Cyclocross is all about tradition. In the Midwest (where former pros have no problem racing and winning on the road as Cat 5s) sandbagging is the greatest tradition. Who am I to stand in the way of tradition?
4-3: Experience in 10 qualifying races or 10 points in 12 months
3-2: 10 points in 12 months (two wins is an automatic upgrade if the field had at least 11 competitors)
2-1: 20 points in 12 months (two wins is an automatic upgrade if the field had at least 40 competitors)
I've seen the standard of racing improve noticeably where the local associations were strict about upgrading. Cat 3 races were much more competitive, Cat 4s were much more likely to upgrade sooner because they felt less likely to be out of their depth. Cat 1/2 races had bigger and better fields.
Exceeding the minimum points or experience requirements entitles you to upgrade - it's optional, you're not forced to.
Hitting the wins requirements compels you to upgrade.
Plenty of Cat 3s out there who have two wins. That means you must upgrade.
Plenty of Cat 3s with 20+ points. That means you're well able for the Cat 2s - why not upgrade?
Automatic does not mean optional. It does not mean waiting for the end of the season, or States or Regionals.
It'd be nice if USA cycling put a points limit in the upgrade requirements, ala the road rules. As it is, you can accumulate points forever. Making the points go a little deeper would be good. Very hard to accumulate points if they're being taken by those who have no intention of using them. It'd also be nice if the local upgrade coordinator scanned the results every now and then and acted accordingly. But that's not his responsibility, it's the rider's.
btw, upgrade coordinators have a lot of latitude. They can refuse an upgrade if they wish, they can force an upgrade if they wish. An automatic upgrade can always be refused if the coordinator has a good reason. Safety, and integrity of the racing are always priority.
4-3: 20 points in any 12-month period; or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 riders or more, or 20 pack finishes with fields over 50. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade.
3-2: 25 points in any 12-month period
40 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
2-1: 30 points in any 12-month period**
50 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade
The rules are clearer.
Again, automatic does not just mean that your application, should you choose to submit it, will be automatically approved. It means that failing to submit an upgrade application when you have met the automatic upgrade requirements makes you a sandbagger. In other words - a true Midwesterner.
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