was is something I still want to do. I'm an Educational Psychology major, and the options that peace corps offers are directly in line with my interest. The problem, however, is that I want to make some money to help out my Mom with her financial situation. The year or two that I take off and focus on riding my bike isn't going to be spent at the quickie mart making minimum wage, though that's cool for folks who do, but it is not a financial options I can entertain. My Grandmother runs a school, and I will probably work up there as either a teachers assistant or as a part-time teacher. I'll live with my Dad so I'll have free room and most board paid for. That will let me put some money in the bank, and help out my Mom with her situation. I'll also get some practical experience in the classroom. This fall I actually applied for a fellowship that would take me to Africa, Vietnam, Italy, and Brazil to study the different ways that those countries histories, and policy decisions have created the way bikes are used in that society. Alas, I did not win the grant, but is something that I am passionate about so, it will happen someday. An interesting thing is the way that Africa is turning to the bicycle as a form of transportation, obviously, but also for its potential to spur economic development by liberating peoples employment options. Also, concurrent with this is a burgeoning bike racing community that is gaining some prevalence. If you check religiously like I do, you probably noticed race updates from the Tour Du Faso. A few European teams, and a lot of African riders showed for a 7 or 10 day stage race. It was really big stuff in each city that it went through. So another one of my latent thoughts is to take my first year of time off, and spend it over here developing as a cyclist, and applying for a Fulbright to an African country with a Olympic cycling program in its early development to see what help I could provide. Again, its a competitive application thing, so I might not get it and would then stay in the states work at my Grandma's school and ride my bike, not something I'm unhappy about. So there's the other parts of the story and ideas in the plan. Thanks everybody for the suggestions and encouragement. BTW if anybody has some contacts on the Africa continent, especially if cycling related, I would really appreciate it if you could put me in touch with them. Again, thanks.

Swat Dawg '04 soon to be Swat Dawg Alum