I think if you're having fun, and you've gotten the official CX bike, you should cat up.
It might require you to work a little harder, and dig a little deeper, but when push comes to shove, you'll learn more from that 3 race.
Plus, you don't have to start at 8:00am any more. Which is a real bonus, especially if you're car pooling (I'm talking to you MIC).
There's a better sense of accomplishment, for me, to line up with faster guys and feel like you deserve to be there, than to line up in the 4 race.
You rode your season there, now make the jump.
Longer races, better competition (at the front and the back of the race), series tracking.
And I would do it at the start of season, so if you do well, you'll track points in the correct category and not sacrifice a decent starting position.
And hell, if it goes awful, and you never finish on the lead lap, and you train your face off and it doesn't work out, downgrade.
If you're 45, I'd recommend the masters race, not because of age, but I think you'll be able to learn more, faster, from that group of guys. Also, on whole, they can be more approachable. Maybe.
Cat up, have fun, ride your bike.
Can you cat up mid-season? I've been finishing in top half in either cat 4 or cat 3/4 and will have done 8 races so far this year. I see that it takes 10 races to cat up, if I do 2 early races next season, could I cat up after that? I'd like to do cat 3 to push myself, maybe have a smaller crowd and later start times. Thanks.
I just cat'ed up to 3 yesterday. None of my results have been stellar, but I have my 10 races in and wanted to get a couple of 3 races in before next season. I'm a little nervous, but then again, we do this for fun, right?
Nicely done, Sir!
I'm with you - just did my first season of 'cross racing. No podiums, especially when I showed up for a OVCX race - man, what qualifies for a Cat 4 there amazes me - but even missing a race, I ended up 6th for the season, and a 5th being my top finish for the year.
Also, I started racing both Cat 4 (C) and Cat 3 Masters (B) for about half of the races this year. I have found that I am slow on the starts but as the race goes on, I can catch and pass more people. More diesel, less drag-racer I guess. So next year I'll be lining up with the Cat 3 Masters (and maybe the singlespeeds). Besides it gives me a chance to follow some guys and see where I'm getting gapped.
Cat up. Don't be a sandbagger. The whole point of competition is competition. If you are good enough to win, you are too good for your current category.
Moving from 4 to 3 will mean you are back to top 1/3 of the riders. And while you won't be winning every weekend, you'll be a cat-3 rider. Much more bragging rights than being a cat-4.
Make the move.