How competitive is 4th cat racing?

Talk about your races - Time Trials, Road Races or Cyclocross.
Lycraboy_Andy
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 20:38 pm

How competitive is 4th cat racing?

Postby Lycraboy_Andy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:16 pm

Good afternoon everyone,

I've recently registered on this forum so I thought I'd test the water and ask a question!
I'm very keen to do some closed circuit 4th cat racing this spring/summer so am interested to hear peoples opinions on how tough it is. I should imagine people take it quite seriously (rightly so) and although I am under no illusions that I am going to win...I don't want to embarrass myself either!

I'm going to give myself 8 weeks before I give it a try so now have a goal to train towards. With cat 4 being the 'novice' class would I be right in saying the range of abilities is going to be quite varied?

Any advice or feedback would be gratefully received!
Last edited by Lycraboy_Andy on Wed Feb 13, 2013 20:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MajorMantra
Posts: 2038
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 21:29 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby MajorMantra » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:21 pm

Cat 4s range from guys who will be Cat 1s in a few months to average club run plodders. Being competitive in Cat 4 circuit races is often more a matter of bike handling and positioning rather than fitness - road races tend to set the bar a bit higher in my experience.

Try it - you'll find out soon enough! But please, do some chaingangs/fast group rides first.

saprkzz
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 20:33 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby saprkzz » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:24 pm

I am in the same position as you, in the sense this will be my first racing season.

Have a look on this forum (do a search "4th cat") and there is plenty of information on what to expect in a 4th cat race.
Also type in 4th cat race into youtube and there is plenty of footage.

Its probably totally different to what you think it will be like, it was for me. I was expecting to turn up a win because I am quite an experienced rider, and think I can hold my own. After doing a lot of research i feel my 10 hours a week training isnt enough! :lol: :lol:

displacedaussie
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 16:41 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:38 pm

My guess is that most 4th (and 3rd) cat cyclists do less than 10 hours of training per week. Just make the most of whatever time you have. Ride hard and ride as often as possible (but also listen to your body and give it a chance to rest and recover).

I did less than 10 hours per week last year and did ok.

The most important thing is to be comfortable riding fast in a group. Other than that, get out there, give it a go and enjoy it!

cojones
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 17:14 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby cojones » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:42 pm

Oh dear, I'm a newbie this year too and am now questioning using my brand new, shiny, unmarked Focus Cayo...I'm not worried about me but if there is a risk of knackering the bike I'll have to think again...is there insurance that covers race crashes?

Cheers,

Coj

displacedaussie
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 16:41 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:44 pm

The bike insurance that British Cycling recommends includes (if selected) cover for race crashes.

BeaconRuth
Posts: 2025
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 09:38 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby BeaconRuth » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:58 pm

Lycraboy_Andy wrote: I'm very keen to do some closed circuit 4th cat racing this spring/summer so am interested to hear peoples opinions on how tough it is.

Any advice or feedback would be gratefully received!

My advice would be to not go near a race until you've done at least a few rides with a group of racing cyclists on some kind of training bash or chaingang. Make sure you've mixed it with some other riders who call themselves racing cyclists (and I don't mean sportive riders or triathletes, or even time triallists for that matter), preferably when they're riding hard, trying to drop you on the hills etc. Reliability rides are often an excellent taster and there'll probably be a few near you in the next month or so as this is reliability-ride season. You don't have to be able to keep up with E,1,2s but if you can ride with a group of 3rd/4th cat riders on a reliability ride and you're confident riding in a bunch, then you probably won't embarrass yourself in a circuit race. If staying with the 3rds and 4ths in a reliability ride is beyond you then I'd suggest you might not get to the end of a circuit race in the bunch.

Ruth

displacedaussie
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 16:41 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Feb 08, 2013 14:07 pm

However, if you do get dropped in your first race it's not the end of the world!

matterai
Posts: 161
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 07:25 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby matterai » Fri Feb 08, 2013 14:22 pm

Hi

I have done a number of 4th cat circuit races.

Along with the other competitors people have mentioned I have also come across alot of riders that were experienced racers (years ago) up to pro level or people that are very experienced but dont necessarily want to progress or commit to more road racing.

As people have said, give it a go.

Have your wits about you regarding what other riders are doing and check before you make any moves left or right incase someone is to the side of you. Dont do anything eratic unless you have bags of space around you.

Touch wood, I have never been involved in a crash but there have been a number of near misses.

If it is finishing as a group, the majority of people will think they are Cav and go for the sprint/win so look out.

Lycraboy_Andy
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 20:38 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby Lycraboy_Andy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 15:34 pm

Thank you all for your valuable advice.
I'm looking to join my local club in the next few weeks and join in with the group rides etc. I want to be really sensible about this because I don't want to be the rider that does something stupid and causes a crash - or be involved in someone elses crash either!
There must be a huge element of trust riding in a peloton, as through no fault of your own you could easily end up on the ground I guess?
I'm really surprised there's no compulsory training needed prior to competing in a cycle race...
All that aside I am excited! Can't wait to get a few races under my belt and then make my own mind up! :D

Thanks again.

User avatar
markos1963
Posts: 3729
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 20:42 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby markos1963 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 15:48 pm

Lycraboy_Andy wrote:Thank you all for your valuable advice.
I'm looking to join my local club in the next few weeks and join in with the group rides etc. I want to be really sensible about this because I don't want to be the rider that does something stupid and causes a crash - or be involved in someone elses crash either!
There must be a huge element of trust riding in a peloton, as through no fault of your own you could easily end up on the ground I guess?
I'm really surprised there's no compulsory training needed prior to competing in a cycle race...
All that aside I am excited! Can't wait to get a few races under my belt and then make my own mind up! :D

Thanks again.


