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"cat"-ing down(16 posts)

"cat"-ing downmikebike22
Oct 4, 2003 3:25 PM
I've been out of racing for a few years, new wife, new kid, new dog, new house. I was a pretty competative cat 3 in my day. I'm not in great shape at this time. What does everbody think of me signing up for a one day licencse and racing cat 5? I suspect I will be pretty competative in a cat 5 race, even in my current shape. I'd like some honest opinions, I have friends who tell me its no big deal, others who think I should strung up for even thinking such thoughts.
Depends on your resultsLC
Oct 5, 2003 2:18 PM
Nothing wrong with testing your legs out. If you keep finding yourself on the podium at the end of the race, then I think there is something wrong with what we all know are called sand baggers.

The other question you have to ask yourself is are you going to feel comfortable riding with cat 5's?
Give the 3's a try first...biknben
Oct 6, 2003 5:55 AM
Although you no longer have the fitness you used to, why not try a 3's race and see how much you've lost. Sit in with the better riders and see if you can hang. The quickest way to get faster is to ride with faster riders.

I'm currently scratching and clawing my way out of the 4's. The thought of going back to cat. 5 at some point is just painful. I'd use the 3's race to gauge my fitness. See where you need the most improvement and work on it. Then as your fitness improves continue in the 3's to get back to your old form. If getting your old form back just isn't going to happen, request a downgrade to cat. 4.
Why is cat 5 so bad? (nm)Rich_Racer
Oct 6, 2003 9:16 AM
Do you mean, what MAKES it so bad, or what ABOUT it is sobill
Oct 6, 2003 9:45 AM
bad?
What MAKES it so bad is the lack of experience. It's a rough, inconsistent, dangerous mess, with boneheaded moves, usually timid, followed by boneheaded overreactions. I'm a lowly Cat 4, and even I'm glad to be out of the 5's, although the only consistent distinctions are that the 4's are maybe a little faster and maybe a tad less wide-eyed.
Which is also what ABOUT cat 5 racing is so bad.
Bill doesn't paint a pretty picture but...biknben
Oct 7, 2003 5:21 AM
I have witnessed all of the things that Bill mentioned. His answer is right on.

One thing worth noting is that not all cat. 5 races are this bad. Every race someone seems to do one of the things that Bill mentioned and you see a pattern from race to race.

Someone makes a questionable move and bikes start swerving all over the road and people are yelling. That's nothing more than an over-reaction.

I've seen tactical idiots pull the entire group to reel in a breakaway that included thier own teammates. That was a classic.

Constant rubber-banding in the corners. Slowing down for no reason. Sprinting through the start/finish area every lap to show off for the girls.

When you do enough races that include combinations of these things, you are very thankfull when your upgrade sticker shows up in the mail.
Give the 3's a try first...Sadlebred
Oct 6, 2003 10:34 AM
Sorry, you can't "Try" a Cat. 3's race without being a Cat. 3. This is the way it works--sometimes. It depends on who your USCF Regional/State Rep is. If you know him, if he thinks you can handle the 3's, etc.

Rule 1: You can only race Cat. 5 on a 1 day license. End of story. Thisi s in the USCF rulebook.

Rule 2: You cannot do a Cat. 3 race on a 1 day license. See rule 1.

Talk to your regional or state Rep. USA Cycling tell you who that is.. If you want to race anything higher than 5, you will need to renew your annual license. This is where your rep comes in. When you renew, call USA Cycling and tell them you used to be a Cat. 3. Chances are, they will not put you in Cat. 3; you will probably be a Cat. 4. You will then be able to work your way up to Cat. 3 again. It also depends on if the State Rep knows you, knows how much you ride, has seen you race in the past, etc.

This has happened to several friends, including a teammate. Said teammate was a Cat. 1/Pro back in the early to mid-90's before you had to be on a UCI registered team to be a pro. He took 8-9 years off, got married, had 3 cute kids, did some tris, and decided to start racing again. They put him in as a Cat. 3. This was partially based on that he didn't have the time committments to race as a Cat. 1 anymore ("full time" job, kids, wife, house, dog, etc.) and that he'd only ridden recreationally for several years before resuming training seriously early this year. He's doing great in the 3's and has had several Top 10 placings.
I didn't realize the USCF would do that...biknben
Oct 7, 2003 5:02 AM
I figured he could renew his lic. in Cat. 3. My bad.

At what point does the USCF start downgrading racers who take time off?
I didn't realize the USCF would do that...Sadlebred
Oct 7, 2003 5:35 AM
I don't think there is a specific time limit in the rule book. The USCF gives a lot of latitude to the local/state/district reps to downgrade (or upgrade) on a case by case basis. If the person is comfortable racing Cat. 3's, they may get renewed at a 3 although I've never personally known that to happen. Usually, they are put in the 4's if they have been out for more than a few years. The best way to "keep" you Cat. 3 is to renew your license yearly even if you don't race. Of course, the renewal fees can add up!
Give the 3's a try first...Sadlebred
Oct 6, 2003 11:20 AM
Sorry, you can't "Try" a Cat. 3's race without being a Cat. 3. This is the way it works--sometimes. It depends on who your USCF Regional/State Rep is. If you know him, if he thinks you can handle the 3's, etc.

