Cat 1: How'd you get there?

Hey there guys. I’m a relatively new racer based in the USA. I started racing last year and quickly went from Cat 5 to Cat 3. In my first few Cat 3 races I’ve won a race and finished third in another. Moving into next season and I’m looking for tips on how to get some easy upgrade points? A little background info, I’m a big rider 6 ft 3, 165 Ibs. FTP is around 365 to 370. Not a great sprinter and have only won races when I’m solo. Basically looking for general advice regarding training, nutrition, tactics, and so on. I’m based in WV near Ohio so what races should I target? Finally I’m 25 years old so hopefully I have enough time to get to Cat 1. Thanks in advance


You need to find a good team and coach. Your numbers are near world class. Assuming your power curve isn’t totally flat.

MvP is your size exactly and has around 400w threshold. Keep racing, you’ll be a 1 in no time.


Just joined a team for next year so that will definitively help. As for the coach debate, is it really worth the investment? Do you have any experience with utilizing a real person as a coach?

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I would defer this one to @trpnhntr, Cat. 1 and generally good human being, for advice.

Depends on what you want to do with cycling. Cat 1 means you will be riding for a team with specific goals for a season, this can be good and bad depending on how you want to develop as a cyclist. The good thing about sandbagging as a 2/3 for awhile is that you can learn some tactics and gain some in race knowledge.

Personally if I had the time and your numbers at 25, I would not only get a coach but start building a performance team around myself. Coach, physio therapist, massage therapist and maybe even a nutritionist. Again, it totally depends on what YOUR goals are for your cycling ‘career’.


Thanks man. I’ll definitely consider a coach. My main goal with cycling is to maximize my potential while I still can. And of course have fun while doing it

Hey man, what team did you join for next year? We can talk not on the forum if you want since we know each other but for sure there’s a lot of things you can do to really improve, especially checking out your strava from time to time. There is some good advice already here but a lot really ends up falling on what you choose to do.


What’s up Justin. Joining Headwind for next year. I guess I’m allowed to announce it at this point. You have any additional tips for getting to Cat 1? Any easy upgrade pts available at some of the local races?

Proper training plan. Actually putting together a plan and following that rather then just smashing threshold work day after day. That means some days you need to go out and ride four hours at an endurance pace, other days doing vo2 work or higher.
Can set yourself up with a plan on here or actually get a coach. Some of the headwind guys can make suggestions or show what they do.
As for moving up, double up on crits like you have been doing. With a team if working together it should be better. Don’t just pull the field on the front thinking you’ll drop the field at your ftp (Learned this the hard way). We’re in the same ballpark ftp wise and people sitting on your wheel on the flat are doing maybe 100 less watts and a few behind them are lower. To break away you need to drop a real effort for a few minutes then settle into a pace and see if it sticks.

As for easy, we’ll if you’re not going for the win or nothing then you can earn points for top 3-5 finishes based on field sizes. But remember starting around 3 you have a bunch of guys who think they’re great and should be winning so it makes it harder. Then once you get to 2 it’s even harder since pretty much all our races around here are 1/2/3 races :man_shrugging:t2:

Really good advice. I know I’m bad about going hard on every ride. Trying to increase my base some this winter so in longer road raced I’ll be around near the end. One other thing I’m adjusting is my weight. I’ve actually found being a little heavier this winter has made me feel stronger. Should be fun racing with a team this year too. Hope to see you there next year :call_me_hand:

Ask yourself why you want to get to cat 1. Whatever the answer is, it isn’t bad. But are you actually in a hurry to get there?

While you’re a 3, especially as a strong 3, don’t go for the easiest points. Challenge yourself and really learn to race at the front. Learn to win. Do the harder races if you have the option, so you can learn to win with skill instead of just power. Then once you get up to 2 it’ll be worth looking for the easier points for upgrading because 2 > 1 is a brutal upgrade to get.

Anyway, you’re on the right path. You’ve got the numbers, and if you surround yourself with good people (which it sounds like you are) then you’ll get where you want to be. Good luck, have fun!


Thanks Jeremy. Can I assume you are a Cat 1 racer then? Sounds like you have of alot of experience

I am in cyclocross (which is my primary area of focus), but not on the road admittedly. I’ve been racing cat3 crits in the midwest for a few seasons and I’m only just now feeling like I might be interested in pursuing an upgrade to 2. I’m feeling it out and only going as hard as I’m having fun on the road, and that’s what makes me happy. I upgraded very quickly through 'cross, and I feel like I missed a lot of lessons along the way I would have learned if I’d slowed down a bit.


Where are you located Jeremy? We have a pretty good crit scene here in Ohio if you’re close. Also a lot of cross races

Wife was like, “I want a Cat”…So that’s how I got cat 1. Few months back we made it to Cat 2. That’s how I got my Cat upgrades.

Apologize as I couldn’t help myself. Carry on with your real racing discussion. :slight_smile:



I’m in Chicago! I pop out your way a good bit in the fall because I love the OVCX series. Give me a holler if you come up this way for Intelligentsia Cup or the like, I’d love to say hi!

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Will do man. Intelegenista does look pretty sweet

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the points will come, and honestly, you’ll perform better when you aren’t just worried about picking up points. Focus on the race at hand.

Learn from your teammates as it sounds like you found a squad that you like, and they’ll know all the races that are worth hitting up. And travel to big ones that you can make.

and at 25yo you are super young and have lots of amazing race years ahead of yourself. ALl the best and see you at Road nats one day!!!



Not a 1 but got my 2 by racing a LOT (3/4, 3’s , 2/3’s).
Maybe go for hardman style road races.

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Thanks for the encouragement. I hope you’re right!