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  1. #1
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    Going From Cat 3 to Cat 2

    Had a full on blast racing Cat 3, but now it's time to move up. I'm looking forward to the new challenge, and really hoping Cat 2 will be as much fun. To be honest, I'm not crazy about the increase in race distance, but who knows, maybe I'll grow to love it.

    For those of you who have raced both categories, what advice would you give for someone upgrading to Cat 2? (training, preperation, race strategy, etc...)

    Thanks!
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  2. #2
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    Longer race distance just means you re-learn pacing, and learn not to lose track of your feeds/hydration.

    It doesn't matter whether you learn how to pace by going to hard and blowing up, or if you go too easy. Either way you will eventually learn what the proper amount of pain is that you can sustain without fading too much.

    Good luck. Have fun. Things don't get really hard till you get to CAT1.
    My wife's website....
    Allison Mann

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideStrong View Post
    Had a full on blast racing Cat 3, but now it's time to move up. I'm looking forward to the new challenge, and really hoping Cat 2 will be as much fun. To be honest, I'm not crazy about the increase in race distance, but who knows, maybe I'll grow to love it.

    For those of you who have raced both categories, what advice would you give for someone upgrading to Cat 2? (training, preperation, race strategy, etc...)

    Thanks!
    Going from cat 3 to cat 2 here as well. I agree about the fun but actually I'm looking forward to the longer distance.

    How long are your training rides? I try to ride well over race length at least once and preferably twice a week. Riding upper zone 2 / zone 3 plus some sprints on road for 3+ hrs, and hard trail rides at slightly longer than race length seems to work for me.

  4. #4
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    For me, here is what the differences are:

    Obvioulsy, course length, and with that comes more/better training... for more climbing!

    Expect the front of the Cat 2 to be more intense and fast (for example, the top 5 or so in my Cat 2 class can easily go middle of pack in the Cat 1, and when the bell sounds, the race gets fast, quick).

    Expect the back to be well... laid back, and mostly out there for the fun of it, which is okay by me.

    Expect the experience level to increase a ton. Some racers will have downgraded from Cat 1 bc of this reason or that, that prevents appropriate training for Cat 1 whiloe others have been doing it in the Cat 2 for yrs and are content. With the experience comes a better race experience. The first 5 or 10 minutues of the race is pretty intense (in the series I race it is anyways). You really have to red line it and hold it or you will be dropped for good. The race pace is good, with many racers understanding how to not blow up and pace themselves correctly. On course communication imporves greatly, and with that, better/safer passing, potentially working with others on the flats or wherever... the over all race experience is much better, as is the competition.

    IMHO, for the top half or so (maybe the top quarter) of the cat 2 riders, there is no difference between them and the Cat 1s... except (and this is a big one)... available training time (and perhaps less knowledge on how to use that time)... and for some, they could race either class, podium in the 2s or middle of the 1s. So, clearly, the Cat 1s are faster... (and there is nothing laid back about it, anywhere) but you start to see similar skill sets in the Cat 2... decending can be super fast, there are wicked good climbers... some very talented riders just strapped for training time. There are also those like yourselves just upgrading and still learning (and who knows, you might crush the 2s, you won't know till you get out there)... all good!!! Cat 2 is a good place for a serious racer and a not so serious racer... if your in great shape, get to the front rev it up, drop the hammer and hold on! If not, head for the back half, do the very best you can, have fun... and race those around you!
    Last edited by strat819; 06-29-2011 at 07:25 AM.

  5. #5
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    Good advice whybotherme...I'm working on increasing that pain/fatigue threshold to not only be able to hang with the Cat 2ers but also hopefully be competitive. Can you give any specific feed/hydration advice? I know the golden rule is experiment and see what works for you...but is there any other rule of thumb type advice you can give. I'm curious about how much I should try tweaking this aspect of training. Right now, or before when I was doing the 1 hour races I would just sip some Nuun from bottle(s) when I had a chance. A lot of time I'd finish the race with only taking a sip or two...sometimes none.


    gxglass: I'm training very similar to what you described. I've put more emphasis on getting in atleast two to three 2+ hour training rides a week. Most Cat 2 race distances are about 16 - 20 miles...so I'm training at 20 to 30 miles on trail and 30 to 40 miles on road. I've never consistantly trained at these distances, so hopefully it pays off.

    strat819: Awesome perspective and insight on Cat 2 racing. I appreciate the detail you went into. I'm looking forward to being out there with more experienced/refined riders and enjoying a better "race experience" as you describe.

