To cat up or not to cat up? That is the question…

June 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

You’re doing well, and placing high in your Cat 4 races. To cat up or not to cat up? That is the question…

When many of us lined up at the start of our first road race or crit, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Some of us had backgrounds in multi-sport, running, rowing or mountain biking and were just looking to try something different. The goal of cat 4-only races is to introduce women to the sport of cycling and provide them with opportunities to develop pack-riding skills, learn teamwork, practice strategy & tactics and gain confidence racing their bicycles.

As you get faster and more comfortable racing, the inevitable questions arise…Should I cat up? Do I want to cat up? Am I ready to cat up? How do I cat up?

The guidelines for upgrading categories on the road is available on the USACycling website at:

To upgrade from a Category 4 to a Category 3 license, a rider must:

  • Earn 20 points in any 12-month period OR
  • Start/finish 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes
  • NOTE: 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

Which races qualify? For women’s Cat 4 races:

  • Time Trials (TTs) do not qualify for upgrade points because they are not mass start races
  • RR: at least 25 miles with a field of 10
  • Crit: at least 15 minutes with a field of 10

How do I earn points? For women’s Cat 4 races, the point break down is as follows:

  • RR or Crit: 7-5-4-3-2-1 points are awarded to the top 6 finishers

But the fields are sometimes fewer than 10 women—can I still get points?

  • According to the USCF rulebook, when deciding whether a rider qualifies for an upgrade, an administrator will take into account points earned in qualifying events per the table above.
  • In the case of a rider who is marginally qualified, the quality of the events and the level of competition may be taken into account.

What is it like to race as a Cat 3?

  • Most of the time in GA and AL, Cat 3 racers are combined with Cat 2 and Cat 1 racers. These racers have a good deal of experience, and as you would expect, this makes racing harder.
  • Sometimes, especially in NRC races, Cat 3 and Cat 4 are combined, while Pro, Cat 1, and Cat 2 are combined in a separate race
  • Cat 1/2/3 races are generally longer and faster than Cat 4 races. There is also more team strategy involved because teams have experience working together to make things happen.

OK, I’m ready! Now what I do?

  • Log into your account at Under License Information at the bottom of the page, click on the upgrade/downgrade link on the right.
  • You’ll be asked to past in your qualifying results.
  • Upgrade requests are processed through our local official, John Johnson. He is a great resource! Get to know him and take advantage of his knowledge.
  • Questions about upgrading? Ask him at the next race!

But I’m high in the ALGABRA series standings—can’t I finish out the season as a cat 4?

  • You can stay a Cat 4 to gain more experience as long as you have fewer than 30 points in 12 months. Once you reach 30, it’s an automatic upgrade.
  • While you will not be able to enter any more category 4 races and earn points in the ALGABRA series, you will still remain eligible for end of the series prizes if your point total keeps you in the top 10.
  • Congratulations on moving up to category 3!!! As recognition, you will receive 100 points and a Jittery Joe’s mug!!! Just email

Entry filed under: Bike Racing 101.

Standings Updated See you at Bull Gap!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


June 2007

Most Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: