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Just wondering when I should make the jump.  
Don't know if I'd race 3 or Masters.  I'll be 45 next year so 45+ would be an option.
However, I know some local former pros that are in that field and it's crazy fast. 
Then again so aren't the 3s.  I finished consistantly in the top third with the seasons highlights being an 11th and a 1st at a small local event.  Part of me thinks  this is my second season racing cross and I should move up. The other wants to wait until I consistantly hit top fives.  (One side note, the 11th and 1st came right after I got a real Cx rig which was the end of this season; the other races were on an mtb). 

Funny thing is, I asked a racer that I've been chasing around most of the season if he'd be moving up to three next year.  (I figured it was a given, seeing how he usually beat me) he looked at me like I was nuts.  I do understand his point; that it's more fun to be able to be competitive in the race as opposed to pack fill or getting lapped.  But, still....

Thoughts??

M

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i think now that the season is over and you raced the one category the whole time, it's a good time to move up. but with your best result being an 11th at a major race, someone shouldn't call you a bagger just for staying down. but don't let the top guy keep you down - if everyone takes that philosophy nobody would ever upgrade. you'll learn a lot more and find another guy to battle with in the next category. just reduce your expectations from a formal podium to your own mental one. if you don't move up, you can always user a few podiums or a win as your guide and then move up mid-season, right? is there a series title for 4s? I hope not - i never thought those made any sense. the other thing is whether next year you'll have more time to train? or the same but smarter? it's always a shame to me when guys upgrade quickly, then life catches up and they can't compete so they just drop out of the sport. it's really about fun and participation and there's no shame in dropping down either. now if it's dropping down just to get the ego-boost of a podium, that's another story.

take that fwiw from a guy who attempted to race the masters A race yesterday on three hours of sleep and only lasted a lap and a half a lap before flatting, then zip tied his levers and jumped in singlespeed b's just to get a full race in. in any given year I usually race something like four different categories. there's so much overlap between them it's crazy.



it's been said many times
You should upgrade.

I'm in the middle of my first season racing, by the time I hang it up for the winter I'll have done about 7 races. I'll probably race 4's through the end of the 2011 (our season runs into February). If I don't upgrade during 2011, I will when I renew for 2012, no matter where I've been finishing. Here's why:

15 extra minutes of racing.

In my limited experience I've noticed that the biggest difference in the 3's and 4's race is that extra 15 minutes of racing. There are SOME guys in the 3's who are much faster, but it doesn't seem like a leap of light years rather than a progression. I bet you'll be finishing in about the same positions you have been in the 4's race in no time, you'll just do it after racing for 15 more minutes. Isn't that what most of us are after? The fun of racing? 30% more racing sounds awesome to me no matter where I finish.

I raced 4's at 'Bama 'Cross 2 weeks ago, and at the start I was astonished to see some of the guys who were racing 4's. I didn't conduct any interviews, but it was pretty clear that these were experienced guys who needed to be in the 1,2,3 race, but were sandbagging. For a new rider like me that's really a drag, I'm sure that I'll upgrade before most of those guys do. They should have been embarrassed; I was when I lined up for a beginner's race a few weeks ago. My first race was the 4's race at Louisville USGP. I got my clock cleaned there and decided to take a step back and try a beginner's race. I was ashamed as soon as I lined up. I simply had no business there and I made it less fun for everyone who did.

I'm also sure that right now there are TONS of 4's like you who are thinking the same thing. All of you will get faster, and as a result few will change the kind of results they're getting. So the category gets faster and faster, more guys say "I'll upgrade when I get some better results." and none of them do.

This is lame.

It's like someone who wants to play music saying: "I'll start working on playing in a group just as soon as I perfect playing by myself."

If you want to get faster, race faster guys in longer races.

IMHO

From Chris Plummer:
http://cowbell.cxmagazine.com/forum/topics/hey-turkeys-cat-up
well said! group think is hard to avoid but you can inspire others.
DECEMBER IS CYCLOCROSS CATEGORY UPGRADE AWARENESS MONTH

BUILD HUGE QUADS

GET PISSED

RIDE FAST

CAT UP
How many races have you done? Are you willing to link to your crossresults.com page?
I was talking to the OP, not you.

Missed your reply earlier...Sure I don't mind.  

One point of mention (and this is what has me questioning if I should upgrade).

I was racing on a converted mtb (full rigid W/ drop bars) until the last three races. 

Part of me wanted to compete in a few more races with out this handicap.

 

http://www.crossresults.com/?n=racers&sn=r&rID=36547

Yeah, this video is amazing:

If you're thinking about it, it's time to upgrade. Consider doubling up and racing both 3's and Masters, life's short, and so are cross races.
After I watched this a few weeks ago, the very next day Myerson tweeted for racers to "HTFU". I laughed and felt like I was just given the secret handshake to get into the club.
I see both sides of the story and I am looking at the same question right now, I am top half masters 3/4, so I am not sure that there is a reason not to CAT up, but after seeing the video I need to stop laughing long enough to figure it all out, good points made, but also shows the lack of some people's thinking... it is about having fun and putting yourself in the best place to learn and have fun!!!! we only live on this big sphere once, so have fun with whatever you do... and doubling up a few weekends is a great test of fitness and insanity

BUILD HUGE QUADS, GET PISSED, RIDE FAST, CAT UP, and HAVE FUN... HTFU, and WWMD... :)
i agree...i did two double up weekends IN A ROW...and it turned out to be a blast more than just one race (it's the travel that sux!). but just like lactate build-up, the muscle memory of mileage and pain just extends with each turn of the pedal :)

have fun and attack and blow up and have a beer (since there seem to be no handups in the mid-atlantic...)!

If you want to get faster, race faster guys in longer races.

 

Well said.

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