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Category Question(25 posts)

Category Questionliu02bhs
Jan 8, 2002 6:06 PM
Can anyone tell me the approximate TT, criterium race, and road race speed of each of the categories? I want to start do some racing, but don't want to be stuck w/ the Cat V. for very long, so I want to see how fast I have to be to start winning some races and get out of Cat V. Also, do 18 year-old qualify for Junior division? If yes, what is a competitive speed?
I can avg. 20.9 mph for 20 miles on a criterium course without drafting.
re: Category Questionallervite
Jan 8, 2002 11:15 PM
Approriate average speeds for categories is a tough call. There are too many variables: wind, hills, etc. Also, average speed is a horrible estimate of racing ability with the acceptions of time trials.

Having said that I will contradict myself and give you my opinion.

Sounds like you are a Cat V.

During the Elite nationals Trent Klasna said he averaged 27 mph on the way out to the turn around which was slightly uphill all the way. That is definately Cat I speed.

With no wind and on a flat, few Cat IV's would have a hard time maintaining a 23 to 25 mph average. Most Cat III's can do a 100 miles in less than 5 hours even with a few hills thrown in for good measure.

Forget about average speed. It is a race no rider can win.
re: Category Questionliu02bhs
Jan 9, 2002 8:13 AM
I live in Houston, we only have flat course.
Junior Racerallervite
Jan 9, 2002 10:59 AM
I believe if you are going to be 19 in 2002, you will not qualify as a junior. If you have any other questions on racing, training, strategy etc. feel free to email me at

Good luck!
re: Category Question/JustgotoffthetrainerLovetoclimb
Jan 14, 2002 7:43 PM
Good point, I do think geographically make a small difference. I know Cat 4 racers in Colorado are pretty fast. Then Cat 3 seems to be even a much much faster jump up.
After 10 races as a Cat. 5, you automatically upgrade to a 4.nigel
Jan 9, 2002 1:58 PM
This is a fact, so no matter how well or poorly you do, you'll be a Cat. 5 for no more than ten races.

Have fun,
not true.....jjtriumph
Jan 9, 2002 2:16 PM
you still need to send in your request for to be upgraded, as well as a list of the 10 USCF approved races. this is to be sent to your regional rep. (check web page for list).

this is not automatic. if you suck as a cat 5, they would never make you go to cat 4. that just doesnt make sense.
not everyone improves from a beginner to being able to hang on at Cat 4 level, in only 10 races. some learn quick..others take a while.

keep in mind, once you upgrade, there is no going back!

nope, not trueshirt
Jan 9, 2002 9:05 PM
You can be a 5 for as long as you want until you start to stand out like a sore thumb from placing in the top three every race. But where's the glory in that?

Nope, I've never done that...


Here's what USA Cycling says on it (I didn't make it up).nigel
Jan 10, 2002 9:13 AM
This cut and pasted from the USA Cycling (USCF) Web page:

Road Categorization
Requirements and Notes by Category:

5 - 4:
Experience in 10 mass start races;
4 - 3:
Need 20 points in any 12-month period;
or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top-10 finishes.
30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
3 - 2:
Need 25 points in any 12-month period
60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
2 - 1:
Need 30 points in any 12-month period
60 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

It may be possible to stay a 5 indefinitely, but from what I gathered from my district rep, I'll be a 4 after 10 races at the 5 level--I'm starting again after years of not racing. Seeing as the rules state that placings are needed to move up from 4 to 3 and so on (not just a number of races' worth of experience), I suppose it means that one's upgraded to a 4 after the mandatory 10 races. No placings are necessary according the rules.

I thought I was crazy there for a minute! I'm a sane man after all.

Here's what USA Cycling says on it (I didn't make it up).Wayne
Jan 10, 2002 10:27 AM
You're right about not needing results (and so are the other posters) it's just that unless you really stick out at the races no ones going to come chasing you down to force you to upgrade to a 4. So there is no automatic upgrade. It's up to you to petition the rep for the upgrade. This is pretty much true for all upgrades, the reps aren't sitting arounding perusing the local results to make sure nobody is sandbagging.
you're rightDog
Jan 16, 2002 8:12 AM
I don't think anyone gets forced to upgrade from 5. However, I've never met anyone who did not want to upgrade asap. There usually are no prizes for 5's races, and you're stuck with a bunch of newbies. Why would anyone want to stay a 5?

All this is sort of moot, anyway. Around here, unless the fields are really big, they throw the 4's and 5's in together.

some stats....jjtriumph
Jan 9, 2002 2:32 PM
i just looked at my training logs from last year.
my first cat4 race, attleboro crit, we averaged 26.9mph, with a mid-sized hill in the back. i, along with half of the pack got pulled, after being dropped (and ready to get lapped) only 18mins into the race (1/2 done).
for reference, cat 3 averaged BELOW us at 26.8.
(yes, i did check my math on this!!)

working mans stage race (cat 4) the time trial, i finished near the bottom of the list with an average of 24.4mph
(rolling terrain)

working mans stage race (road race) 38miles, 1:32 at 24.8mph

workingmans stage race (small oval cource .25miles x 80laps) average speed 28.2mph

well's ave training crit (cat 4) 30 laps at 0.8miles
26.0mph ave

hope that helps.....
cat 5 was "typically" a couple of mph slower....not at all an easy 'beginner' level, by any means (at least for me)

Wells Ave?jayb29
Jan 9, 2002 2:43 PM
Are you talking about the Boston Road Club races? I used to do those before I moved out west.
yup :)jjtriumph
Jan 9, 2002 5:49 PM
lots of fun.....
hows the racin compare out west???
Jan 9, 2002 4:44 PM
A breath of fresh air. Someone that races and does not just talk about it on B Boards. If I had a watt of power for each time someone on this board said the Cat 4-5 races are "just an easy ride with a sprint at the end" or called me a liar when I said the pack can surge up into the low 30's.

