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  1. #1
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    New question here. when to move up?

    Curious how folks decide if it's time to move up from beginner to sport, sport to expert etc.

    This season was my first time racing cycles of any kind. My early races were bottom tier finishes. My later races were better, with 1 win in a small local race and a points series title (gained by persistence alone ).... So do i move up from beginner next season with this spotty record? Last thing i want is to sandbag, but i'd like to stay competitive as well...

    Anybody have thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I'm sure there are differing opinions, but I would say that beginner is just to get some racing experience. With a few races under your belt, move up to sport.

    Sport to expert may be a tougher call, but certainly if you have a few say top 3 finishes in sport its time to move up. Or if you are at least the top half of the pack and want the challenge you can move up. On the other hand, if you aren't that competitive and don't have time to train, maybe stay in sport.

  3. #3
    Dirty South Underdog
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    Assuming you're going to be training over the winter, you should be in better condition at the start of next season, and if you've raced a handful of races and made some noticeable improvements, then you're no longer a beginner, right? I say move up.
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  4. #4
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    You'll need to check the rules of class advancement for your local mtb race organization.

    For example, ours is goneriding and the rules here are... You need to place top 5 in atleast 5 races of the season, or place top 5 overall at the end of the season in order to move up in class.

    In most cases it's not your decision on when to move up in class. I'd stay in beginner for atleast another season just so you could get the feel and experience of the race scene.

    Note: Most organizations use the USAC-MTB Rules.
    http://www.usacycling.org/forms/MTB_rulebook.pdf
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  5. #5
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    Move up.

    Beginner should be for the noobs, and if you've been on the podium more than once it's time to move to sport. You'll probably enjoy the longer more challenging courses in sport anyway.

    Also depending on the series, you may only be able to stay in the Beginner class for 1 to 2 years.

    If you're on the podium consistently it's time to move up... get pushed again... get faster... win... and move up again!

  6. #6
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    Good thread!

    I was thinking the same thing about moving up, here's my scenario, my local race series just ended.. I placed top 5 the whole season, well about 5 5th palces, and 3 4th place, the series is by points, the last race was double points, guess what? i ended up 2nd in points for the season, but i was never in the podium, should i move up?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReD_tomato
    You'll need to check the rules of class advancement for your local mtb race organization.

    For example, ours is goneriding and the rules here are... You need to place top 5 in atleast 5 races of the season, or place top 5 overall at the end of the season in order to move up in class.

    In most cases it's not your decision on when to move up in class. I'd stay in beginner for atleast another season just so you could get the feel and experience of the race scene.

    Note: Most organizations use the USAC-MTB Rules.
    http://www.usacycling.org/forms/MTB_rulebook.pdf
    from 3 to 2 you can upgrade at anytime, but after 5 top 5 finishes you must upgrade. From 2 to 1 you can upgrade after 2 top 5 finishes and must after 5. 1 to pro can upgrade after 2 top 3 finishes or 3 top 5 finishes in national calender events.
    for your results, go ahead and upgrade, you may finish near the end or middle for a while but it is modivation to do better and progress. plus most riders in sport are pretty cool and want to help out.
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  8. #8
    Photog Cyclist.
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    Winning 1 Beginner race is cool, winning the second--well that is like French Kissing your sister!!! If you win a Beginner race you should move up to Sport. Now Sport to Expert that ain't so easy. If you are winning Sport races left n right you need to move up, if you win one then top 10 the rest will thats up to you, but if you stayed there I wouldn't fault you. I am a solid Sport rider, but I do not that the time or the genetics to be a solid Expert. So I stay in Sport and am happy--I have won 4 Sport races and finish in the top 25% over the last 15 years.
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  9. #9
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    Glancing at the rules leads me to believe USA Cycling wants people to start in Cat 3 and then move up only when certain criteria are met. They have gotten away from Beginner and Sport and Expert classifications for a reason and it looks like you must have at least some sort of approval to move up. From Cat 3 to Cat 2 it appears you can move up more easily by having any USA Cycling Official indicate that on your license, but I'm assuming the officials are given some guidance on when to permit someone to move up "early" and when to not do so are at least discourage them. (That makes sense, frankly, because some racers will obviously have the talent and ability to justify moving up very quickly). Any other upgrades, other than from Cat 3 to Cat 2, must be done by a regional rep online, and some are done automatically based on results and you are notified by USA Cycling. This was all news to me when I just read it. In my home series, in Florida, the vast majority of experienced racers tell people to start in Cat 3, which was called "Base" here before the new numbering system.

    I kind of think this all makes sense and brings some needed order and consistency. They now have a way to monitor upgrades and downgrades, give some fairly clear rules, and also provide for some flexibility by allowing an official to upgrade you early if it appears indicated. (If you crush the field by 5 minutes, they can move you up.)

  10. #10
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    Here we can "move ourselves" up to the Cat 1 level ("expert") if we see fit, regardless of our license. We do need to purchase a license to race in expert or pro though (they start at same time and do same distance).

    First race was last year at Halloween in a small local race- got hooked, trained over winter etc.

    entered first cat3 (sport) race in the series in spring and got 3rd overall (but first in my heat and no one in my heat pushed me- learned a lesson about not going your hardest when there is no one around you in a race with heats). moved up.

    finished in the 15-25 range in the first 4 races I finished in cat2 (comp) with each finish slightly better than the one before. was probably training too much to really be strong for racing. peaked toward end of year and had a 2nd and a couple good finishes in non-series races. moving up again.

    I wouldn't be making this next jump if I didn't plan on taking this offseason seriously and coming back next spring significantly faster than I am now. However, my point is that you should absolutely move up as far as allowed in your "jurisdiction" and as quickly as you can without embarassing yourself. In the end you'll have the most fun and be the best you can be. Isn't that the whole point?

  11. #11
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    I think the idea is to have competitive races, not for everyone to move up as fast as they can. The experts are not going to appreciate it if they are stuck in a field of 30 riders, 20 who are not really competitve, but still affect the outcome of a race because it isn't too hard to sprint off the line before you hit singletrack where faster riders may be stuck behind someone until hitting trail where they can realistically pass. It will all work out best if races are made up of riders who are of similar riding levels.

    Now individual goals may differ, and some people may just want to move up as fast as possible. But moving up for the sake of moving up doesn't make sense to me personally. I say go prove yourself and get on enough podiums in one class before moving up. If you are crushing the field in a category, and the races are not competitve for you, then move up more quickly. The idea appears to be for races to be competitve so that we are racing against riders with similar abilities. When you show your abilities are beyond that class, through podium finishes or other reasons (such as a road racing pedigree or crushing the field), it is time to move to a more appropriate class.

  12. #12
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    agree with that as well- but if you can move up and will put in the work to make yourself "fit" no reason not to either. sounds like the OP could be ready for the next class quite easily if he tries.

  13. #13
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    Move up.

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