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  1. #1
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    Upgrade question/team/state champ jersey??

    I transitioned to cycling from running last year (2017) and did pretty well in road races and crits. I applied for my cat 4 upgrade early, then won the state road race championship and did well in a couple other 4/5 and 3/4 races. I now have the 20 points to apply for my cat 3 upgrade.

    First question: can I ever wear this state champ jersey? I still feel like a newb with respect to cycling and I do not want to feel like a douche showing up on the local group ride hammerfest wearing it. I think it's cool, and I'm proud of earning it, but yeah, it was for a Cat 4 race...

    Second question: Is there any reason I shouldn't apply for my cat 3 upgrade immediately? I don't feel particularly challenged and would rather not keep racing with cat 5's, since most of the races here are 4/5 mixed fields. And the 4/5 fields are huge, normally more than 60 racers. I did feel that the 3/4 races were harder, faster and safer last year, but I'm also stronger than I was last year by quite a bit.

    Final question: I'm not on a team, and I'm not a sprinter. Do I need a team as a Cat 3 to do well? There's definitely more team tactics in the 3/4 races I've done. How should I pick a team, or should I let a team pick me? I want to be on a team that takes racing and team tactics seriously and has riders stronger than me. I want to learn from some racers experienced in the higher categories. I'm associated with a local bike shop, but the shop isn't interested in having a race team-they're catering to upper class suburban mom and dads buying hybrids and entry level mountain bikes to ride around the neighborhood.

    Thanks for the insight.
    I like to ride fast.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathonrunner View Post
    I transitioned to cycling from running last year (2017) and did pretty well in road races and crits. I applied for my cat 4 upgrade early, then won the state road race championship and did well in a couple other 4/5 and 3/4 races. I now have the 20 points to apply for my cat 3 upgrade.

    First question: can I ever wear this state champ jersey? I still feel like a newb with respect to cycling and I do not want to feel like a douche showing up on the local group ride hammerfest wearing it. I think it's cool, and I'm proud of earning it, but yeah, it was for a Cat 4 race...

    Second question: Is there any reason I shouldn't apply for my cat 3 upgrade immediately? I don't feel particularly challenged and would rather not keep racing with cat 5's, since most of the races here are 4/5 mixed fields. And the 4/5 fields are huge, normally more than 60 racers. I did feel that the 3/4 races were harder, faster and safer last year, but I'm also stronger than I was last year by quite a bit.

    Final question: I'm not on a team, and I'm not a sprinter. Do I need a team as a Cat 3 to do well? There's definitely more team tactics in the 3/4 races I've done. How should I pick a team, or should I let a team pick me? I want to be on a team that takes racing and team tactics seriously and has riders stronger than me. I want to learn from some racers experienced in the higher categories. I'm associated with a local bike shop, but the shop isn't interested in having a race team-they're catering to upper class suburban mom and dads buying hybrids and entry level mountain bikes to ride around the neighborhood.

    Thanks for the insight.
    Question 1: You earned the jersey so it's your right. With that said, I've won many state elite and masters titles and have never worn any of them for a few reasons. Mainly I think it's a too pretentious for me being the main one.

    Question 2: I always felt it's better to race with more accomplished, faster riders which will help make you a more accomplished and faster racer. If you are younger it's probably better (imo) to upgrade and race with better guys asap. If older then not sure...enjoy the rest of the season and think about it when it's 2019 license time.

    Question 3: No not necessarily. But, if the guys are good and reasonably fit, then tactics can work. I'd ask a team. Most guys are cool but every team has their 10%. I suppose if you are really good then you'll be approached. I've seen dynasties come and go so the grass is always greener and keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

    Have fun. Don't take it all too serious. Every runner that's transitioned to cycling has been pretty good. You guys can move O2 and that's what it's all about.

  3. #3
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    1. I also feel like it's too pretentious. Maybe I'll wear it for solo training rides.

    2. I'm 27. Not sure if that's old or young. Married and starting a family soon, so definitely not taking this too seriously. Have no aspirations other than having fun and the desire to compete, since I've always done competitive sports from the time I was 5.

    3. I'll ask around, maybe after I do a few races in the 3's and determine if a team is necessary or not. I'd like to be on a team but don't want to commit to one if I'll still in essence be racing around without a team. I'd be fine with being a domestique if the team was good and racing as a team.

    Running: I think it mostly helps that I'm pretty lean. Most guys in the 4/5's could stand to make their biggest improvement by losing a few pounds.
    I like to ride fast.

  4. #4
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    With all the information above I'd recommend taking the cat 3 upgrade asap. Take your cat 2 upgrade asap so you can race with the cat 1 guys and the occasional pro. That's where (imo/e) a team really makes a difference.

    It will be a huge jump going from cat 2 to 1 so It's always hard to say when someone should make that jump. It depends how they are progressing. Meaning, if you're getting shelled in P1/2 races as a 2 then hang out for a while until experience and maturation catches up.

    Regarding the team thing...I don't know you or the region you're in so take this with a huge grain of salt: not including masters teams, I've never seen a cat 3 team do sh!t tactically. They try but, what ends up happening is they make some grand plan and then can't execute or don't know what to do when the race unfolds differently than what they expected. Good racers know where to be and when to be there and can get there.