Rule 1: You can only race Cat. 5 on a 1 day license. End of story. Thisi s in the USCF rulebook.

Rule 2: You cannot do a Cat. 3 race on a 1 day license. See rule 1.

Talk to your regional or state Rep. USA Cycling tell you who that is.. If you want to race anything higher than 5, you will need to renew your annual license. This is where your rep comes in. When you renew, call USA Cycling and tell them you used to be a Cat. 3. Chances are, they will not put you in Cat. 3; you will probably be a Cat. 4. You will then be able to work your way up to Cat. 3 again. It also depends on if the State Rep knows you, knows how much you ride, has seen you race in the past, etc.

This has happened to several friends, including a teammate. Said teammate was a Cat. 1/Pro back in the early to mid-90's before you had to be on a UCI registered team to be a pro. He took 8-9 years off, got married, had 3 cute kids, did some tris, and decided to start racing again. They put him in as a Cat. 3. This was partially based on that he didn't have the time committments to race as a Cat. 1 anymore ("full time" job, kids, wife, house, dog, etc.) and that he'd only ridden recreationally for several years before resuming training seriously early this year. He's doing great in the 3's and has had several Top 10 placings.
re: "cat"-ing downMShaw
Oct 6, 2003 10:38 AM
Depending on where you are, you may be able to get your cat 3 back if you really want it. Gotta talk to the district rep.

If you can, I'd keep it. From what I've seen, the Cat 3s aren't THAT much faster than the 4s, just smoother, more in control, etc.

I did several 3/4 races this summer and like them better than just the 4s (or 4/5s!).

Even better are the M30+, where you get the old pros and older Cat1/2 riders warming up for their big race of the day... Way quick, way smooth, much safer! (everyone knows they have to get up and go to work on Mon...)

That help?

Mike
I did exactly what you're contemplatingshirt
Oct 6, 2003 1:07 PM
and I honestly don't think it matters much one way or the other. The only thing you'll realize after a few 4/5 starts is that you really don't want to be there, and then you have to bug your district rep to put you back where you belong. Cat-3 just isn't that hard, even when you're out of shape. If you need to spend the Winter getting in shape just so you can stand on the 4/5 box, go for it. I did just that before feeling overcome with shame and a very potemkin sense of victory.

Now I'm having the reverse reaction, where I wish I could race with the 1/2 Pros just to see where I stand on an absolute rather than "adjusted" scale.

FWIW, I was off the bike for eleven (11) solid years. It took about 10 months to get back to my original form, and by the time I was 37 (two years after the re-start) I was significantly faster than I ever was in my 20s.

/shirt
Thanks guysRich_Racer
Oct 7, 2003 10:24 AM
That's really interesting insight into the US racing world. I just moved to San Diego from England and I want to race next year. I'm a little apprehensive about starting in the cat 5s as I've heard so much bad wrap about them - especially the crashes! I only have one bike and can't afford to lose it! Should be fun. I'm going to join San Diego Bike Club in a couple of weeks time.
SDBC may be a good place to start.MShaw
Oct 10, 2003 10:49 AM
SDBC is for freds that don't race so if you do end up racing, you'll probably change teams in the next year or so.

Depending on where you are in the county, Ranchos is a good alternative, as is Celo, or Swamis, or Island Boy Racing, or...

If you're an old fart, Cyclovets guys can be fast.

Check out www.socalcycling.com for teams info, race/ride schedules, etc.

Mike
Request the down grade to "4" and race the 3/4 road races.Canidraftyou
Oct 20, 2003 11:56 PM
Here in the south, we have a few races that offer a 3/4 road race. I would find out where you're at before trying to go all the way down. If you crash in a 3/4 its prob. "you"...if you crash and burn in a 5 race, its "always them" ...LMAO.

peace out,
The advice I was given about cat5 and uptreebound
Oct 31, 2003 6:30 AM
In cat5 a strategy or tactic should always include crash avoidance. Break away and hope the pack is dysfunctional enough to not catch you. Stay on the perimeter with plenty of options to bail around a pile-up. If you hear brake pad squeal then pedal harder away from the sound. If you hear someone urping swing wide and note the location for the next lap if it's in a crit. There is no drafting in a cat5, only tailgating, and there is a difference. If you hear someone sneeze then brace for impact. When you see someone reach for a water bottle expect it to fall out of their hands. And always remember, a walk to the podium is always better than a ride in an ambulance, if you can't do one then avoid the other.

Cat5 is the entry point. Fun, gonzo, enlightening, frightening. Too much stuff this year, planning my entry back to the forray next year, setting up the weight room now and pumping up the studded tires on the MTB for winter training rides. As the shop owner who gave me the advice would say, about friggin' time (he also races, road and cross, not sure of his level though, 2 or 3 I think).

Just consider this a Friday ramble from a former Fred.