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  1. #1
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    New to Racing! What Category to Enter?

    Ok, Here is the story. I am 49 years old and really quite fit. I am 6' 6" tall and weigh about 195 ready to ride.

    I have a very athletic background (college basketball, 4 decades of hi-level alpine skiing-including some racing, running, gym stuff, mountain biking, years as an expect-level closed-course motorcycle road racer, you get it).

    While I have ridden MTB for many years, last year was the first year I took it very seriously. I made fantastic progress in my abilities as a rider. I purchased a new bike at the beginning of April '12 and put about 3K miles on it in '12. I upgraded the wheels and some other bits over the winter. Bike is ready. I am ready.

    This year I want to up the ante and race a bit. The question is, should I enter events as a Cat 2? I don't believe I can enter as a Cat 1 and Cat 3 seems way to low (even knowing my lack of MTB racing).

    Any advise?

  2. #2
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    I would try a cat 3 first you will find out most of them should be cat 2 . But really if you think you can do it try a cat 2. Just go in thinking it's going to be a learning experience. Just have a good time

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickymitcham View Post
    I would try a cat 3 first you will find out most of them should be cat 2 .
    ricky is right - where I am from 30-39 & 40-49 are some of the faster classes - most guys just don't want to do longer courses. (I race Cat 2, 20-25/29)

    Race pace is different than riding. Whatever you do, don't get to excited at start and go out to hard.

    I would try Cat 3 for first race - If you win/podium then think about Cat 2, you will know if you are really sandbagging or not when you compare your times to Cat 2's

    Do you have any power readings from any workouts/tests?

  4. #4
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    however fast you think the cat 2 or even the cat 3 is... it will be much faster!

    Start in cat 3 beginner and upgrade when you win one. 40+ cat 2 is wicked fast in the front half... probably significantly faster (sustained) than you've experienced.

    Keep in mind... beginner doesn't mean beginner mtn biker, it means beginner racer. Around these parts most of the beginner cat 3s are schooling the weekend warriors.

    (Oh... and in many races cat 3 distance differs from cat 2 and cat 1... and one lap or 10 miles is a big difference).

    Perspective is everything.

    $.02 FWIW
    "Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you a yacht and you can sail right up next to it!" David Lee Roth

  5. #5
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    Only speaking from my experience as an athlete, as I have grown older my fast muscle twitch overall is nowhere near what it was when I was in my early twenties, but my slow muscle movement (read: endurance) is completely insane now. I can sustain a significantly higher energy output for a much, much longer period of time. I don't have a power meter, so, scottz123, I have no exact data on it. It is just my experience.

    The first race I can participate in has two routes. The big loop is for Pro, Cat 1, Cat 2, and SS. Pro & Cat 1 do 3 loops of the 9.5 mile relatively flat (+/- 1200 ft of total elevation change in the 9.5 miles). Cat 2 & SS do 2 loops of that course. The Cat 3 races a different course: one 4 mile loop with only 300 total feet of elevation change.

    Therein lays the rub. I know the course and have ridden it many, many times over the years. Last year at the end of the season I rode the big loop right at the 46 minutes mark for two laps (no traffic either). Top Cat 1 racers (40-49) were right at that time or just a bit under , albeit for 3 laps. (I haven't rode/timed myself for a third lap.) Cat 2 racers did it at about 48 minutes for the top riders in that class/age bracket, with most in the lower 50's minutes per lap. (Pro riders lap in the hi 30's to low 40's.)

    I have a reasonable understanding of racing etiquette (call out if you are passing; passer has the responsibility to make the clean pass; generally speaking, pass on the left; if being asked to pass, let them by, except at the end of the race!). I know it is important to control one's emotions at the start of a race, but it is also important to get out a head of as many riders as possible.

    I am definitely not saying I will do especially well (but, I might!). I just know I can ride a race-pace, race distance of the Cat 2. Cat 1 would push my limits and I am not technically eligible for that class yet anyway.

    It is just that for one 4 mile lap in the Cat 3, I don't know if there is much to learn there.

    I value your experience and insights; keep 'em coming!

  6. #6
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    what the hell... have as much fun as possible and go cat 2 in those circumstances... report back and good luck!!!
    "Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you a yacht and you can sail right up next to it!" David Lee Roth

  7. #7
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    You should have put this information in original post.

    You know the lap times you can produce (Cat 1), but you are not eligble to race Cat 1, you know how to mtb race, Cat 3 is really a "first timers" race-so it is not challenging.

    Race Cat 2. You sound like a really smart guy (you already have all the information), I am surprised you really needed to post this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Ok, Here is the story. I am 49 years old and really quite fit. I am 6' 6" tall and weigh about 195 ready to ride.

    I have a very athletic background (college basketball, 4 decades of hi-level alpine skiing-including some racing, running, gym stuff, mountain biking, years as an expect-level closed-course motorcycle road racer, you get it).

    While I have ridden MTB for many years, last year was the first year I took it very seriously. I made fantastic progress in my abilities as a rider. I purchased a new bike at the beginning of April '12 and put about 3K miles on it in '12. I upgraded the wheels and some other bits over the winter. Bike is ready. I am ready.

    This year I want to up the ante and race a bit. The question is, should I enter events as a Cat 2? I don't believe I can enter as a Cat 1 and Cat 3 seems way to low (even knowing my lack of MTB racing).

    Any advise?
    CAT 2 all the way. Mix it up with the guys in your age group and have fun.

  9. #9
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    I thiink you should start at Cat 2. It is worth it just for the longer races, especially if you are travelling far to get there. I did a few races over the years but last year was my first intensive year of racing and I started at Cat 2, 50+. Results averaged mid-pack, with some higher finishes and some lower ones and I am happy with starting as a Cat 2 racer. Good luck.

  10. #10
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    I started racing this year. I'm 51, and in decent road biking shape. I have been racing Cat3s just to get the experience and improve skills. I can tell you, the races are different than just riding the track. Your race times will be faster. The one thing I don't like about Cat3 is the shorter distance. I am surprised though at how much shorter the race you described is. Here the Cat3's would probably do one of the "long" loops or multiple short. From what it sounds, I would agree with those more experienced than me and say you will be better off/happier racing Cat2's. Good luck/have fun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Ok, Here is the story. I am 49 years old and really quite fit. I am 6' 6" tall and weigh about 195 ready to ride.

    I have a very athletic background (college basketball, 4 decades of hi-level alpine skiing-including some racing, running, gym stuff, mountain biking, years as an expect-level closed-course motorcycle road racer, you get it).

    While I have ridden MTB for many years, last year was the first year I took it very seriously. I made fantastic progress in my abilities as a rider. I purchased a new bike at the beginning of April '12 and put about 3K miles on it in '12. I upgraded the wheels and some other bits over the winter. Bike is ready. I am ready.

    This year I want to up the ante and race a bit. The question is, should I enter events as a Cat 2? I don't believe I can enter as a Cat 1 and Cat 3 seems way to low (even knowing my lack of MTB racing).

    Any advise?
    Did you race yet?

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