Cat5 Racing - Beginner

I want to start competing on CAT5 racing and I would like to know what type of training should I start doing?


Road racing or mtb?

Many folks who use TR follow a Base > Build > Specialty progression that cooresponds to the type of racing or event they are interested in.


RoadBike Racing

Ask @Nate_Pearson, you’ll be Cat.3 by the end of summer. :wink:


If you haven’t done structured training yet, then I would start with Sweet Spot Base 1. Then progress to Sweet Spot Base 2. Choose low or mid volume depending on your schedule.

Come back with questions and fun stories


MTB doesn’t have Cat 4 or 5, in the US. It’s Beginner (Cat 3), Sport (Cat 2), Expert (Cat 1) and Elite/Pro.

“For road and track racing, the grouping starts at Cat. 5 and work up to Cat. 1 in men’s racing, and starts at Cat. 4 and work up to Cat. 1 in women’s racing. Cyclocross racers start at Cat. 4 and work up, and mountain bike racers start at Cat. 3 and work up.”

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers start in Cat. 3 and may move to Cat. 2 as quickly as they wish to. However, they must move to Cat. 2 if they place in the top five in five qualifying races.

Cat. 2 riders may move up to Cat. 1 if they compile two top-5 finishes and present an upgrade request and resume to USA Cycling. They are required to move to Cat. 1 if they place in the top 5 in five races.

For Crit racing, SSB1 & 2 then Short Power build then Crit specialty.
Start off with low volume and see how your body reacts. I started off with low volume but felt good enough to supplement the program with some 1-2 zone 2 rides throughout the week. I’m not sure if I could’ve done mid volume as that throws in more sweet spot work but only YOU can know how much training you can get away with.
If your workouts are getting affected negatively even with your nutrition and rest dialed in then that’s an indicator to cut back.
Best of luck

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I know that. You know that. But I can’t assume the OP knows that.

Also, cannot assume he’s here in ‘Merica


In addition to the TR workouts that others suggested, USA Cycling has Beginner Race Programs for introducing beginners to road racing. Here is an example of one, so that you have an idea of what goes on in such an event:

You will need a one-day race license from USA Cycling, which you can then redeem towards a full-year race license if you choose to race more. You will need a race license for USAC-sanctioned events (regardless of road, cross or MTB).

Check your country’s cycling governing body to see if they have training camps like these.


Sweet spot base, general build, crit plan. :metal:


do this ^

and if you are in US, then do a beginners race program to work on cornering before the race, and get feedback after the race.

Have fun! :sunglasses:

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Are you in the US?

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Also, don’t hesitate to sign up and do a race because you feel you won’t be competitive. Just know that you have to do 10 races as a Cat5 regardless of whether you win or lose. No one got worse at racing by getting more experience.

I will, however, recommend you get experience riding in fast paced groups before you race. If you’ve done a lot of group rides and there’s a fast group ride in your area, get comfortable in those.

Other than that, good luck - don’t die.


Out of curiosity, what is your FTP (if you know it)?



FTP matters, but, no where near as much as you might think. A guy I know has been training super hard and racing for two years, has an FTP of 350+ and has never won a race. Experience and skill is often what matters more.


Ouch. That’d probably be me… if I could get my ftp that high :wink:

For sure feel like that’s talking about me :confused: