TT don’t give upgrade points?

Anyone know why that is? I’ve had a successful past couple weeks racing TTs thinking I was getting points to move up, only to find out later time trials don’t give upgrade points.

Frustrating that my best discipline doesn’t allow me to get points to move up.

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I can’t claim to know exactly, but a few reasons come to mind (all USAC based discussion):

  • An individual TT doesn’t involve race tactics or team tactics. It’s you and the clock, and everyone else and the clock. Thus it doesn’t really make sense to categorize it the same way you categorize road races, criteriums, etc.
  • There’s risk involved in allowing upgrades from TT, specifically that a TT (or a triathlon) doesn’t prepare you in the least for crit or road racing. I’ve been racing triathlons (effectively TTs) for 15 years, and the group rides I’ve done over that time were far more effective preparation for my crit/road season. And by “preparation” I am not talking about “fitness”. Even with tens of thousands of miles in my legs, and a hundred group rides, and a hundred triathlons, I still started this season as a Cat 5, and for good reason. Yeah, I’m a pretty strong rider, but I still have buckets to learn about racing bikes.
  • Above in mind, imagine someone upgrading to Cat 4 based on a few TT starts, one clinic, and three fondos. Then they’re particularly strong, and enter a TT event with 50 people, and win it. They TT well two or three more times, and now they’re eligible to upgrade to Cat 3. Now you’ve got a guy who can race Cat 3 without ever having so much as really ridden in a pack, let alone raced in one. I don’t think you can safely allow that.
  • As has been said on the podcast many times, the strongest guy doesn’t often win road races/criteriums. Fitness is the ticket to the dance. TT is almost always won by the strongest guy, pacing ability being equal. As I said above, it’s just such a different discipline, it’s almost a different sport.
  • I think maybe a valid argument could be made that TTs should count like Fondos for 5 > 4 upgrades, where you can do some combination of three or four TT/Fondos as part of your ten “points” to upgrade, but after that they don’t count.

Your points make a lot of sense. I get not wanting inexperienced riders to move into higher categories. I feel like it should count up to a certain amount. Like how 20 of your 30 points can count when going from 3 to 2.

Bit of a bummer to win a cat 3 state championship/3rd overall all, finish runner up for another cat 3 state championship/4th overall, and win another states championship overall and get nada for it in regards to moving up.

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The reason for classes in road racing is to group people of similar abilities and thus both provide experience as you progress up through the catagories. While TTs are good tests of fitness and serious events, they provide nothing in the way of mass start racing bike and pack handling skills. TTs and mass start bike races both use bikes but they are completely different things so no upgrade points for TTs…

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Go find a stage race and put your TT skills to good use. You can get a boatload of points that way.


Yep, I’d second @jamiek. The way you upgrade with your TT skills is by stage racing. A good TT can set you up for upgrade points in a stage race (though you do have to be able to back it up with group ride/race skills).

Personally, I got many of my points for upgrading from GC placing at stage races and TTs are often a key to consistent GC success.

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I was the same as you - crushed the TTs at the lower categories and then had to shift my focus as I wanted to upgrade. My TT is now fair to average and my race skills and abilities are much higher than they were

The primary reason that TTs don’t give upgrade points is safety, as covered by @kurt.braeckel

Put another way - there are plenty of guys who can win a P123 TT who have no business even starting a P123 crit or road race and would DNF if they did. Winning TTs is very different from winning mass start events

I know a few years ago USAC was debating creating a separate upgrade system for TTs and thus yet another license type but I think that has more or less died off at this point and won’t be happening. In some cases it does make sense to separate them out since they are such completely different things, but it would create some strangeness with regards to stage races

As others have said - if you’re confident in your strength and ability and want to get upgrade points from your TT skills - find some time based stage races and go win them. If you’re a capable mass start racer all you have to do is pack finish the other events and your TT time will get you a giant pile of points at the end of the weekend


Hey Justin, in the same boat as you. TT’s are a strength for me, wish we got at least some credit for it. It could easily be set up so TT’s can only account for 30-50% of your points, I wish they would do something like that. In addition, it would probably be supportive to the TT scene, which is of a dying breed, at least in our area.

That being said, our local upgrade guy seems to use more judgement at the lower levels, so I may include my TT results with regular points to show both skill and speed. I’m still a 4 though, probably the last time I’ll get such “judgement calls.”

Cliffs; Up to Cat 3 their priority is race competence. You prove that by either points, getting 10 top tens in large fields, or racing 25 very large fields.

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I think it would be cool if USAC had separate TT categories. You could upgrade with your Road cat, but not vice-verse.