    Thanks!!!
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  6. #6
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideStrong View Post
    Good advice whybotherme...I'm working on increasing that pain/fatigue threshold to not only be able to hang with the Cat 2ers but also hopefully be competitive. Can you give any specific feed/hydration advice? I know the golden rule is experiment and see what works for you...but is there any other rule of thumb type advice you can give. I'm curious about how much I should try tweaking this aspect of training. Right now, or before when I was doing the 1 hour races I would just sip some Nuun from bottle(s) when I had a chance. A lot of time I'd finish the race with only taking a sip or two...sometimes none.
    gxglass: I'm training very similar to what you described. I've put more emphasis on getting in atleast two to three 2+ hour training rides a week. Most Cat 2 race distances are about 16 - 20 miles...so I'm training at 20 to 30 miles on trail and 30 to 40 miles on road. I've never consistantly trained at these distances, so hopefully it pays off.

    strat819: Awesome perspective and insight on Cat 2 racing. I appreciate the detail you went into. I'm looking forward to being out there with more experienced/refined riders and enjoying a better "race experience" as you describe.

    Thanks!!!
    If your CAT2 races are anything like the ones in So. Cal., then you will most likely be out on the course for 1 1/2hr+. Your performance may be compromised without proper hydration before and during your race.

    General rule of thumb is that you hydrate during race even if you don't necessarily always "feel" thirsty. Your body usually needs it.

    Perhaps a small race day camelbak will help you find more opportunities to hydrate on the course. Using bottles sometimes requires better timing

    .02
    Last edited by rydbyk; 06-29-2011 at 10:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideStrong View Post
    Good advice whybotherme...I'm working on increasing that pain/fatigue threshold to not only be able to hang with the Cat 2ers but also hopefully be competitive. Can you give any specific feed/hydration advice? I know the golden rule is experiment and see what works for you...but is there any other rule of thumb type advice you can give. I'm curious about how much I should try tweaking this aspect of training. Right now, or before when I was doing the 1 hour races I would just sip some Nuun from bottle(s) when I had a chance. A lot of time I'd finish the race with only taking a sip or two...sometimes none.
    Here is a brain dump. All of this stuff is what works for me. Doesn't mean it will work for others. Good luck.

    Training is something that you can educate yourself on. There are lots of books, and plenty of on-line information. I am a big proponent of Lydiard's methods. They simply work. Sure they are tough to fit into a work schedule, but dedication to excellence is never easy. If you are going to get a coach, now is a good time to shop around and get to know some people. You will want to have your stuff lined up before say.... October or so. If you train like we do, our training plans start in November or December. (we race early in Socal) My MTB season pretty much ends with Nationals though. You should make sure that if you get a coach, it is someone that you can talk to. In my opinion the silly cookie cutter plans that people pay for are a waste of $. The value of a coach is to help accelerate your learning curve. An Excel spreadsheet doesn't do that so well IMO. I have never had a coach, and likely never will. I have sort of coached, but my opinion is that if I can't do a ride with a person then I can't really coach them. Again, communication is where you learn from coaching.

    Hydration is always important. I am a weirdo, but I carry my Purist water bottle with me 100% of the time and drain it at least 4 times every day. If you ensure you are hydrated going into a race, you will be one step ahead.

    I like to pre-ride courses and along with getting an idea of terrain and features, I pick out places to take a sip off my bottle, or hit a gel shot. Sometimes these don't work out during a race, but I always try to have some idea of a rough plan on my race nutrition.

    Race morning breakfast is personal and key. You want to have plenty of time to digest it though. Eat something that you like, and treat it as a special thing. We only get special oatmeal breakfasts for races and harder training days. I love my black coffee on race mornings.

    Warm up it is important to fuel and hydrate. If you are hungry don't be afraid to eat something small. I use First Endurance EFS and for important races add some First Endurance Pre Race. I don't have a set warm up routine or even a consistent duration. I do like to ride a lap of the course for warm up if available, but when it isn't that doesn't bother me. Warming up on rollers doesn't really work for me. I like to move. I also like to chat with the people around me. One of the reasons I race is the social aspect. I don't get to train with others much, so I get some social time rolling around during warm up. Some people get all race face and focused, that doesn't seem like much fun to me. I save that for the final 10 seconds or so before race start.

