About The Road to Cat 1

For those of you who don’t follow cycling, or don’t live in the United States, I will describe what I mean by “The Road to Cat 1”:

In American amateur road cycling, racers are categorized by ability levels. The levels usually are from fastest to slowest: Pro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In Coloardo, the races are organized primarily by the American Cycling Association (ACA). The ACA does not have a category 5. To give you an idea of numbers, here is the 2007 membership data (the most recent I could find):

PRO Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4
21 124 331 770 2235

As you can see, there are a relatively very small number of Pro, Cat 1 and Cat 2 Racers. As such, they are almost always combined into a single race (The ‘Pro Race’). Also, there is quite a bottleneck between Cat 2 and Cat 1.  Only elite amateur athletes can attain Cat 2, and the next level is even more elusive.

Upgrades are earned though points awarded by finishing places in races.  In lower, non-combined categories, this requires besting your peers.  However, to earn upgrade points to Cat 1, a racer must place at the front of the ‘Pro’ race, against the real PROs and racers who are already Cat 1.  Basically, you don’t have to beat the other Cat 2 racers, but everybody to earn points towards a Cat 1 upgrade.

With this blog I plan to take you with me along The Road to Cat 1…

Note: This blog was formerly known as “The Road to Cat 2”.  I upgraded from Cat 3 to Cat 2 on June 21st, 2010, and am now continuing to chase my dream of racing with the fastest racers in the country.


4 Responses to About The Road to Cat 1

  1. Awesome….. I’m new to cycling. Bought my first bike last year and did my first century last fall. I absolutely loved it. Not sure where it will take me next, but it’s cool to read your blog.


  2. Scott says:

    Hi Russell,
    Quick question after having followed your blog and progress (both impressive) for a while now: are you self coached? i. e. Do you come up with your own training plans, do your own power file analysis etc etc

    I do my own but I always have the small feeling of self-doubt that I’m not doing it 100% correctly or really making the most of my ability.
    Keep up the great work.

    • Russell says:


      Yes, I’m self coached. Once or twice this year I’ve discussed my PMC or a power file with a friend with high level coaching experience, but that is about it.

      I have my doubts occasionally too. But imagine working blindly with a coach, not having spent as much time investing in your self knowledge. I think there would easily be as much doubt relying on someone else.

  3. Scott says:

    Thanks for the reply Russell.
    You are right, I think I’d rather be doubting myself rather than a coach I don’t really know and pay good money to. The only way I could see it working would be if I had built up a long relationship with the coach and he knew me well. But to just randomly find one and start working with?

    Thanks, glad to hear you have some doubts too (selfish of me I know ha ha). I race CAT 2 when racing the US and really enjoy it. Some great races and racing there (Battenkill, Green Mountain, Catskills etc etc).

    Keep up the good work, thanks again.

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