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Giant Anthem
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Totally joking here guys, I'm assuming doing some spring road races would be helpful in getting ready for my XC schedule this summer. I got a road bike last year which helped my aerobic fitness a ton. Also, I watched the 2010 tour which motivated me to wanna try a race. I race sport in XC and do well, so which category for road would I be, 4 or 5? I looked online and can't seem to make sense of how road races work, thoughts; suggestions? Thanks gents.
 

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I think, depending on the what the sanctioning body is for the particular race you are looking at, you have to start in Cat 5 and can move up after x races or y finishes of z or better.

Obviously I haven't raced, so I have no idea. :D

I ride my road bike more than my mtn bike during race season (PT on the road bike, intervals, more hours less wear/tear on the body)...but I do not race. I work way to hard on and off the bike to try and podium my local mtb races to throw it away jockying for position with someone who might not have as much to loose. Not to mention most of the big races fall either on mtb race day or near it, and I can't get that much free time from the family....so I choose mtb to conentrate on.

I'm sure I'm loosing out on some fitness/tactic gains, but they are not yet worth the risk for me. Crashing and damaging my road bike takes away from my ability to train for mtb races, I don't have the discretionary coin to spend if I don't need too.

Good luck if you do!!!
 

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good luck!

i totally think i would suck at road racing. i developed this idea after racing a few CX races this winter. on the power style courses with little technical challenge i was decimated by the road racers. on the courses that had some "fun stuff" (quotes to denote my idea of fun) i did well and stepped onto the podium. (two exceptions exist: a race that I crashed multiple times due to poor tire selection, and a race that i crashed viciously into the barriers when my dismount failed at full speed). since road races have almost zero technical challenge i feel my motor would fall far short of doing well. :)

i wish i had the motor that the road racers have. i don't know if i will ever make the watts those guys do.
 

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Masher
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we have a couple local training series that are not categorized beyong A B and C. maybe look for one of those in your area and race where you feel comfortable.

otherwise yes, under USAC sanctioning, you must start a 5 and cat 5 races are shoooooort and boooooring.
 

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MisterC said:
otherwise yes, under USAC sanctioning, you must start a 5 and cat 5 races are shoooooort and boooooring.
the cat 5 race here is 55 miles. same length as the other cat's. I think I'm going to race the citizens class which is 35 miles. Just for something to try.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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Well....

2fst4u said:
Totally joking here guys, I'm assuming doing some spring road races would be helpful in getting ready for my XC schedule this summer. I got a road bike last year which helped my aerobic fitness a ton. Also, I watched the 2010 tour which motivated me to wanna try a race. I race sport in XC and do well, so which category for road would I be, 4 or 5? I looked online and can't seem to make sense of how road races work, thoughts; suggestions? Thanks gents.
10 mass starts in Cat 5 is required to move up to Cat 4. It does not matter how you place in these Cat 5 races. Use them to LEARN what to do and not do.

Also, join your local club FIRST and get some group riding skills under your belt.

Mtb racing is most like a road individual time trial really. Pack riding at 20-45+ mph is VERY different. Also, what you do not know can cause yourself and many others to hit the pavement pretty hard.

Good luck. Also, if you do well at Cat 2 Mtb, then FITNESS wise, you will probably be able to hang at Cat 3/4 OK....but again, there are SO MANY tactical issues that need to be figured out first if you want to do well.

JOIN YOUR LOCAL CLUB FIRST. That is the best info that I can give you. Pick their brains too...lots of racers in those clubs usually.
 

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Giant Anthem
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys for the input. Last summer I did a few road rides with 3 other guys who taught me the whole time on what to do and what not to do on the road which helps but I could do a few club rides to spruce up the knowledge. I'm gonna try and get one of my road buddies to do a road race with me and I'll stick with him the whole time so I don't do something dumb!
 

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local trails rider
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rydbyk said:
Also, join your local club FIRST and get some group riding skills under your belt.
This!

You don't want to be the guy who does an unexpected move and ends up at the bottom of a pile of 50 riders.

... or worse: rides away when all the other 50 are piled up because of your move.
 

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rydbyk said:
JOIN YOUR LOCAL CLUB FIRST.
I disagree. Ride with as many local clubs as you can, do a few races solo, and join a club only when you get a feel for the different strengths and weaknesses of the clubs.

It may turn out you don't want to join a club at all, and that's fine too. But, belonging to the right club can get you connected with people who will, in aggregate, really enhance your cycling/life.
 

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rydbyk said:
Also, if you do well at Cat 2 Mtb, then FITNESS wise, you will probably be able to hang at Cat 3/4 OK....
In my area, this is definitely not the case. I've seen sport class racers podium in the 5's, but usually will be an Expert before getting out of the 4's. There are definitely no sport racers in the Cat3's.
 

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Giant Anthem
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Poncharelli said:
In my area, this is definitely not the case. I've seen sport class racers podium in the 5's, but usually will be an Expert before getting out of the 4's. There are definitely no sport racers in the Cat3's.
Wow, cat 5 is the lowest level so I assumed it would be pretty easy. That's obviously not the case. I'll probably be having a lactic acid fest just like in a XC race the whole time and dusted by guys with shaved legs. As long as I get a great workout I'll be happy.
 

