Which would be a better category for a newbie wanting to do a road race?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by awilki01, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    I'm considering entering the Hotter N Hell road race this year. It's a 100K race. I think I have two options as a 39 year old Cat 5:
    Cat 4/5
    35+ Cat4/5

    The 35+ doesn't mention masters in the description, so I'm thinking this is the one I should do. Thoughts/opinions?

    I just want to get to Cat 4 so one day I can compete in Masters 40+ time trials. I know there are some FAST guys in masters - even national champions, but I have to move up one day. I can't be Cat 5 forever. And, given it will probably take me a long time to finish up 10 mass start events, I might as well start now.

    The USAC criteria states the following for Cat 5 to 4 upgrades: Finish 10 mass start races. Local Associations may also establish policies where upgrade credit is given for taking a sanctioned rider education clinic.

    Does finish mean with the pack, or can I just let them start, hang with them a little bit, and let them go ahead? Would that be the same in a criterium?

    The only way for me to get to Cat 4 is to do mass start events. Most of my training has been for TT'ing and I train solo. Some of the guys in club rides don't know what the heck they are doing half the time and things can get dangerous fast. I imagine a Cat 5 race is worse. If I could just start with them and let them duke it out in the end, I'm good with that so long as I get credit for a mass start event.
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't aware it was finishing - I thought it was just starting. But seriously if you have been doing any regular training for a few months, this shouldn't be an issue after your 2nd or 3rd race once your legs are used to the speed, and finishing with the pack (or better) will likely be a given. IMO endurance is the hard part and takes a few months to build, speed and repeatable power however starts to come after just a few weeks.

    Club rides can be bad, Cat5 races can be worse. Cat 4 is noticeably less squirrely. Cat4/5 races can be the worst of the lot - the poor handling of the 5's combined with the speed of the 4's... oy vei /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    The masters race (or 35+) may be the way to go - the old timers are less interested in showing up at work on Monday with road rash or black eyes.

    Edit: I just checked the USAC site and you are correct - it was either last year or the year before one just needed to start. I misread your intention about finishing with the bunch and see now it was for safety purposes. I imagine finishing means just that. 10 lantern rouges and yer in!
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    You're correct in saying that you can only upgrade doing road races and that you need to do 10 massed start events. What it doesn't specifically say in the rules is that you can do both the 4/5 and 4/5 35+ on the same day. Two races in one day - means that picking up a few per weekend is very feasible. From what I understand in a road race you just need to finish and in a crit you need to finish and not get pulled for being lapped. Just stay on the outside of the bunch on the run in to the finish and drop off the back if you feel the need too. Some regions offer midweek newbie races that give a varying amount of upgrade points either for the entire series or per race attended. They're typically "chaperoned" by an experienced rider that weeds out the idiots and/or dangerous riders. Flat crits are typically the easiest and if crashing scares the bejesus out of you remain towards the middle of the road in the first 1/4 of the bunch - or towards the middle of the road right at the back. Always ride with your hands in the drops and your eyes focused at least 5 riders ahead of you. Wear an under shirt and if the worst does happen keep your hands on the bars when you crash - typically hands down = collar bone goes snap. I don't think there was one crit that I did two years ago where there wasnt a crash. Lumpy technical crits in Cat5 even had me worried. Lemmings running of a cliff with a 500 ton hammer just before the edge sums things up nicely. Farking idiots would be apt. LOL Hill climbs count too as long as the minimum length of race is met. Yes, despite the road going uphill there was a crash in one that I entered. Road races tend to be more of a war of attrition so crashing is less frequent but if it is going to happen it'll more likely because someone falls off all by themselves in some weird and unexplainable "pulling the bars so hard and I weighting the front wheel leading to munching asphalt and destroying $15,000 worth of bikes" incident. I found 35+ 4/5 to be easier and safer than 4/5 as the former group is typically folks that have families, jobs and more of a balanced view on life - the latter being young and not always fully aware or how much sanding your skin off at 30mph or breaking bones can really sting a little...
     
  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    LOL! I cannot stop the laughing! But it's so true.
     
  5. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate it. I just don't want to have to go down and break bones because some numb-nut can't stay on his bike /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  6. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    If you can manage some decent finishes and don't quite have 10 don't be afraid to request an upgrade. Worst they will do is say no. Also include some tt results, it will help support your request
     
  7. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    Thanks! Will do! It will take me a while to get even close to 10. But, I'm in no hurry. This training thing is turning into a lifetime endeavor. I may never get good, but I'll have fun doing it.
     
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