20171108 – A Note on Upgrading
A quick note from our IL USAC upgrade coordinator Steve Feehery.
Upgrades: What you need to know
- All upgrade (and downgrade) requests are made through the USAC website by the rider.
- Start by logging on to the website. After that click on License, click on upgrade / downgrade.
- Find the discipline desired (for instance, cyclocross) click the new category requested.
- You then must make a case as to why you should be approved for the upgrade/downgrade along with cutting and pasting your palmares (i.e. recent results).
- Click on submit, the system then generates an email to the local coordinator who then reviews the request and approves or denies based on the riders resume.
- 2 wins in any one category is an automatic upgrade. That does not mean USAC will automatically do it, but that you have qualified to move up in category. Other considerations for upgrades include experience in other disciplines (road, track, cyclocross or mtb). If you are a rider that is a Cat 3 on the road, you can be upgraded to Cat 4 for cross automatically. Same for a Cat 2 on the road, you can become a Cat 3 for CX.
- There are two important caveats to mandatory upgrades:
- Mandatory upgrades do not apply to juniors.
- When racing in a combined field, field size includes everyone in your category and above. For example, a Cat 4 rider racing in a Cat 4/5 combined field may only count the 4’s in that field when calculating upgrade points, NOT the 5’s. Alternately, a Cat 5 racer who lands on a podium in a combined Cat 4/5 field may count the whole field when assessing upgrade points.
- Some riders have taken it upon themselves to become “upgrade police”. If you come upon a situation where a rider is doing well and might or should be upgraded reach out to your local upgrade coordinator. Please DO NOT take it upon yourself to speak to that rider or try to shame them into upgrading. We’re all adults here, and this is just amateur pedal bike racing for fun, so let’s keep it civil.
Sandbagging is when a rider’s ability has egregiously surpassed the current category (i.e. not age group or single speed) and the rider continues to race in that category. He/she is typically doing very well in that category and does not want to move up. A situation like this should be immediately brought to the upgrade coordinators attention. Note however a rider is not always sandbagging if they win one race, or even two. If at any given race any rider on the front row of staging has a good chance of winning, then none of them are sandbagging. That is just called good competition. This is especially true later in the season as riders start peaking for the state championship. However, if a rider easily wins more than one race by a large time gap, especially at the beginning of the season, and doesn’t voluntarily upgrade, then yes, that is sandbagging.
All upgrade rules are available for review at usacycling.org/usa-cycling-rule-book.htm in the General Regulations section, CX specifically starts on page 22.
Thanks for reading!
Great article Steve. Regarding cross disciple experience as grounds for upgrades, it looks like the rule was changed where a cat 2 road or cat 1 mtb is now equivalent to cat 4 cx instead of cat 3, based on this article here: https://www.usacycling.org/cyclo-cross-category-upgrade-guidelines.htm
Is this a new rule change for the upcoming season or a typo?