What are Categories?
Categories are used to separate racers into appropriate groupings so that everyone is racing against folks who are approximately the same skill and fitness level. This keeps the races more competitive and more fun! If you are new to cyclocross you will automatically be placed in the Category 5 race. From there you may move to more advanced categories in one of two ways. You may upgrade your category voluntarily by submitting a petition to USA Cycling. Or, you may be automatically upgraded based on the number of points that you have accumulated on your USA Cycling account. Category upgrades are handled by USA Cycling so make sure you are familiar with their rules and regulations.
USA Cycling points are NOT the same as GA CX Series points.
What Category Should you race?
Standard Category racers will be given both GA CX Series points and USA Cycling Category upgrade points. Except for single speed racers who will not be given USA Cycling Category upgrade points.
- Category 5 | This is the beginner category for women and men. The genders are scored separately but race at the same time.
- Category 4 | Men and women in Category 4 will race together but are scored separately. This race is comparable to a road cycling Category 3 race or a MTB Category 2.
- Master's 35+ Categories 4-5 | This is a beginner "senior" category that is intended to be less competitive than the standard Category 4 and Category 5 races. You may only race in this category if you are categorized by USA Cycling as a 5 or 4 AND you are older than 35. Sandbagging will not be tolerated.
- Category 3 | The Category 3 men and women will race at the same time as the Category 1 and 2 men and women (respectively) but are scored separately. This race is very competitive since it is run at the same time as the highest level of racers. Folks may prefer to remain in Category 3 if they think they are in the running to win the overall Category 3 Series with GA CX Series points. However, the Category 1 and 2 racers get cash prizes rather than medals, so Category 3 men and women may find it advantageous to upgrade quickly from Category 3 to 2 in order that they are eligible for prize money.
- Category 1 and 2 | This is the highest level of cyclocross competition and the only one for which cash prizes are given. For each the men's and women's races Categories 1 and 2 fields are combined and not scored separately. The men's and women's Category 1 and 2 racers will be on course at the same time as their respective Category 3 counterparts, but scored separately from the Category 3 field.
- Men and Women's Single Speed | If you have one cog in the back and one cog in the front then this category is for you! No age limits, no separation other than by gender.
Juniors racers will be given GA CX Series points.
- Juniors 10-14 | This race is for boys and girls (scored separately) 10-14 who prefer racing by age group rather than by standard categorization. It is a less competitive environment than the standard category races and is intended to be a fun introduction to cyclocross racing for kids.
- Juniors 15-18 | This race is for boys and girls (scored separately) 15-18 who prefer racing by age group rather than by standard categorization. It is a competitive race where young racers hone their skills before jumping into the standard category races. Often, kids will race in the Junior 15-18 category as well as competing in the standard Category 5 or 4 race later in the day.
Master's races will be awarded GA CX Series points but not USA Cycling Category upgrade points.
- Master's 40+ | This is a race for men over 40 who are used to a competitive environment yet prefer to race other people of the same age.
- Women Master's 40+ | This race is for women over 40 who prefer to race folks in their same age group rather than entering the standard category races.
- Master's 50+ | This race is for men over 50 who prefer to race folks in the 50-60 age group rather than entering the standard categorized races.
- Master's 60+ | This race is for men over 60 who prefer to race by age group rather than by category.