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Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?(26 posts)

Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?MR_GRUMPY
Nov 17, 2003 11:23 AM
Last weekend we had a team dinner where they introduced our 2004 elite women's team. One of the new women just started racing last year, and moved from Cat 4 to Cat 1 in her first racing season. When I heard that, it really knocked my sox off. We have another member who started off as a Tri-girl who went from a Cat 4 to a Cat 2 in her first year, but I can almost see that happening if you have great talent.
I wonder how rare this kind of thing is. I can't think of any guys that have done this.
A guy in our club went from Cat 5 to Cat 2 in, I think, a yearbill
Nov 17, 2003 11:27 AM
I wasn't a member then). He was a national (world?) class rower previously.
I'm just hoping to scratch into Cat 3, where I'll be a lifer...shawndoggy
Nov 17, 2003 11:28 AM
But if I recall correctly, Sherpa23 had a similar story (that he went from no racing to a 2 or 1 in a season). Local fast guy in my parts has a similar story too, moving up very rapidly.

Damned genetic mutants.
Possible? Yes, and women v. menNo_sprint
Nov 17, 2003 1:34 PM
Here in SoCal, we've got field sizes that rival the largest anywhere in the nation from my understanding. Still, junior and women racing is tiny. During the largest races like Redlands or Manhattan Beach you'll see small (relative) women fields. In the small local crits you'll sometimes see fields of 3 women 4s. It is not hard for me to imagine it being easy to move up if you've got better than average ability, dedication and training time. Now, doing the same as a male in SoCal? I've never seen it happen though I think Jamie Paolinetti went from a 5 to a 2. This is years ago and he is extraordinary. To make a move even to a 3 in one season as a true rookie here would simply be extraordinary.
I have a friend that went from 4years as a cat 5....853
Nov 17, 2003 3:30 PM
to this year being a 4 and advancing to Cat. 2 in one season
here in Socal. He was a realy heavy 250lb. Cat.5 for years and finally got tired of being heavy - started dieting and in like 6 months went down to 160lbs. This year he had quite a few first,seconds and thirds as a Cat.3 and at Manhattan Beach was up-graded to a Cat.2
Time to start eating salads!
I have a friend that went from 4years as a cat 5....No_sprint
Nov 18, 2003 9:06 AM
Good for him. Too bad he's in no man's land now. That's my little name for 2s. Round here it's gotta be tough to be a 2, goin' up against pros week in, week out... Most of the 2s I know basically *domestique* for their teammates.
slight correctionCritLover
Nov 18, 2003 8:32 PM
Yes, I agree that there are some differences with the size of women's fields and upgrading. It is definitely harder to do this in men's fields-no question. However, the qualifications for races is that there must be at least 10 women, and crits have to be fifteen miles long, and road races twenty five. So, it is not quite as easy as it may seem.

I encountered this problem trying to cat up my first year. A race would have nine women, or five, and even though I might win, it didn't count. And a lot of race promoters don't realize that scheduling a 12 mile race is pointless (no pun intended) for anyone interested in upgrading. If it wasn't for these rules, I would have been a two, and maybe even a one, by the end of the season.

And no, I have no endurance sport history... some softball and volleyball, but that's it. I did ride a heck of lot the winter before I started, but hell, doesn't everyone?
Lawnmower people - an aside to the questioneurochien
Nov 17, 2003 2:35 PM
A friend of mine and I were talking about people whom you've never seen before and suddenly they're winning and upgrading, while you've been trying and trying to upgrade and place honorably for years. If you ask those people "what did you use to do before racing bikes?" their answer is something like: "oh, I used to mow lawns and I had this old crappy bike, I saw there was a race so I signed up and I won, isn't it fun!". I think it's even more true with women (oh, I never train). Don't believe a word of it. It's all mind games. These people used to excel at some other athletic activity (running, generally). No one just gets off the couch and starts winning races, especially road races and crits where technical skills and tactical sense in the pack are as much part of the picture as fitness. As for men vs. women, the depth of fields definitely makes a difference in the timing of some very talented men to leapfrog several categories within one season. Latest and most spectatular example in the pro men would be Tom Danielson, from collegiate to Fassa Bortolo in two seasons. eurochien
re: Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?R600DuraAce
Nov 17, 2003 7:13 PM
As for men, not sure how, technically, you can race at cat5 in only one season and cat 2 the next. Don't you have to earn enough points first? You can't race with the cat 2 when you are still a cat4. Of course, one has to ask where they usually race.
Once you have enough points, you don't need to wait.....MR_GRUMPY
Nov 18, 2003 6:05 AM
till the next year. You can ask for an upgrade anytime.
re: Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?Voodoo
Nov 18, 2003 10:23 AM
A) You'd have to be racing a lot and placing in every race
B) I also think it's easier to do for women where if you come in strong, you can dominate the smaller fields
C) I've seen men's Cat 5s to 3s in one season, usually mountain bike guys going road. 4 to 1 or 5 to 2 would be tough...Cat 3 usually has an assortment of strong riders on the way up and 2s usually race Pro, 1, 2 here in the East, tough to get a result.
Our local hotshoeshirt
Nov 18, 2003 12:15 PM
went from Cat-5 to Cat-2 in 13 months. He'd done a year of mtb racing previously, and went from beginner to expert his first year there. Before THAT he was a nationally ranked downhill skier, so yes, there was a history of athletic achievement.

