Upgrading Racing Categories

As the end of the road racing draws near, hopefully you look back and feel like it’s been a good season. You may even be thinking that next season you’re ready to move up from a category 5 to a category 4, from a 4 to a 3, etc. But how?

Each USA Cycling licensed racer has a separate category for road, track, and cyclocross. Upgrades for each discipline follow a separate set of guidelines based upon experience and results. As a new racer, upgrades are based mainly on experience, with the goal that cyclists advancing to the next category have the skills and fitness to be safe in the higher category. At higher categories, riders move up based upon results in their races.

Details on each upgrade process
While the official guidelines are a good measure of a rider’s potential for an upgrade, you may find some riders upgrade even if they don’t meet the official criteria. These exceptions can happen for many reasons—good and bad. If you have questions about your particular situation—or are eligible and want to upgrade—contact your Regional Coordinator.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting this article. As you can see from my post on the forum, I'm trying to get my 10 races to upgrade to cat 4 next season.


wielrijder said...

Still unclear on the point per race? Less points the betterhttps://www.usacycling.org/rankings/?org=USCF&sex=M&disc=ITT&cat=JR? first has the least points?

Lucas Wall said...

wielrijder, I'm not sure what you mean. The charts listing the upgrade points awarded for places in various races are a bit confusing, but the more points the better for upgrades. For example, in races with bigger fields, more upgrade points are available and are awarded to more places: in a race with 10 starters the winner earns 3 points and 3rd place gets 1 point, but the in a race with 50 starters the winner earns 10 points and 9th place gets 1 point.

Also, riders should note they need to keep track of their own results and the number of starters in each race to calculate their own points. There is no source that tracks all of this for you.

Lucas Wall said...

wielrijder, I realized you were referring to the category rankings listed at USACycling.org (I copied your link wrong). This category ranking is based upon the least number of points, however, this ranking and its points are not related to upgrade points at all. These are two separate sets of points, and you have to manually track and calculate your own upgrade points.

wielrijder said...

Thanks, I got it. Is there are chart for field size?

Lucas Wall said...

Follow the "Upgrade Guidelines" links in the original post and you'll find info about required field sizes. For track, it's pretty simple, but cyclocross and especially road have multiple charts that break down upgrade points depending on finishing place and field size.