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I have heard mention before of racing cyclists in the US being, say, a Category 2 racer. What are these categories and how are they decided?

7

Usually, it is the USA Cycling racing categories that people are referring to.

Road Upgrades
Guidelines and Notes by Category:


5-4:   Experience in 10 mass start races.
         Local Associations may also establish policies where upgrade
         credit is given for taking asanctioned rider education clinic.

4-3:   20 points; or experience in 25 races with
        a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with
        fields of 30 riders or more, or 20
        pack finishes with fields over 50. 30
        points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
        - USA Cycling-sanctioned rider camps and clinics that are
          approved by the Local Associations for upgrading will
          count as a maximum of three upgrade points when upgrading
          from category 4 to 3

3-2:   30 points
         40 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade

2-1:   35 points
         50 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
  • And how does one acquire the points needed to upgrade? – Anthony K Oct 28 '10 at 23:27
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    It's at the bottom of the page: usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=580 You get points for placing, but it's adjusted for field sizes (so you can't get 7 pts for winning a crit against 4 other guys!). – Jay Cummins Oct 29 '10 at 0:18
  • Just as clarification, everyone starts as a Cat 5 and upgrades as they gain experience and skill. You can always petition to upgrade or downgrade if need be, but they're usually pretty strict about that. Also, categories are assigned separately for each "discipline" of cycling (road, track, cyclocross, mountain, etc). So you can be a cat 5 road racer and a cat 3 cyclocross if that's where you put all your energy. And mountain biking only has cat 1-3, so beginners are cat 3 there. – Noah Sutherland Jul 28 '17 at 20:56

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