    I could write a book so I'll shut it down. 27 isn't old or young. You can have a great amateur career. Again, your running history will serve you well. I keep thinking of Mike Woods who rides for Cannondale DP EF! Have fun out there and kill it! Don't forget to rest and recover!

  5. #5
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    I've always upgraded as soon as I had the minimum points required.

    The spacing and experience in the cat 3 fields is worth it alone.

    I hate it when people say they are not a sprinter. Just because you can't blast 1200+ watts for 10-15 sec doesn't mean you can not sprint. It just means your timing and positioning may need some work. Just like in running, you don't have to wait until the last 100m to "kick".

    That said the same thing that worked in cat 4, worked for me in cat 3. But it doesn't work in the cat 1/2 fields.

    My favorite teams have been smaller ones where we didn't make preset plans. Everyone just knew what to do when a teammate did x, y, or z.

  6. #6
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    Wear the jersey if you want, but it's kind of silly. I wore one of mine once in a race, and then didn't again.

    Always upgrade asap has always been my go-to.

    You don't need a team. I race successfully as a 1 without teammates. Some of the smaller, local races are a bit tougher because you get negative racing from people that do have teammates, but for the bigger (regional and PRT) races, having or not having teammates won't make hardly a bit of difference.

    I disagree about there being a jump from 2 to 1. You're already racing with 1s, so there's not much of a jump at all. There's a big jump from 3s to 2s, however, that almost everyone save for the uber-talented will experience. When you go fast in a 1/2 race, you go quite fast. And the finishes can be quite fast as well. And then there's another big jump from a local, typical 1/2 race to a PRT race. Again, it's the hard parts that are just so, so much harder.

  7. #7
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    I am old school and was surprised years ago to find that they had state champs for every age bracket and category. Win the title and upgrade as soon as you can and don't stop until you have the cat 1 jersey. In the begining you can surf off of stronger well organized teams just like Sagan and Cav have to do at times but ultimately you want your own. The issue is finding the right team that will work for you. Face it, no one is getting paid to do it, so why work for you? Many local teams may want you in, but you are low man on the totem pole. Choose wisely, the more wins you get on your own, the more teams will want you. As stated earlier, I am an old school snob with this stuff but years ago I ran into a guy riding on the road wearing a state champ jersey. He was a track champ in one event at the velodrome in a masters age bracket that only had 3 competitors. A year later he won the nationals against 10 people in his 5 year age bracket and always wore the full kit on the road training. He was very proud and that is great, but I know a whole bunch of Cat 1 50-60 year old guys that don't race masters, they mix it up 20 yrs olds instead of sandbagging their age group rides. They think the jerseys are funny, they have trunks of them from the time they were Juniors and national team, worlds jerseys, etc. Win with class, not with flash.

  8. #8
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    ^^^Excellent post. Just some random thoughts...

    Totally agree on the masters 5 year brackets. I can maybe understand Nats because the fields are large enough through 55+ or so, but, states is silly.

    In my state of AZ they even have masters races for cat1/2/3 and cat4/5 with maybe 15 guys in one race and 20 in the next. And we have a lot of race together score separately...grrr. Just makes for slightly less than interesting racing. The short duration of the race is annoying as well. I wish we had less categories and longer races for all races including state. For criteriums maybe cat 1/2/3 at 90 minutes, cat4/5 60 minutes, masters 40+ and masters 60+ 60 minutes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737 View Post
    For criteriums maybe cat 1/2/3 at 90 minutes, cat4/5 60 minutes, masters 40+ and masters 60+ 60 minutes.
    Totally agreed! But I'd throw juniors in as well, maybe 10-14 and 15-18.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Totally agreed! But I'd throw juniors in as well, maybe 10-14 and 15-18.
    Yep. I didn't forget about them just didn't mention them.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the responses.

    Update: Haven't raced since I wrote the post above, mostly because of work and some bad weather on the one race I had tentatively planned to do. But I have upgraded to a 3, and I'm still not on a team, which I think is probably good; not sure what my racing future will be like when we have kids. I know people do it, but not sure my motivation for racing will be the same then.

    We only have jerseys for cat 1,2,3 and 4 and masters 50 plus in the crit, road race and time trial, and one track event. The TT is a joke since turnout is so low but the other events are tough to win. The cat 4 crit had like 64 guys last year. In women's racing the numbers are a lot less.
    I like to ride fast.

  12. #12
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    Kids change the puzzle but, if you want to race and you're competitive by nature you'll find a way to make it work. And it can.

    Regarding racing for a team and after much thought, I think pedalbiker and Bee-an-key are correct. You don't need a team to be successful. I've had zero luck trying to organize young guys as well as masters to race well together. In the end it's hard to find guys that want to really race as a team. They say they do but, either don't know when to be where or just can't get to where they need to be at the right time. Or just want a result for themselves.

    At this point I just look at a team as part of the social aspect of the sport. Maybe training a bit with a partner here and there. Some team functions throughout the year. Having guys to be around at a race to share the moment whether you are racing together or not is nice. I travel by myself a bit to socal to race and while it's fun to race over there it's a bit odd to be such a loner. Good for some of the time but, it's nice to be surrounded by familiar faces. To laugh and bs about the day etc...

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