Joining another CAT's race mid-ride

Alright, need some advice here. Tonight, I raced in our local weekly road race. Because of timing, we often run multiple CATs at the same time with the starts staggered. I was racing in the CAT4/5 group. We had a breakaway with a handful of riders. We were 8 or 9 laps in with a few more to go. A couple of riders came up on us. Not sure whether they were in our race or not, the current leader of our break surged and joined them. 20 second later, the 3/4 field comes up on us and yells for us to stay right. At this point, it’s clear that those two riders from earlier were a break from the 3/4 field. At this point, etiquette dictates that we neutralize for 30 seconds and continue our race. Instead, 3 or 4 riders surge forward and latch onto the 3/4 field. At this point, I’m yelling that we can’t join their race and to neutralize. The riders next to me agree, but the same 3 or 4 riders aren’t listening. I put in an 800w dig to bridge back up to them. I continued to tell them to neutralize. Nothing. At that point, not wanting to get dropped, I said screw it and held their wheels. Eventually the two fields did separate, albeit slowly.

So my question for the hive mind. What the hell do I do in that situation?

Youtube link for the curious…

Race organiser should DQ riders who went with the other race. Usually each group has different colour numbers, so as to easily distinguish between concurrent races for this reason.

Bad form!


Yup…you should report the incident(s) so the organizers know.

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The UK masters was won like that a few years back I think (some masters jumping onto the back of passing seniors or juniors). It seemed to p1ss off the masters that never made the jump so I guess it was reported but the result stood.

Were the passing senior/juniors a lap up? Or did the masters jump on the back of a break in a combined race?

No idea, sorry, I just heard grumbles from the folk who missed the jump.

If they were a lap up, grumbles are justifiable! It’s against the rules to interfere with a break or the race in that way. If they were on the same lap and a mixed race, fair play!! In Scotland we have the vets V40, and V50 (and V60) racing at the same time. All part of the same race, but different championships up for grabs in the national RR. There’s often both races in the break.

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At that point, what do the written rules state?

Can’t see how racers can be DQ’d going against etiquette?

I would have raced.

I think this definitely comes down to the rules. Is what they did against them? Your explanation of the appropriate etiquette to employ was pretty specific. Where did you reach your understanding? Did someone tell you? Have you seen it in action? Did you read it?

If truly unwritten/etiquette but widely understood and adhered too, it should be explained at the end of the race to those that violated it. And other riders should support you. If not, maybe it isn’t all that universal.


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It’s in our rulebook. Granted, I had never actually read the rulebook…but I was going off the instructions that officials have given us at previous races.

I knew what we were supposed to do…but I also didn’t want to get dropped and end up soloing the next few laps because…ouch.

Should a field catch another field of racers that started separately
(except in a Handicap Race) the slower field will slow and ride at
a neutral speed as soon as practical after they are caught by the
faster field or its lead car to allow the faster field to pass. They
will then continue to ride at a neutral slowed pace until the faster
field is 300 meters ahead or until they are released by anofficial
attending their race. The field being passed will stay to the far
right of the road allowing room for the passing field unless
instructed by an official otherwise. Passes will not occur in the
final 2 kilometers of a race. Riders will not pass unless there is
clear space to pass subject to rule 15.1.2.

Its in the USA Cycling rulebook at page 140:

8B2(b) - “Taking pace from riders in another race on the course”
The penalty is relegation or DSQ

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