USAC Changing Upgrade Policy

The Voluntary and Mandatory upgrade requirements are separate and don’t rely on each other. So for Road, going Novice to cat 4, it’s and either/or situation. You can upgrade at will OR you get a mandatory upgrade (theoretically this should be automatic) if you reach 10 points in a year. They’re mutually exclusive. The USAC chart on the website maybe makes it clearer because they’re side by side, but the two “requirements” are not together. Meaning you can stay Novice forever if you never reach 10 points in a 12-month span. USAC upgrades were like this in the past, with a Voluntary or Mandatory requirement, this isn’t new.


Also, there’s a stipulation that you can use clinic points towards a 4>3 upgrade, and they’re not erased. So even though going Novice>4 you reset your points to 0, clinic points carry over. So hopefully, that incentivizes going to the clinic regardless of whether you take the immediate upgrade or not. So for somebody that would take the at will upgrade to 4, thinking they’ll do the clinics as a 4 to get upgrade points, they can do the clinics as a Novice and those points will carry over and still count towards a 3 upgrade later. Maybe get some people to do the clinics as a Novice before upgrading.

" Riders who have upgraded will start with a zero race points balance in their new category. Where indicated in the policies, clinic points may be carried over (road and track 4>3)."


It used to be on there then it got removed a few years ago.

My understanding is that now, there is no distinction for mixed categories and DNFs. You just count everybody for field size. Any race starter, regardless of category and finish, is counted towards field size for points. Which makes it a lot easier to calculate.

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I hope so too!

I have the same plan, I’m in Massachusetts and there is an early bird 4 race series in Connecticut that has clinics the morning before. They start at 7:30am though and it’s a 2 hour drive for me. Going to be some early mornings. But I need all the help I can get. Haha

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Oh that’s great! I missed that part. That might actually get more people into the clinics than the old system. Since it is harder to get points as 4 than it used to be as a 5 when the clinic points counted.

5 is the new 4, 4 is the new 3, 3’s are 2’s now, everybody becomes cat1. Disappointing to see standards lowered that much.

Why? It’s not a badge of honor. It’s just a classification to group people based on experience.


It is a bit disappointing as someone who traveled quite a bit by car to get ten starts where I wasn’t earning points last season, then four months later it becomes I could’ve just “at willed” into a category more in line with my abilities and raced for points… that part is frustrating. But when these things change, it’s hard to please everyone.


Meh, you had fun and got experience, right? It’s a lot easier to get to 3 now, so, it’s a wash.


Sure. But not a “wash”. Instead of racing Cat 3, which is almost certainly where I’d be under these rules applied last season, I’ll be racing 4 next to “novices” who at willed up to 4 and are essentially last year’s 5s. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s not a “wash” for me either.

Most 4 races are combined 4/5 fields and you can get to 3 with just three wins or 20 pack finishes now. Getting 30 points is easier than before.


True, new rules plus up field size too.

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I don’t know. I know that’s the big complaint on here, saying too many people will completely bypass Novice and take the at will upgrades to 4. And I’m sure there will be plenty that do that. But I’m not so sure that it’s going to be as rampant as a lot of people are worried about. I know I won’t be taking it and I’d guess there are a lot of people who won’t take it immediately as well. I know my skill level and would rather race the Novice races a bit before upgrading. If I, or anybody really, dominate a few Novice races (not likely for me), then I’ll have to upgrade early anyway. But for the time being, I’d rather get some experience racing, and don’t see myself taking the at will upgrade anytime soon. Plus it’s cheaper for a Novice license, meaning that a lot of people will take the cheaper route and wait (my guess).


Its not? Most treat it like it is. Cat 1&2’s act superior, 3’s sure are a mixed bag, and then the 4/5’s well most want to get out of there asap. :wink:


If I’m reading it correctly you can get 5 clinic points and 5 begining racer program points for the 4>3 upgrade. Previously this was only 3 points.

I like a lot of the changes. But… honestly, the most disappointing thing to me is there continues to be zero incentive to do tt’s. The points system is killing the discipline.


As a very novice crit racer, I have to say that some mandatory upgrade system does sound nice. In my area (DC) cat 5 crit fields are often triple or more the size of the other categories and sandbagging does seem to be a problem.


Current Colorado cyclocross field sizes:
Cat 5: ~50
Cat 4: ~40
Cat 3: ~20
Pro/Cat1/Cat2: ~15

I think this change will shift the distribution to more of a bell curve with the Cat 3 and Cat 4 field sizes becoming about equal and the cat 5 field sizes decreasing slightly. I don’t think it will impact the Pro/Cat1/Cat2 that much since the majority of points earners in the Cat 3 fields are juniors (who don’t have to upgrade beyond Cat3).

It will force more Masters Cat3 into pro field, which will probably flatten out the Masters categories, where previously Cat3 Master was the largest.

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In the same area, Pan, and completely agree!

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