He's now being shopped by a couple of the smaller pro teams based on his results as a 2.
A junior here in town...merckx56
Nov 18, 2003 3:09 PM
went from racing juniors and cat five to cat 2 last season.
He won a couple of three races off the front solo right before he catted up. BTW-he just turned 16! I have seen the future, and it does not involve me!
The future53T
Nov 19, 2003 6:56 AM
Isn't it great to see the juniors going strong? My daughter took 4th in her first race, but she's only 5, so I expect some progress next year.
re: Cat 4 to Cat 2 in one race season alberta canadajradford
Nov 19, 2003 7:12 AM
I don't know the guys name but in his first races he would just ride away from the pack and know one could catch him. His ability to do this was diminished once he got to cat 2 but he still was placing high in these races.
re: Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?Asiago
Nov 19, 2003 12:06 PM
Not uncommon for a team here in town that regularly takes juniors or college kids and has them from 5s to 2 (or 1s) in 16 months.

re: Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?raptorUW
Nov 24, 2003 7:22 PM
don't be too biased now... there's more than one club here that can claim results like that ; )

training going well?

re: Cat 4 to Cat 1 in one race season ?Asiago
Nov 25, 2003 6:51 AM
Hey, what can I say when they take on a charity case like mine! :)

Yes, there is more than one club with such a claim.

Yeah, training is going well. I'm on a rest week this week, thankfully! I needed it! Also not exactly the best weather to be doing much riding! Dang it's cold!

How about you?

only three divisions here but...hayaku
Nov 20, 2003 12:27 AM
I wen't from the bottom to the top in my first racing season. My best result was 23rd in the top division at a national competition but most others were DNF.

I have a hundred excuses as to why I couldn't finish but I'm sure everyone has, even the winner.

I didn't gain enough points to stay in the top level this year but I think I'll get back up there soon. with a new team, going to more races and with more experience I'm confident.

It's not very common to even get to Cat-1 but it can happen quickly. everyone's different and some are just plain lucky.
I Went From a Cat 4 to a Cat 1-2 in a seasonbikerb
Nov 21, 2003 10:28 AM
Last year I raced Cat 4 in cyclocross and this year I am racing the Open Category (Cat 1-2). By the way, I am a junior also.
I Went From a Cat 4 to a Cat 1-2 in a seasonbikerb
Nov 21, 2003 10:30 AM
Last year I raced Cat 4 in cyclocross and this year I am racing the Open Category (Cat 1-2). By the way, I am a 16 year old junior.
5 to 2 is easy , but there's a BIG diff from a Cat 2 and 1!!!!pp_mcgee
Nov 28, 2003 10:18 PM
I went from a 5 to a 2 in one season, as a teen. It's not common, but not necessarily out of the ordinary. I mean, all you have to do is when some Cat 3 races, which isn't very difficult. The difference between being a Cat 2 and a 1 is huge, though. I'm a Cat 1 now, and I can tell you that winning Pro/1/2 races (as it takes to earn your cat 1 upgrade) is 100 times harder than winning cat 3. That said, I've also known 2 people, both males, in my life who have gone from 5 to 1 in one season. Both have gone on to race with the US national team and pro trade teams. It's rare, but it is possible.
Nothing To Do With Genetics...And Its Very Possible!BigLeadOutGuy
Nov 26, 2003 12:31 PM
I dont think its unreasonable to go from cat 4 to 1 in a season. If you dedicate yourself to training. Alot has to do with your athletic background as well. I went form cat 5 to cat 3 in 16 races I was shooting for my cat 2 untill I was sidelined with a life threatening illness. Im finally healthy and I am going to pick up where I left off this coming season. I really didnt have any endurace background previously...I bought a bike and trained for 6 months and started racing. I think it had to do with the ability to suffer..I remember many races hanging on with the pack suffering with a HR of 185 for miles and miles on end and hitting max HRs of over 200.
Just my lame story =)
Nothing To Do With Genetics...And Its Very Possible!Woof the dog
Nov 28, 2003 10:19 PM
what you said is purely subjective. Things don't happen out of nothing. It is either a talent or a background, or both.

Besides, a lot here seem to be missing one important thing: It is just plain dangerous to have someone going from crash5 to a cat2. It ain't all about having good power output, a lot of it is about how to ride safely in the pack, how to corner in the pack etc etc etc. Those officials who upgrade people without a good amount of races behind their back put me in grave danger. I hope it would stop.

Woof the dog.
Nothing To Do With Genetics...And Its Very Possible!Spoiler
Dec 3, 2003 10:00 AM
I had the exact opposite experience. I started racing in 1999. Prior to that, I had been cycling recreationally for a couple years. I hired a coach and joined a team. I trained around 15-20 hrs a week. I was 31 years old, 5'7" and weighed 140 lbs.
My first Cat 5 races were time trials, mostly 20k's. I finished at the most of the time, but managed a top ten finish at the end of the season.

I upgraded to 4 the following season. My first Cat 4 race was a 9-mile, uphill timetrial. My average HR was 195, I was suffering, at my complete physical limit, and I still finished dead last. I would have finished at the bottom in the 5's!

I raced the next season, but alway finished at the bottom in races and time trials. I still can't break the hour for 20K.

It's safe to say training, motivation, and effort were not the limiting factors.

I'm looking into taking my parents to court for "Failure to provide adequate genetic provisions."
Cross-over athletes can do it.Spoiler
Dec 3, 2003 10:19 AM
Here's a close example from pro cyclist John Leiswyn's diary.

"Wes started the year as a beginner Cat 5 and today would be his last Cat 3 race. He crashed after getting his tires wet on the aforementioned straightaway, but got back in to win. With upgrade (to Cat 2) sticker in hand, he promptly lined up for our Pro 1/2 event! He didn't last long, but it's like a kid opening a present - he wants to play with it right away, eh?"