Thursday, February 08, 2007


Nice thing about a blog, is I get to have my own space to rant.

So, figuring that I have been around a while, and that a lot of the guys I normally race with are now Cat3 racers, I applied for my upgrade.

I ended up with 20 days of racing last year. 2 mountain bike races, 9 cyclocross races and 9 road races of differing classifications. No I don't have the "required" 20 points, in fact I have 2 points last year on the road. Lots of top 5 cyclocross finishes, but the fields ranged in size from 6 to 15.

Not wanting to be a sandbagger, I reasoned that if I'm strong enough to race near the front of our regional cyclocross Master's or at least be in the A races, that I should move out of the cat 4 fields on the road. I also figured that I know at least 10 guys that have moved into the cat3 ranks since I started racing, and of those maybe only 2 had anywhere near 20 points. It seemed to me that if you asked for the upgrade, you knew what you were getting yourself into, so they granted it.

So, I was surprised to be denied.

USA Cycling Response from Judy Miller:
cross and road have different qualifications because they are different events. As a cross person you are on the course almost alone, with road you are racing side by side with others and have the potential to sprint for the line with many riders. Please review the 2007 rule book found on line concerning upgrading. I can be reached if you have any further questions. Judy

Maybe I'm reading this with a condescending tone, but it's all true... well, maybe she's never seen the start of a cross race. It does spread out pretty quickly though, so I won't split hairs to much on that. It turns out that we have a new regional representative, and she wants us to adhere to the rules. OK, now we know. Now we have to look at the rules

4-3: 20 points in any 12-month period; or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes, or 20 pack finishes with fields over 50. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

So what does that mean... well, if these rules are adhered to, I don't see very many people moving out of the cat 4 races anytime soon. Not sour grapes, this is true stuff.

I had obtained my 2 points by coming in sixth place at the first Race at the Lakes. It's a USCF sanctioned race, no problem counting those points, right? Uh, No. According to the USCF website RATL was not ranked

Which means I got no points for that... even though there were over 40 starters, I guess they don't count critiriums. In fact the only race I did that was reported and ranked was Zoar. I had a mechanical and was out of the race in the first 3 miles. The Zoar cat 4 race also had a horrendous finish because of a wreck in the women's race, so I probably would have pulled up there anyway. Also one of the best regional races is Chippewa Creek Road Race which not sanctioned by USCF, so that doesn't count either.

Let's say that my RATL races actually did qualify, then I'm up to 4 races reported to USCF, with 2 top 10's. So I'm getting somewhere. I only need 21 more races with 8 more top 10. Or I can go and find 19 more races with 50 or more starters.

Let's see 25 races means about 1 race per weekend every weekend of the season. From beginning of April to the end of August there are only 21 weekends... so that means I'll need some double weekends.

...or it looks like I'm going to be a cat 4 for a very long time. Well, no one can say I'm sandbagging. Cause at least I tried to cat up.

Long term, what does this mean? Well.... the way I see it is, since none of the regional races count anyway, no one will be able to cat up until we get a lot of cat 5 racers to move into the 4 fields to get the field size over 50. Then we'll get some points and can move into the cat 3 fields. But since we'll have fewer cat 3 racers, those will be combined into a 1/2/3 field (day of race only so as not to scare off the cat 3s). Then none of the cat 4 racers will want to upgrade and race against the 1's (I see this all the time in cyclocross, no one wants to race A). So the strongest cat 4 racers will win the races that don't count. They'll also be very carefull about not winning so many points that they are forced to upgrade.

So maybe this year RATL will be able to get 50 starters in the cat 4 field (that's just scary). Then the points will count. There are 4 races, so if I can accumulate 20 points there, then I can move up.

Or forget it. I'll just stay in the cat 4 field.

Oh, and if I didn't need the license for cyclocross, then I don't think I'd renew. I did 9 road races, 4 were training races, so I don't need a license for them. That means I paid my $60 for 5 road races... I could spend $50 and do those road races on one-day licenses. Of course I'd be forced to race in the cat 5 field... but it would be totally economic.... So the only reason I need a license is because all 9 of my cyclocross races required me to have one.

I've said it before. Road season is just training for cyclocross season. This just proves it. Oh, and don't look at what it would take for me to become a cat 2 cyclocrosser. Our Master's and/or A fields aren't big enough for that move either... even if those results were reported to USCF.