Question about Race Terms


New Member
Jul 14, 2004
I am new to the sport of cycling and I have been looking up some information about local races...but there's one problem: I have no idea what any of the terms mean! Crit, cat 4, cat 5, etc... What are the different categories of racing and how do you know which one you fall into? Is there such a thing as novice racing? Thanks in advance for any help deciphering all this stuff!!
A Crit is when you go around in circles or a course with lots of turns, in a Crit you race for ex. and hour, not 50 miles or somthing.

cat means category. everyone, starts out at cat 5. cat 4 and 5 race together most of the time. the only difference between cat 5 and 4 is the to become a cat 4 you have to have 10 mass start races under your belt. The more races you do and the better your bike handling skills get and the faster you get, you will move up in the categorys. Most of the Cat 1 and Cat 2s are pros. for more information on this go to also, to move up in the categorys you will need to buy a racing lisens, get one at
Cat. 1's and Cat 2's are NOT pros. There is a specific pro license/race level.

Anyone "categorized" is oficially an amateur racer.

But because there are not that many pro's or 1's in most geographic areas, they usually put the Pro/1/2 together as one race. Then they'll sometimes do a 1/2/3 race, a 3/4 race a 4/5 race and a 5/citizen for the real beginners. The 5/beginners will get medals for placing, the rest will get a cash prize (value depending on the level you're in).

As was stated, check out usacycling for real info and breakdown of stuff, as well as how to get licensed.

And most local crits are mileage based, not time based ........... anywhere from 15-40 miles usually.