A couple weeks ago, USA Cycling revised some of its upgrade requirements that will go into effect in 2013. The major changes are:
- Riders no longer need to complete upgrade requirements in a 12-month window. In other words, any points accrued for a category change from 2012 onward will last forever (until the rider gets the upgrade, of course).
- The upgrade to Cat 2 from Cat 3 requires 30 points instead of 25.
- The upgrade to Cat 1 from Cat 2 requires 35 points instead of 30.
The full list of cyclo-cross and road upgrade requirements can be found here.
The major implication I see from these new rules is that those who want to upgrade will have a more manageable path to get to the next category. I imagine that this will result in deeper Cat 3 fields and slightly deeper Cat 1/2 fields. I think this is good for cycling as a whole as it will better distribute the racers amongst the categories.
That being said, I highly doubt this will have any effect on the “top-end” of each category. The mandatory upgrades have the same guidelines as before (i.e. “X points in 12 months results in a mandatory upgrade”) and even still, these guidelines are not strictly enforced, meaning that the top-end of each category will have the same guys (or gals) seeking wins and points towards the regional Best All-Around Rider (BAR). I would rant about how stupid BAR competitions are (excluding Cat 1 and Masters), but I really don’t feel like spending the mental energy and I’m pretty sure most of you agree with me anyway.
Summary: All in all, from these new upgrade requirements, I foresee a better distribution of racers in each category but the quality of competition in each category remaining about the same.