First Race CAT 5

Hey guys, looking for advice for my very first road race coming up in a couple of weeks in Oak Ridge Tennessee. As you can imagine I am starting out as a CAT 5 racer. I have been riding for a couple of years now and training with trainer road consistently for the past year. When not using trainer road I ride with a group of guys who are racers in various categories and have no problem riding in a group with them. I’m 5’5" weigh 124 lbs with an Ftp at 3.8 watts/kg. Is this suffiecent enough to handle a 27 mile road race that has 2 climbs? The first is 3-4min long half way through race at 5% grade and the other at the finish which is basically the same grade and length. Should I focus on just completing the event with the pack or trying to attack over the first climb and make it stick? I realize this may be unrealistic for my first ever race. Just looking for guidance and tips for my first event outside of group rides and training. 5 star podcast! You guys have gotten me through many indoor sessions!

All the best


great W per KG, but being so light means there will be some beasts in the race with a much higher FTP. Those guys will be able to keep you in check in my mind, so I would focus on sticking with everyone, having fun in your first race, then giving it your all on the last climb/finish.


Thank you for the advice! That’s kind of what I’ve been thinking as well. I figured there would be other riders who are much stronger and are only CAT 5 because they don’t have enough races to upgrade. Plus I wouldn’t do too well in the wind alone for very long because the flats and wind in general are hard for me being so small.

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As a lightweight rider myself… the key is to stay hiding behind bigger guys and make them pay when the gradient goes up!

Try having fun even if you get drop… everybody got drop at some point. That’s just the way it is.


Thank you, I was hoping to hide in the group as long as I can and survive to the finishing hill and try to send it since my ability in the hills seems to be my only advantage. I hope to specifically do road races that have climbs like these. Being a light rider as well, do you ever do crits? Or would I just get destroyed? There is a crit the following day, should I give it a try or stick to the road race?

I do some. But crits are another beast. It’s really more about positioning than anything else.

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That kind of riding is a better indication of how you’ll go than FTP or w/kg. You’ll do fine.

Ask your ride buddies for tips. Sounds likely several of them would have done this race before if it is local.


Thank you!

A tip often missed and overlooked is always pre-ride the course if you can. I find that being very familiar with a course gives me the knowledge I need to strategize. Specifically, mark those climbs, check the descents, look for lines in corners (or any debris/sediment, etc). Having the confidence of knowing the course helps me immensely!

Most of all, have fun! Cat 5 can be the most unpredictable races, ranging from really strong new riders, to extremely poor bike handlers. Keep your rubber on the road, and report back with results!

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I was actually hoping to hit this race, as I’ll be driving from GA back to NY that week. Unfortunately can’t make it. Looks like a fun weekend though.

You should do just fine if you don’t get gapped on a power section. Make sure to stay out of the wind and don’t get caught at the back on the short climbs. Let the big guys drag you around all day and think about how many extra kJs they’re burning.

Good luck!

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It’s been said before, but with your build I’d recommend staying off the front and in the wheels until the road points upwards. When it does, you’ll come into your own.

Good luck, and have fun​:muscle::blush:

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Thank you for the advice!

Have you done this race before?

This is what it took to win Cat 5 last year:

Here’s the flyby data:

My opinion is 3.8 will not be enough to get away and stay away. Nashville Local will be heavily represented. Do not be the first to attack the big climb - just try to follow. The final climb is the deciding climb.

Do your best to not die. Do the entire Omnium for experience. Use your time in Cat 5 to learn and achieve goals you have 100% control over. If you make winning your primary goal, you will be disappointed. You have to do 10 Cat 5 races before you can upgrade.

Come ride GSD with us if you are in Nashville.

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I haven’t. Just happened to be on my way home from GA and I’m dying to race so I looked it up.

Given that GA/TN have strong crit scenes, you tend to see a lot of power riders. At your size/power I’d follow wheels. You can even potentially get in a break by following, but no point in attacking on a rolling course like that. Save it for the finish and enjoy the ride.

Would that watt/kg be enough to finish with group? Awesome job by the way! Also,how were the tactics at that level? Did you have team mates or ride solo? I have family in Nashville so I may catch you guys on a group ride someday.

That’s not me. You can look up the winner of each race on and then look them up on Strava. Too many variables but, watch the fly by and see where it blows apart and be ready to follow at those places. Nashville Local will likely have six or eight guys, but, they don’t work together - they race every man for themselves, but, usually train for this race.

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I am also starting real racing this year.

My plan:
Try EVERTHING - sprints, breakaways, leadouts, you name it !

Get some good racing buddies and hopefully get hooked with racing and start hunting upgrade points next year with some experience in a ton of motivation and goals bases upon my own trail and error from this season

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