2012 Race Category Changes

Coffee Talk Tuesday has returned and we can't think of a topic more sensitive than racing category changes and the ACA has some new ones in 2012. The letter below is pretty brief and to the point so no summary is needed.

From the ACA

Hello Colorado racing community,

We are making a couple of significant changes to the race categories for the 2012 season. This change is being made so that we can offer consistent categories for our athletes and promoters.

The first major change is the introduction of the Category 5 category. This category is designed for athletes new to the sport of competitive cycling. Many of our race directors and clubs have asked to include this category, and with our new partnership with USAC, this is a natural addition to our race days. Please note that Category 5 is not age-specific, is not part of the Cup competitions, and is not a State Championship category.

Because of the introduction of Category 5, we are eliminating the ‘Open’ categories in both Senior and Master racing. Races will defined by specific categories (example: Senior Men Open becomes Senior Men Pro 1-2, Senior Women Open becomes Senior Women Pro 1-2, Senior Men 35+ Open becomes Senior Men 35+ 1-2, Senior Men 45+ Open becomes Senior Men 45+ 1, 2,3, etc.)

An additional change to our categories lies in our Senior Men 35+. In the past, we have offered Senior Men 35+ Open, Senior Men 35+ Cat 3, and Senior Men 35+ Cat 4 races. In 2012, the relevant categories will be Senior Men 35+ 1-2, Senior Men 35+ 3, and Senior Men 35+ Cat 4. The ACA created 35+ Cat 3 two years ago, but gave the athletes the choice as to which category in which to race. This change is being made to help standardize our categories and race fields on race day, so that our 35+ fields use the same category system as our Seniors. Essentially, racers now must race the specific category that is printed on their racing license. Please note that at many of our events, 35+ 1-2 and 35+ Cat 3 will be combined on race day, but separated for results and the overall points competition.

This change affects a number of 35+ racers who are licensed as Category 3 but enjoyed racing in what was previously the Open category. If you or your teammates are in this position, you may:
1- Contact Yvonne asap with your resume and desire to upgrade before the season starts.
2- Earn enough points to upgrade from 35+ Cat 3 to 35+ Cat 2.

It is the ACA’s goal to create fair, safe, competitive and fun racing for all of our categories, and at the same time, to create a balanced race day that is manageable and profitable for our race directors.

Please direct questions regarding these category changes to Chris McGee at 303-458-5538 or

News Item: 


NCNCA DOES breakdown by age

What are you talking about? The NCNCA absolutely has Masters catergories!
They have 3 categories in teh 35+, 1-3, 4 and 5! Not sure where you are making this up. Below is taken from a NCNCA race flyer:

Cat 1/2/Pro Category 3 Category 4 Category 5 Junior 1/2/3 Mstr 35+ 1-3 Wm 1/2/Pro Women 3 Junior 4/5 Mstr 35+ 4 Mstr 35+ 5 Women 4
Mstr 45+ 1-3 Women 35+ Mstr 45+ 4/5* Master 55+

I am sure it will happen and

I am sure it will happen and just prove how stupid 35 3's is. Just run one 35 plus 1/2/3 race. Score the 3's separately if need be. If anyone has been paying attention there are plenty of 3's in the top 10 of most 35 plus open races for the last 5 years. Last time they ran Boulder Roubaix the 35 open started with the 35 3's and a good group of the 3's hung with the front pack, while plenty of the 1/2 got dropped. It all comes down to ability, not arbitrary, made up categories.

This is how pretty much every

This is how pretty much every other region handles it. Additionally many of them require Cat 5s (regardless of age) race only with the Cat 5s for everyone's safety and sanity considerations; the Masters' cats are typically intended for 4s and above.

Most other regions also break out age groups internally at smaller races (they'll run 35+/45+ together, then break it out in the results) for LA series points. Chip timing makes this even easier to do.

At bigger events / state championships you can split all fields / run them separately but I just cannot comprehend why we continue to saddle small event promoters with such a long, expensive raceday to hold a ton of Masters' cats that have such significant overlap; basically you're just allowing the same 35 guys to race multiple times. This doesn't build the sport - this was shown with the recent drop in SM3 / SM4 numbers, which isn't explained away by "oh they're all racing Masters".

I am 43 years old, and I'm smart enough to understand this. It's not about me, it's about demographics and the longterm future of the sport. I maybe have ten good racing years left, but my 22 year old teammate has a good chance of paying entry fees and supporting the industry for the next 20-30 years.

Anyway I'd much rather race with all my teammates in the 3s; it's more fun and they're more skilled. The biggest and scariest wrecks I've ever seen were in 35+4s.

Look at TTs and hill climb

Look at TTs and hill climb climbs between 3, 35+3 and 35+

many times theyre all in the same ballpark. granted RRs and crits are a little different, but the strength of the pointy ends of all those cats is pretty similar, and they all have plenty of dead weight.

Forget about field sizes for

Forget about field sizes for a minute. Cat 5 is most important in crits because of safety concerns. I race 35+4 and have seen many dangerous crashes, most of them have been caused by rookie mistakes. With this new format, true beginners can learn the ropes and experienced racers can trust others won't make dumb mistakes.