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Linoleum Knife
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Poncharelli said:
In my area, this is definitely not the case. I've seen sport class racers podium in the 5's, but usually will be an Expert before getting out of the 4's. There are definitely no sport racers in the Cat3's.
Yeah.... gotta agree with this. Recreationally, the two disciplines might seem similar. Race-wise, they are totally different animals.

If you find a good club to ride with, there is really no need to do road races. Most "training" rides that I've been on are basically races anyways.

If you do want to race, you start in Cat5. Don't worry about pack riding skills, because no one else in Cat 5 will have a clue what they're doing either.
 

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rydbyk said:
10 mass starts in Cat 5 is required to move up to Cat 4. It does not matter how you place in these Cat 5 races. Use them to LEARN what to do and not do.

Also, join your local club FIRST and get some group riding skills under your belt.

Mtb racing is most like a road individual time trial really. Pack riding at 20-45+ mph is VERY different. Also, what you do not know can cause yourself and many others to hit the pavement pretty hard.

Good luck. Also, if you do well at Cat 2 Mtb, then FITNESS wise, you will probably be able to hang at Cat 3/4 OK....but again, there are SO MANY tactical issues that need to be figured out first if you want to do well.

JOIN YOUR LOCAL CLUB FIRST. That is the best info that I can give you. Pick their brains too...lots of racers in those clubs usually.
The bolded part is not true in my area. I know this from personal experience. On the advice of a friend, I submitted a request for a 4 upgrade after only 5 races. I had won 2 of them and got 2nd, 2nd, and 4th in the other three. Got my upgrade in less than a day.

However, given that USAC upgrades are handled by regional coordinators (using their own discretion) I can imagine that my request could have been denied in other areas of the country.

I agree with everything else in the above post.:thumbsup: There is nothing more dangerous in a fast moving pack than an experienced mtb'er that just started on the road and assumes that they have inherent road skills. The motor is there, but dealing with minor pace changes and position moves in a pack is a much different technical challenge than riding a rock garden or log pile.

Even after racing for a year, I still prefer to go for solo breaks near the end of the races to avoid group sprints. Too many variables....too big of a risk to be out for an entire summer after spending many months training.
 

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Tips for general success in the Cat 5's.

-Warm up is dependent on the course. Usually not a long warm-up is required since there is usually not a fast start, like an MTB race
-Line up early, just like you do at a MTB race. Always better to be around the front.
-Cat 5's has very diverse level of riders, from MTB experts/pros to guys who just started riding. So it's best to stay in the front part of the group, that way your probability is higher of being ahead of a split.
-Try to meter your work equal (preferably less ;-) ) to others in the front part of the group. MTBers who are learning to road race tend to pull at the front too much.
-Save your energy for the critical parts of the course. Ask some other experienced racers where's the spot where the group typically splits (ex. long hill). That's when you really want to be around the front and tag on to a break that might develop (or create a break). Because of diverse riding abilities in the group, a break is very likely to develop in the 5's. (Also, I avoid races that lack that "critical spot" to split the group. Nothing is worst than coming to the finish with a 40-man sprint. I've been knocked around a few times at over 30 mph and it's pretty damn scary).
-In the peloton, try to stay hip-to-hip laterally with riders on the sides of you. Protect your front wheel at all times and ride defensively. Try to eliminate the situation where your front wheel will be crossed by another's rear wheel.
-Going through a corner single file is pretty straight forward, but going through 2 -4 people deep can be nerve racking. Go through the corner like flow lines and be careful not to pinch an inside rider into the corner. If you're on the inside and think you might get pinched, then yell "inside" to let the rider on the outside know you are there. You can also gently tap him on the hip with your hand before entering the corner just to let him know to give you a little room.
-Winds make road racing very complicated. But in general, watch the wind and be aware of what direction the wind is coming from (by looking at flags, and other wind indicators on the route). If the wind is coming from the right, then try to stay on the left side of the peloton or group. Those moments of energy savings really make a difference at critical hills and at the finishing sprint.
-If cross winds really pick up, then that's when riding savvy and knowledge really trumps riding strength. I've seen really, really strong riders get dropped just because they did all the wrong things. And I've seen weak riders make breaks in cross winds because they did the right things and were in the right place at the right time. In early spring races cross winds are likely, so I would take a little time to learn to form a proper echelon and how to rotate through them.

Good luck in your first road race and hope you make the break!!

Ponch
 

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Just sign up and do one. If you have cat 2 mtb experience and plenty of road training you will be far from the least experienced rider in the peloton. And don't overthink tactics. I have yet to see team tactics work in a cat 4/5 race, and have seen many hilarious examples of it fail. Like when guys on the same team want to start a break, but only with the other guys on their team, and then blow up towing around the entire peloton during their team "attack". I've won a cat 5 race before when I went off the front solo in the first five minutes of the race. By the time anyone decided to start chasing I already had a comfortable gap of a couple minutes. It's funny how many people think they need to race a hour-thirty minute cat 5 race the way they see the 6 hour pro races play out on TV.
And don't waste energy on attacks unless you plan on following through on it.
 
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