Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Cat 5 issue

Forgive me if I don't have a good grasp of the road racing scene. I'm too lazy to research it and frankly, would rather spend that time riding by bike. But I do find it odd that in mountain bike races, a racer can usually select the category that he/she feels they belong in. For example, I'll usually race in the SS or Expert category. At the time of registration, I can select the category that I feel applies to me, pay my money, and nobody gives me any crap about it.

Why is road racing different? I will always be a Cat 5 road racer because I do not do more that 10 road races per year to quality for the upgrade.

It seems silly.

And if a mountain biker enters a road race as a Cat 5 racer, and does well, that person usually gets a lot of crap from the other racers for "sandbagging".

What is the work around for that?


dug said...

well, first, giving crap is my god given, constitutionally guaranteed american right. don't tread on me bro.

and i forget what 2 was for.

Jason said...

Rick - request the upgrade, your previous road finishes are plenty for them to bump you up, regardless of the arbitrary 10 starts rule.

Plan to see you surging through the packs of higher category sneetches on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

The 10 starts don't have to be in the same year. Also, most places they will upgrade you before 10.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Utah won't upgrade you before ten, but, as has been stated, it's ten total, not ten per year. Here's the catch, though, you have to have an annual license to upgrade. If you're doing one race per year, on a one day license, you can't upgrade.

In defense of the system, road racing is different than mtn bike racing in that you're usually riding in a group. And I'm not saying that you're this way, but there are plenty of guys fast enough to be 3's or 2's but without the group riding skills. I'd just as soon keep those guys in the fives and not have to worry about them wrecking me.

[Steps aside and waits to get flamed about relative bike handling skills of racers versus non-racers.]

Aaron said...

It's actually a huge conspiracy run by a couple of professional mountain bikers who like to win all of the road races they enter so that they can feel superior to the roadies.

Rick Sunderlage said...

Dug- you scare me

Jason- I think there are plenty of riders for me to chase in my own start group. But do me a favor and wait for me at the finish okay?

Mark- I'm fine the annual license thing. Have that. But road racing needs some derby action to make it more exciting. I say open it up, let the 5's upgrade sooner, and let the show begin. Thanks for the details...You are always very informed.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Hurry up and request the upgrade, then. There's more than one road race worth doing each year, and most of them don't require negotiations with upper management. At least not much.

If you were racing, Suncrest would own Cat. 4. At least until you moved to three, which is probably where you belong.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

BTW, theoretically, you can go from 4-3 by winning two races, depending on distance and field size. Podium in three races and you're there.

Other than 5-4, it doesn't take long to move through the categories if you're getting results.

vh1 said...

You have 10 road races this year. Sprints to the summit and guard shack count.

KanyonKris said...

The big difference is: all of the local MTB races are just for fun (only the NORBA ones are serious national competition) but all road racing are governed by USAC (a nation-wide mob, er, cycling organization).

In theory someone could do a non-USAC road race like Ed does ICup and and let everyone pick their category (aren't those called centuries?). But most road racers are so ingrained with the USAC system of categories, points and upgrades I doubt a non-USAC road race would draw many participants.

On the flip side, Ed could make the ICup races USAC (they have mountain bike categories). I'm glad he doesn't, even though the more relaxed ICup "rules" make it easy to sandbag.

Over generalizing, it seems roadies like the more "serious" USAC racing system (feel more pro) and MTB racers prefer to race for fun.

Grizzly Adam said...

It's a natural off-shoot of the larger personality generalities of mountain bikers and roadies. One group is uptight and anal, the other, laid back and mellow.

I'll let you decide which is which.


Jonnie J said...

I've been to a couple mtb bike races this year....and um I don't think I saw anyone riding for fun. Oh sure they all claimed that after the bloody coughing and hacking sessions subsided...but fun? I guess thats what you call it when you punch the accelerator as hard as you can at the start line and then let off again at the finish. I think I better go back to the more serious road racing scene.

JZ said...

You need to come race with me in the Masters 35+ category. Can you do that as a Cat 5? I don't know. I was lucky (and unlucky) and upgraded to Cat 3 back in the day when they weren't so dang serious. They would let most licensed Expert MTBers start as a Cat 4 or even a Cat 3 for some.

KanyonKris said...

I used the word "fun" loosely, as in a hobbie, not a profession / getting paid - certainly MTB racers race hard.

Arguably most road racers are racing for fun too, but there is a clear path to pro (cat 1). In MTB racing there's less emphasis on going pro. There are only a handful of ICup pro racers and of those only a few do NORBA or other pro races / series.

fatguyonalittlebike said...

I believe years ago, you needed a license to race the ICup races, and then ed changed it and everybody was glad. There are a few races in Utah that are not USAC so they have A, B and C flights.

Cyclocross is the same here in Utah as mountain biking. you don't need a license, just race where you think you fit in. I was surprised when i did a few CX races in california last year and they asked me for my license. Which apparently according to my road license, i am a cat 4 CX racer and if i ever need it, i am a cat 5 track racer.

But really, we all know that both mountain biking and road biking are just 9 months worth of base miles for Cyclocross season.

BTW:Before the tour of utah's Sunday stage, they had a non- USAC crit with A, B and C flights instead of categories and got a ton of guys in the A flight.

KanyonKris said...

Rick, don't mind dug's comment - he was having a bad waiting room experience.

eber said...

just get chubby and slow. problem solved.

ps - waiting 2 hours in this blasted packet line for the rnd year in a row has made decide to bag lotoja nex year

Flyin' Ute said...

And, because I am the only voice of the Clydesdales I feel like I need to "weigh" in.

What the hell is wrong with both groups?

Create a division for the large bodies and "grow" the sport!!!

dug said...

cmon lewis, you don't see us fighting for a midget division for football. and i'm using "us" liberally here, since i'm on the bubble. too small for football, too big to be fast.

StupidBike said...

I am a MTB cat1, which you have to have results to become, a Cyclocross Cat2, which you have to have results to become and a Road cat4, which you have to have a pulse and a prententious air to become.

USA Cycling is dumb.

StupidBike said...

Oh yeah, and fying ute, to quote team revolution motto.

Try Harder!!