USAC upgrade points for mixed category racing

I was looking through the USAC points info:


So there is a local bi-monthly crit series here which has three different races:

  • A Pack (Cat 1-4)
  • B Pack (Cat 3-5/novice)
  • C Pack (Cat 4-5/novice)

I’m wondering how upgrade points work when you have a mixed pack. Is it based on everyone in that pack regardless of what category the people in front of you are? Also, can you get points from two or more different races on the same day? i.e. could I race both the B and C points and theoretically get double the amount of points that day?

Not sure about road, but in cross it’s the field for the race–so, for example, Men’s 60+ 3/4 with a field of 10 starters, 5 cat 3 and 5 cat 4, the top 3 get points regardless of category, and if there’s a Men’s 60+ 1/2/3 as well, you could race both as a Cat 3 and be eligible for upgrade points from both

1 Like

If you are a cat 4 you can race A, B and C (in your example) and score points in all three races. For example if each field has 70+ starters and you win all three you’d receive 33 points.

Unless the promoter states something like “race together score separately” you will race every other category in your race and be scored together. For example 70+ starters and you are a cat4 in the A pack and finish 5th place. You’ll get 7 points no matter if everyone in front of you is a cat 1, 2, 3 or 4.


What they ^ said. Also, and this is probably obvious but I’ll say it anyway, your local series needs to be USAC permitted to count for upgrade points. Not all local series are.


Are you 100% sure on this? USAC website doesn’t clarify. @Jonathan has a blog post that states:

You earn points for your finishing position against everybody in your category or a higher category who starts the race.

Which makes sense to me. If you’re a Cat 2 and you race 70 other people who are Cat 3&4 in this example’s A race it seems like you probably shouldn’t get the full points.

EDIT: I think this is the old policy. New policy seems to only care about number of starters.

1 Like

Yes, this is correct. You only score points against your category or higher.

1 Like

Yes, this is correct. You only score points against your category or higher.

Please point out in the USAC rules where this is outlined.
What I can find is: Chapter 1, Section 1E1 : (C) All Rider Upgrade/Downgrade details for Road, Track, Cyclo-cross and Mountain Bike are found in USA Cycling Policy VIII-Race Category Upgrading/Downgrading.

The Policy Document says “starters”. There is no qualification that those “starters” only include your category or above. Policy VIII: Race Category Upgrading | USA Cycling

I’ll pass on interpreting USAC for you, just speaking from experience.

IIRC, this rule was changed at the same time they got rid of cat 5, introduced Novice, and made Novice → 4 at will. I believe it goes by total starters and not just your category and higher.


From my experience, I think @KorbenDallas is right on here.

It’s generally all about the number of starters in your race. Unless the race promoter specifies that everyone will race together but categories will be scored separately, the only thing you need to worry about is the number of people who start your race and your finishing position at the end.

And as @fidracer mentioned, make sure the series is USAC-sanctioned if you’re hunting upgrade points! Otherwise, they won’t count for an upgrade (but they will help you gain valuable experience for future races!).

It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to the series promoter, though – I’m sure they’d be able to answer all of your questions directly. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I looked thru the old rulebooks. 2018 was the last to list that it’s your cat and above. They switched in 2019 to Policy VIII which removes all mention of the different categories and just number of starters.


In my experience and understanding, this has to be specifically spelled out on the flyer “race together, scored seperately.” I think I’ve only done one race that was delineated this way, so it’s not terribly common. So the normal is just worry about total starters in the race and your finishing position, rather than that to your specific category.

1 Like

And not all local series award points for every race…sometimes it is based on the overall series and not the individual races in it.

I think a big driver of the latest upgrade rules revisions was simplicity.

Under the old system the field size as far as USAC was concerned was your category and above. So if you were a cat 3 racing a 3/4 field of 51, but only 35 of which were cat 3 the upgrade points you could get would be based on your finishing position out of those 51 riders but the points distribution would only be based on there being 35 racers

See why it needed simplification?

I’m not intimately familiar with the current point system since I got my cat 1 under the old one, but I believe it is simply total starters in the field that drives the points distribution

The point system is flawed or at least the way in which USA cycling doesn’t allow you to easily monitor your points. Your current upgrade points should be displayed within the app or website. I’ve never known anyone to be forced to upgrade and we have some lifer cat 3-4’s in our area.

Also, for what it’s worth. I never met the point requirements and was able to upgrade to cat2 by submitting an upgrade request. I submitted one for cat1 and it was denied because I primarily only race masters races now and they only count a few masters races.


That would have been nice for sure. Some things about usac are still in the 70’s.

The single largest change from the previous point system is (IMO) it’s way to liberal. At least to upgrade to cat 2 or cat 1 (USA). Or maybe I’m just used to the old system but, 36 months seems pretty easy to get 30 points for cat 2 and 35 points for cat 1. Maybe this was the intent however? IDK. Just seems sort of easy if you really chase it.

1 Like

Especially if you are a Cat 2 racing against mixed Cat 3 fields.

I chased points for my cat 1 last year and what I found to dispel any doubt is look at USAC hyperlinked results. For example a cat 2/3 race where I finished 2nd in the combined field I won the cat 2’s. The USAC results had separate hyperlinked results for cat 2 and cat 3’s that read “Crit Men Senior Open Cat 2” and “Crit Men Senior Open Cat 3”. Cut and dry. If their is only one hyperlink for say Crit Men Senior Open Cat 1/2/3/4 you are fighting for points against every cat 1, 2, 3 and 4.

This is likely because upgrading to cat 2 is handled locally whereas the 2->1 handled through Colorado

Your local official will manage the lower category upgrades as they see fit. Some are very lenient, some are not. All cat 1 requests go through the same group of people and they generally aren’t going to deviate from the rules

It’s very common to be denied a cat 1 upgrade, but also costs nothing to ask and they’ll tell you how many points you have in their eyes

1 Like