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: 



Although guys in any category are capable of doing stupid stuff to cause crashes, some of said rookie mistakes I saw last year at the Louisville Crit made me realize that for many guys, it was not only their first race, but probably their first group ride...

...like, ever.

Field sizes for cat 5s

USAC is strict with the field limits for cat 5 races. If it is a cat 5 only field it will be 50 riders max. Why we already created 2 cat 5 fields for Boulder-Roubaix. If it is combined with the cat 4s then it is 75. Looking at the field sizes last year for most crits it will be a 4/5 race and for 45 minutes. Seems better then trying to figure out what other race to eliminate and giving the cat 5s some 30 min crit.
One of the big problem with all the different fields is the number of people needed to support a race. Given the number of racers we have it works out to being for every 5 or 6 races you do you should be doing a 4 hour shift at one. So if you raced 20 times last year did you put help out at 3 or 4 races or provide someone to help out at that many? For cross races fewer people are needed, but many are still understaffed.

I hope not

Road participation numbers are declining in Colorado, and I don't see how we reverse that without giving beginners the opportunity to race against beginners. IMHO, it would be better to combine two other fields to make room. One obvious candidate is SM3 and 35+3 - in almost every event you could combine those without going over the field limit, and abilities are comparable. Wouldn't that be worth it to make room to give beginners "some 30 minute crit" that they might actually be able to finish and enjoy, and therefore want to come race again?

You're spot on about volunteering at races. Guilty as charged last year, but I've already signed up for one this year, and it won't be the only one.

Two thumbs down

The creation of 35+ cat 3 already took substantial numbers away from 35 Open leaving our fields at some races ridiculously low. I suspect the 35+ Cat 1,2 fields will now be slightly smaller. I vote for more freedom. Let guys race up a catagory if they want to.

Men 35+ 3s Every Race?

Will this change dillute the Mens 35 Open category like it did for Cyclocross. If you look at the numbers for cyclocross the Mens 35 Open category had much lower numbers this year and so did the Mens 3.

I guess it comes down to do you want to race with 25-30 guys or 50 to 60 guys.

Actually it doesn't come down to 25-30 or 50-60

You are not correct in fact it is the exact opposite! Adding more numbers dilutes the fields. Having 1,2 fields means everyone in that field belongs in that field. You should want to race against guys who are at your level, not guys who are below you. What do you get out of winning a race with 50 starters, when 25 were dropped by half way? The guys in the 3s who are strong enough to compete will win the 3s and upgrade and then compete in the 2s. You will end up loosing numbers because, believe it or not, there are some people that no matter how much they train, they will never make it as a 2. They will eventually quite if every single week they get smacked around and dropped. They will keep racing if they have a category for their level where they might make a couple top 10s a year, but no more, and never upgrade beyond that level. It is called genetics.

You make really great points

You make really great points Mike, I hadn't thought about satisfaction in beating racers at the same level. I won a CX race a few years back in the 4s and only a few of those guys have upgraded. I think it would be just as satisfying to win a race against 25 cat 3s vs 50 cat3s and 4s.