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: 


I think in this case, the

I think in this case, the "etc." also means to include cat 4. That's the way I interpreted it. All due respect, your interpretation just doesn't seem logical.

My question is whether or not this means that, since the categories will now be formally split out, upgrade points will now be awarded based on how a rider finishes within his/her category. That would make things fairer, since the current category races give upgrade points for those finishing well within their own category, while the open races 45+, 55+, etc.) require a cat four racer to not only do well compared to the other cat 4s, but also the 3's, 2's, and so on. In other words, it would level the playing field when it comes to upgrade criteria.

Dear Promoters Whatever you

Dear Promoters

Whatever you do don't make us read numbers to figure out who we are racing against. That means, don't combine fields and place differently.

Also, don't send groups 2 minutes apart, assuming that one is faster (ie SM3 is faster than 35/3). Space the fields at least 10 minutes.

Both these practices are really easily avoided and they degrade the race experience.

Thanks in advance

You need to read the article.

You need to read the article. There will be cat. 5 categories at most races. They are just not part of the point series. IMO the rational makes a great deal of sense. It is a newbie category, so you want people to get in, get some experience and move on. It is not designed as a place for people to stay in for years and try to get more point and "win" the season long total.

I think the ACA has been doing a better job with this of late. They are working harder to get people moved up and out of 35 plus cat 4 and the addition of 35 plus cat 3 gives them somewhere to go.

why not just make the 35+4

why not just make the 35+4 upgrade to the 4s? This talk of not wanting to race with younger guys b/c they are sketchy is just bs. They don't want to race against the up and coming who fly up through the categories. They also don't want to race with the random professional triathlete or mountain biker that does one or two races a year and smokes the field (seems like there's almost always at least one at each race). If anything, older guys that are new to racy are the most sketchy, ill-skilled riders out there. And their skills don't improve any when they upgrade to the 35+3s. It's just more of the same. Maybe slightly faster. The only decent riders in the 35+3 group are those that predominantly race SM3 and then race the occasional 35+3 to boost their ego.

relatively speaking, the SM3

relatively speaking, the SM3 as a group are better bike handlers than the 35+3. That's been my experience in every race. Not only because of better skills, but the SM3 usually try to make a race out of it and force a break or thin down the fields as much as possible. The 35+3 group are pretty lazy and the vast majority want to sprint for the finish.

As shown in one of the topics earlier this year, the majority of SM4 riders are faster than the majority of 35+4 riders. Just like the majority of SM3 riders are faster than the majority of SM4 riders (and 35+3 riders).

What is the reason for a 35+x group anyway? Studies have shown that there are no real changes in physiology until well after 40. Those in that group might like having a special, carved out niche. But the 35+4,35+3 groups are kind of a joke to everyone not racing those masters categories. Keep in mind that I say this as someone over the age of 35.


try not to fall into the trap of believing everything you think, I raced 9 times with the 35'3 and found them to be a solid bunch of riders AND bike handlers, ( I also race the 45 open) nothing easy about 35'3 race, a good day for me is top 5-10 in either group