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: 


Then let's only start with people that can win.

Even with a 35+ 1/2 only field, not all the 1/2s will be able to win the race. With that logic, perhaps the races should be limited to only the 6-10 guys that actually have a chance to win. There are plenty of guys in the 35+ 'open' field that contribute to the race and help stronger teammates who can win.

Similar logic would suggest that the Tour de France should start with only the 3 or 4 guys who actually have a chance of standing on the podium at the end.

people that can win comment

No, you are now talking about the top of the heap. If there were enough numbers, you could have seperate cat 1 races and cat 2 races, but bike racing is still not that big in the US.
You are very correct, there are guys that can be productive in the higher catergory races, and as said in the original story, they can petition to Yvonne for upgrade. However, I would contend that you will get more numbers overall by having seperate categories. I for one, would not continue to spend money and time if I was just going to get beat up and slapped around every weekend. So the promoters are getting my entry fee because of the extra category in masters.
Our sport still needs to work on building the numbers across the board. I was just talking to a guy who wants to start racing at 48. If he jumps in a 45+ open race, he will race twice and never do it again. Our sport is not big enough that we can let guys like that slip by (not even mentioning women categories and how many cat 4 women have lined up with pros and 1,2s!!!)

What's the big change?

From my perspective (26y/o cat 2) it seems like they just changed the name of 35+ Open to 35+ 1-2. What's the big change here?

Count me in the bunch that wants fewer categories and bigger fields. I love lining up with 50+ rider fields.

There is a difference

Last year, 20% of the registered 35+ field in both road races and 'yellow' crits where both 35+3 and 35+ open were offered were cat 3s. On 'blue' crit days where a 35+3 field was not offered, almost 40% of the registered 35+ 'open' racers were cat 3s. Looking at last year's results show that 35+3s either choose to race in the 'open' field when the 35+3 is not offered, or stay home. The 35+ 'open' field already is reduced in size from a couple years ago. This change will further reduce it and result in promters of 'blue RMRC' crits losing money.


would they not be WAY off the back when they race their upgrade? Don't get the problem, faster categories need numbers, so that is not the problem, if that 35' 3 upgrades he can race the 35 open where you say he will get slammed, not is not a problem, if he races with the 2's he will get slaughtered, not a problem, I must be slow tonight, just do not see a problem.

I agree with you 100%.

I agree with you 100%. racing within the 35+ if upgraded within 35+3 is fine. racing sm 3 after racing 35+4 and racing sm P12 after racing 35+3 is not. although I do feel bad for the 35+ 1-2 guys, since they actually have bike handling skills. from my own experience, having raced the 35+3 category once. I'll never do it again.