Thank You
Speaking of speeds and cats...shirt
Jan 9, 2002 9:09 PM
Last year I had a sneaking suspicion that the Masters 4/5 races I was doing were not only faster than the Senior 5s, but the Senior 4s as well. I started timing my laps and then would time the laps of those two Senior races. Without exception (I gave up after four or five races) the Masters race was faster. As a matter of fact, the speeds (we're talking sub one hour crits, here) were on a par with the Senior 3s.

I then did the same thing with the Masters 1/2/3 races. That race was usually the second fastest race after the 1/2 race.

5s are frequently faster than 4s in time trials and hill climbs. Why? Well, there are frequently some fit-as-hell triathletes that come out to do those, get one-day licenses and clean up. Bastards.

Sounds like last year at Fitchburg...Wayne
Jan 10, 2002 6:01 AM
the guy who won the cat. 4/(5?) race was some triathlete who had only done a couple of bike races. His time trial time would have won the cat. 3 race, and if I remember correctly given him a top 30 in the pro/1/2 race.
Speaking of speeds and cats...allervite
Jan 10, 2002 7:08 PM
Bastards for sure. I got third in the first ever road race I entered. The guy who won was a full time prfessional Mountain Bike Racer.
Triathlete Fast?liu02bhs
Jan 13, 2002 8:57 PM
Wow, y'all must have some really fit people over there. I haven't seen too much fast bike leg in triathlons over here. If you can avg. 24+ you will probably be ranked among the top 10 fastest bike split. I heard the cat 5 crit races here only goes up to 28 not as some mentioned lower 30s.
Triathlete Fast?Woof the dog
Jan 14, 2002 4:42 AM
dudeman, just leave the average speed alone, it completely depends on terrain. A lot of courses have some parts that are downhill that add to your avg. speed substentially while cat 5 or 4 ability stays the same, unless its early in the season and all the soon-to-be-cat2 cat5s from collegiate racing completely take over and then upgrade at the end of summer to at least a cat3. If you can hang with the cat4 pack in one race, you can do it on any other course. The only way to find out is to try and see where you are. Some of it of course, depends on your strengths. Train your weaknesses and race your strengths, thats what I heard.

For the record, more tri-geeks can't handle all the surges in the pack than your regular weekend warriors. There are always exceptions, but tri people train to go at an even time trial pace, not for a final sprint.


woof the dog.
re: Category Questionbrider
Jan 10, 2002 11:41 AM
Speed wise, you're ready. What I found here in the Seattle area is that the Cat 5's usually raced with the Cat 4s, so results really didn't mean anything if they were going to be used as a guide to upgrade to 4. THe 4/5 races were usually a total hammerfest, with every one gunning for results to upgrade to 3. The 3 races (often very cruelly combined with the 1s and 2s) weren't always faster, as team tactics came into play much more. Best advice -- start racing and look for the clubs that work well as a team.
re: Category Questiongiantcu92
Jan 10, 2002 1:37 PM
I agree with you on that one. Most of the 4 races I did last year before upgrading to a 3 were all out hammerfests with nobody working as a team for the most part. When finally my teammates and I starting working together, we were able to control races to our liking, and then we all upgraded together and are now going to ravage the 3's this season.
re: Category QuestionLovetoclimb
Jan 14, 2002 7:47 PM
Nice dude, sounds good. What team? Are you racing Valley of the Sun to kick off that smack talk? Just kiddin, I need to go to bed. Good luck on your season.
re: Category QuestionYoungRcR
Jan 17, 2002 4:53 PM
Well there are a few things:
Racing age-defined as the age that you will be on Dec. 31st of the race year. So if your 18 now, but will be 19 by dec. 31st, you do not qualify to race as a junior.

Those speeds sound like a solid cat V. By the time you add in the constant attacks that characterize the local junior crits in this area, things get a lot harder. The best way to find out is to try.

And dont worry about upgrading so fast. I was a cat V for an entire season, until i started double-dipping (C race and B race) and when i got 3rd in the B race, i was no longer allowed in the C race. You just gotta get ut there and enjoy it!
re: Category QuestionYoungRcR
Jan 17, 2002 5:02 PM
Forgot to mention that around here the C race is cat 5. The B race is cat 4/3. The average pack size for those races was around 50-60 on a racetrack with two sweeping turns you can pedal all the way through at any speed.
The average speed on the only race i recorded (in a race, your either going too slow, just right, or tearing the legs off your competitors, which you cant be told by a speedometer) was around 28.7
But be careful when in a pack that big!