Choosing events for upgrade goals

I’m a 36 year-old catergory 3 road racer, actively working on upgrading to cat 2. I’m eligible to choose from a few different races on race-day, and often choose between:

  • Elite 3
  • Master +35 1/2/3

But this season I’ve also seen:

  • Elite 1/2/3
  • Elite 2/3
  • Elite 3/4

How does one choose to maximize success, while keeping the USAC Road Category upgrade guidelines in mind:

For the tables that follow, note that if the field contains mixed categories (e.g., cat 3-4), then the number of starters is the number of riders that are the same category or higher as the person requesting the upgrade (e.g., in a cat 3-4 combined field, all riders count for a 4-3 upgrade, but only the 3’s count for a 3-2 upgrade.

When categories are combined, such as in a 3-4 race, the finish place is always the raw finish across the finish line, not taking into account the category of the rider. In other words, the category 3 riders are not subtracted out so that the category 4 rider appears to have a higher finishing place. The only time a category is subtracted out for this purpose is if the prize lists were awarded separately for a combined field.

What do you focus your energy when you can race multiple crit or circuit race categories on one day?

What about road races, where there’s only time to do one race per race-day? How does one decide between racing in the 3s versus racing Masters +35 1/2/3?

In my experience if the choice is between cat 3 and a master’s 1/2/3 race choose the cat 3 unless you know the master’s field really well and think you can beat those 1/2’s who’ve often been racing for decades and aren’t just strong but know HOW to race effectively. The cat 3 field will likely have plenty of strong riders but they are less experienced and will likely make more mistakes allowing you to capitalize and gain more upgrade points.

As for racing multiple crits in a day, the 3/4 race is a good opportunity for if there tends to be enough 3s to get points. The 1/2/3 fields will likely be much harder to get points in because you are likely the smaller fish in the bigger pond but it’s a good place to learn how to race efficiently and to refine the art of counter-attacking even though you feel absolutely terrible. 1/2/3 crits tend to be nothing but attack after counter-attack until the group gets tired of working so hard and it eases up just in time for someone to try and jump across to the break :grimacing:.

So if you’re targeting upgrade points on crit days, I’d focus on the lower category races where you have the best chance of placing well so 3/4, 2/3, then master’s, and lastly 1/2/3 races.


i’d choose the one with the largest pool since the most points are available, and you’ll learn more in the bigger races. Less people, the more it just becomes who’s strongest. So, if that’s you, you can go win the easier race, but get less points.

that help at all?