    Race nutrition I use First Endurance EFS. If it is hot and I cannot handle drink mix I use plain water. I like Vanilla Gu shots (with caffeine). I try to take one 15 mins before race time, and about every 40 minutes or so depending on race. I keep the Gu in my shorts, on top of my quads (one on each side) because it makes them easier/faster to get to. I have really inflexible shoulders. Do everyone a favor and either put the wrappers back in your shorts, or in a jersey pocket. My wife likes using a gel flask, I don't. I have tried but i have a hard time with taking too much or too little.

    Try to go through 1 bottle of water/drink per hour.

    Post race I use First Endurance Ultragen as a recovery drink (the Cappuccino flavor is amazing). Make sure you focus on re-hydrating.

    Training rides i like to use plain water. I usually eat Pure Bars, Lara Bars, or Fruit Leathers. Longer rides (up to 4hrs) I sometimes add a treat like the Honey Stinger Waffles.
    My wife's website....
    Allison Mann

  8. #8
    hello pot? this is kettle
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    Perhaps a small race day camelbak will help you find more opportunities to hydrate on the course. Using bottles sometimes requires better timing
    Remember, you're not required to only use water bottles, shave your legs and wear full spandex kit until you get to cat1.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by paetersen View Post
    Remember, you're not required to only use water bottles, shave your legs and wear full spandex kit until you get to cat1.
    what happens in Cat 1?

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    Here is a brain dump. All of this stuff is what works for me. Doesn't mean it will work for others. Good luck.

    Training is something that you can educate yourself on. There are lots of books, and plenty of on-line information. I am a big proponent of Lydiard's methods. They simply work. Sure they are tough to fit into a work schedule, but dedication to excellence is never easy. If you are going to get a coach, now is a good time to shop around and get to know some people. You will want to have your stuff lined up before say.... October or so. If you train like we do, our training plans start in November or December. (we race early in Socal) My MTB season pretty much ends with Nationals though. You should make sure that if you get a coach, it is someone that you can talk to. In my opinion the silly cookie cutter plans that people pay for are a waste of $. The value of a coach is to help accelerate your learning curve. An Excel spreadsheet doesn't do that so well IMO. I have never had a coach, and likely never will. I have sort of coached, but my opinion is that if I can't do a ride with a person then I can't really coach them. Again, communication is where you learn from coaching.

    Hydration is always important. I am a weirdo, but I carry my Purist water bottle with me 100% of the time and drain it at least 4 times every day. If you ensure you are hydrated going into a race, you will be one step ahead.

    I like to pre-ride courses and along with getting an idea of terrain and features, I pick out places to take a sip off my bottle, or hit a gel shot. Sometimes these don't work out during a race, but I always try to have some idea of a rough plan on my race nutrition.

    Race morning breakfast is personal and key. You want to have plenty of time to digest it though. Eat something that you like, and treat it as a special thing. We only get special oatmeal breakfasts for races and harder training days. I love my black coffee on race mornings.

    Warm up it is important to fuel and hydrate. If you are hungry don't be afraid to eat something small. I use First Endurance EFS and for important races add some First Endurance Pre Race. I don't have a set warm up routine or even a consistent duration. I do like to ride a lap of the course for warm up if available, but when it isn't that doesn't bother me. Warming up on rollers doesn't really work for me. I like to move. I also like to chat with the people around me. One of the reasons I race is the social aspect. I don't get to train with others much, so I get some social time rolling around during warm up. Some people get all race face and focused, that doesn't seem like much fun to me. I save that for the final 10 seconds or so before race start.

    Race nutrition I use First Endurance EFS. If it is hot and I cannot handle drink mix I use plain water. I like Vanilla Gu shots (with caffeine). I try to take one 15 mins before race time, and about every 40 minutes or so depending on race. I keep the Gu in my shorts, on top of my quads (one on each side) because it makes them easier/faster to get to. I have really inflexible shoulders. Do everyone a favor and either put the wrappers back in your shorts, or in a jersey pocket. My wife likes using a gel flask, I don't. I have tried but i have a hard time with taking too much or too little.

    Try to go through 1 bottle of water/drink per hour.

    Post race I use First Endurance Ultragen as a recovery drink (the Cappuccino flavor is amazing). Make sure you focus on re-hydrating.

    Training rides i like to use plain water. I usually eat Pure Bars, Lara Bars, or Fruit Leathers. Longer rides (up to 4hrs) I sometimes add a treat like the Honey Stinger Waffles.
    Very informative and useful "brain dump". Thank you!
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  11. #11
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by paetersen View Post
    Remember, you're not required to only use water bottles, shave your legs and wear full spandex kit until you get to cat1.
    No, UCI states that this all must happen on the night of your first CAT2 win.

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