Good on you for giving it a go and good on you for going out with a club. Certainly with circuit racing you'll find the strong riders will try and string the group out as much as they can in the early laps to see who's strong and to get rid of any danger from weak riders so watch out for this and being caught out at the back.

displacedaussie
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 16:41 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Feb 08, 2013 16:05 pm

Lycraboy_Andy wrote:I want to be really sensible about this because I don't want to be the rider that does something stupid and causes a crash - or be involved in someone elses crash either!


Acknowledging this is a great first step. There are people out there racing who don't care or don't even know that how they ride is stupid and dangerous - and that they're at least partly responsible for the safety of everybody else in the race.

Danlikesbikes
Posts: 3871
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 22:10 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby Danlikesbikes » Fri Feb 08, 2013 16:07 pm

Depending on your club if they have access to or organise any of the events themselves they may well do specific training sessions on closed road circuits - as assume from you post your near one.

Or if its one of the well funded newer circuits they may well do sessions themselves & you can go out and train with other racers to get a feel for the speed & pack riding.
Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.

BeaconRuth
Posts: 2025
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 09:38 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby BeaconRuth » Fri Feb 08, 2013 16:09 pm

Lycraboy_Andy wrote:I'm looking to join my local club in the next few weeks and join in with the group rides etc.

Then choose the club and the group rides carefully. The vast majority of club 'group rides' are not remotely akin to road or circuit racing. Make sure it's a hard training ride with others who are preparing for racing or who were formerly very good racing cyclists.

Many clubs don't even have group rides that would fit the bill, or, at least, they only happen informally and you have to know the right people before you'll find out about them........... but joining a club is definitely a very important first step. Good luck!

displacedaussie wrote:However, if you do get dropped in your first race it's not the end of the world!

No, indeed, but the risk of causing a crash when you're not yet even regularly riding with competent club riders is rather high.

Ruth

User avatar
Pross
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:32 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby Pross » Fri Feb 08, 2013 16:38 pm

displacedaussie wrote:However, if you do get dropped in your first race it's not the end of the world!


And you'll probably be among about 90% of new cyclists who it happens to either due to not being quite fit enough or (more likely) due to bad positioning, poor technique or lack of confidence in a group. I don't think I finished in the bunch at all in my first season mainly down to those three issues. Now, 20 odd years later and having had a long, long break from racing I still get dropped more often than not but now it is down to fitness levels. Hopefully this season the fitness and skill levels will be there! Oddly I seem to differ from most in that I find (flat) road races easier than circuit races due to less regular accelerations out of corners etc.

BTW there is a category of racing lower than 4th cat which is Go Race but there's not many races held at that level. These are open to 4th cats with BC membership / licences but also to non-BC members who can buy day membership and licences. As there's no points up for grabs the better 4th cats who are looking to move up to 3rd tend not to enter. However, the standard can be a bit mixed. The one I did when I first returned to racing saw the 20 man bunch split into small groups of no more than 4 in the first two laps with quite a few going out the back in the first corner. I finished 9th but still managed to get lapped 2 or 3 times by a couple of stronger 4th cats who were chasing easy prize money! :oops:

displacedaussie
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 16:41 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Feb 08, 2013 20:24 pm

BeaconRuth wrote:
displacedaussie wrote:However, if you do get dropped in your first race it's not the end of the world!

No, indeed, but the risk of causing a crash when you're not yet even regularly riding with competent club riders is rather high.

Ruth


Absolutely! I should have said "I 100% agree with Ruth, however when you do start racing, don't worry if you still get dropped in your first few races."

I got dropped 20 minutes into my first ever race last year but it does get better! :D

TakeTurns
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:31 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby TakeTurns » Sat Feb 09, 2013 01:15 am

Work on your cornering at over 20mph. You won't pick these skills up at a group ride. You need to practice being able to hold a line while going through a bend.

BeaconRuth
Posts: 2025
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 09:38 am

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby BeaconRuth » Sat Feb 09, 2013 06:08 am

displacedaussie wrote:I got dropped 20 minutes into my first ever race last year but it does get better! :D

You lasted as long as 20 minutes? I seem to recall lasting a lot less time than that in a couple of early road races many years ago. I may have barely made it out of the neutralised zone once. :oops:

Ruth

Danlikesbikes
Posts: 3871
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 22:10 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby Danlikesbikes » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:32 pm

BeaconRuth wrote:
displacedaussie wrote:I got dropped 20 minutes into my first ever race last year but it does get better! :D

You lasted as long as 20 minutes? I seem to recall lasting a lot less time than that in a couple of early road races many years ago. I may have barely made it out of the neutralised zone once. :oops:

Ruth



Think in my first race I lasted about 4 minutes before going out the back, was not a nice experience to be honest but I carried on and after about 30 minutes had made it back to small group .
Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.

User avatar
gsk82
Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 13:12 pm

Re: How competive is 4th cat racing?

Postby gsk82 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 18:40 pm

My big tips would be to ride near the front, but remember that if you're not going forwards you're going backwards, and be prepared for 30+ riders who you haven't seen all day to suddenly want to squeeze to the front on the last corner.
Rule #72 // Legs speak louder than words.
Unless you routinely demonstrate your riding superiority and the smoothness of your Stroke, refrain from discussing your power meter, heartrate, or any other riding data


Return to “Amateur Race”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest