Categories & Upgrades FAQ

Questions

*Clicking on question will take you to the answer found below.

  1. What is my UCI Category?
  2. How is my age determined?
  3. Can I have an early upgrade?
  4. I am 30 or older. Should I choose Master or Elite?
  5. Can I switch between Master and Elite part way through the season?
  6. I am a new road rider with a UCI license. What is this “New Rider Experience Card?”
  7. What is my Road category and how do I upgrade?
  8. I am a Category 2 Road Rider. Can I have a Category 1 road license?
  9. I am a Master rider. A race I’d like to enter is holding both my ability category and a master’s category. Which can I enter?
  10. What is my XC category and how do I upgrade?
  11. What is my DH category and how do I upgrade?
  12. What is my BMX category and how do I upgrade?
  13. What is my Cyclo-cross category and how do I upgrade?
  14. What is my Track category and how do I upgrade?
  15. Can I have a temporary upgrade for Road?
  16. Are upgrade points awarded for Time Trials and Stage Race General Classifications?
  17. Why haven’t my upgrade points for a recent race been included in the points list yet?

Answers

1. What is my UCI Category?

UCI categories are age categories. The UCI category that appears on your license is determined as follows:

 Age  UCI Category
 Riders 16 and under Youth
 Riders 17 and 18 Junior
 Riders 19 to 22 Under 23
 Riders 23+ Elite
 Riders 30 and older who elect that status* Master

*Note: This means that when you are 30 or older, you can decide each year when you take out your license whether to have a UCI category of Elite or Master. The best advice is to pick the category that you would prefer to enter if you were to attend national championships.

Your UCI category applies to all disciplines in which you participate. For example, if you are a Master for Road, you must also be a Master for Mountain Bike, Track, and Cyclo-cross.

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2. How is my age determined?

For most Cycling disciplines, your age is calculated by subtracting the current year from the year you were born. For example, if you were born in 1975 and the current year is 2011, then you are considered to be 36 years old for the entire 2011 season, regardless of when your birthday is. Put another way, it is your age as of December 31 of the current year. The only exception is Cyclo-cross. Because the Cyclo-cross season spans the calendar year (starts in the fall and ends in mid-winter), everyone is 1 year older for Cyclo-cross. So someone who is 29 for the purposes of all other disciplines, is 30 for Cyclo-cross.

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3. Can I have an early upgrade to a higher ability category?

Generally, no. However, there are exceptions. To learn more and see if you qualify, click here to download the upgrade procedure and application form. After filling out the early upgrade form please return it to membership@cyclingbc.net

Note: All early upgrade requests are subject to a non-refundable $10 application fee, which must accompany your application.

4. I am 30 or older. Should I choose Master or Elite?

You should choose the category that you would most likely enter at National Championships, if you were to enter it. So if you would enter a National Championship event as a Master rider, you should choose a UCI category of Master.

5. Can I switch between Master and Elite part way through the season?

No; your choice once made, can only be changed the following year when you renew your license. Choose carefully!

6. I am a new road rider with a UCI license. What is this “New Rider Experience Card?”

If you have no road racing experience (regardless of any racing experience gained in Mountain Bike or as a Triathlete) and you have purchased a UCI racing license, then you are also given a “New Rider Experience Card” along with a photocopy of your UCI license card. You are limited to entering the Citizen category at Provincial races (or any category at all at club / local races) until you have 5 signatures  on the card. Accepted signatures are: Race Organizer or a Commissaire.

You get one signature for each race or learn-to-race clinic that you participate in. Once you have all 5 signatures, send your completed New Rider Experience Card back to the Cycling BC office; once received, we will issue you your UCI license in Road Category 4. At this point, you will be eligible to enter Category 4 at all road events (or your age category if it is an age category race).

This measure is being taken to ensure that new road riders have a chance to learn group riding and racing skills before taking part in a more serious road event where the risk of injury to themselves and others caused by inexperienced riders is greatest. Note: Riders who race for 1 season with a citizen license before upgrading to a UCI License do not need to complete a New Rider Experience Card. They are placed directly into Cat 4.

7. What is my Road category and how do I upgrade?

In BC, there are 5 different ability category  (cat) levels for male and female road riders. Most races offer all of these categories, though some may be combined together for the purposes of racing.

  • Cat. 1: Professional riders, who are members of National, Continental, or Professional teams
  • Cat. 2: Highly skilled amateur riders
  • Cat. 3: Intermediate level amateur riders
  • Cat. 4: Novice level amateur riders
  • New Rider Experience Card: Riders new to the sport

Note: Citizen License holders do not have an ability category, and therefore can’t upgrade, as they either race in a Novice category a Provincial and Regional races. Riders must upgrade from Cat 4 to Cat 3, and Cat 3 to Cat 2  when they meet the criteria below:

Upgrade Criteria: Either 2 victories, or 1 victory and 4 top-five results

Note: If categories are combined for the purposes of racing, then upgrade points are awarded to the combined category. The categories are not split apart for the purpose of assigning upgrade points.

8. I am a Category 2 Road Rider. Can I have a Category 1 road license?

You can be upgraded to a Cat 1 license for road under the following conditions:

  • You have a UCI category of Elite or Under 23

AND

  • You are a member of a National Team, Continental Team, Professional Continental Team, or Pro-tour Team

OR

  • You are a member of a Provincial Team registered in BC, and you need the Cat 1 designation to race in the United States

9. I am a Master rider. A race I’d like to enter is holding both my ability category and a Master’s category. Which can I enter?

You can enter either category (whichever one you would like) but not both. If you choose to enter the master’s category, you won’t be eligible to receive upgrade points.

10. What is my XC category and how do I upgrade?

If you hold a UCI International License, your XC ability category could be one of the following depending upon your age:

  • Novice: Riders new to the sport
  • Sport: Intermediate level riders
  • Expert: Skilled amateur riders
  • Pro-Elite: Professional level riders, who also have a UCI category of Under 23 or Elite

Riders with UCI licenses may self declare their ability category when applying for their license, except for riders who wish to upgrade to Pro-Elite. Pro-Elite riders have either earned 20 upgrade points in the Senior Expert category, or have on at least 1 occasion, finished an Olympic format XC race with an average speed that would have put them in the top 25% of the Pro-Elite field in the same race. Riders with Citizen Licenses do not have an ability category as they must always race in the Citizen category.

11. What is my DH category and how do I upgrade?

If you hold a UCI International License, your DH ability category could be one of the following depending upon your age:

  • Novice: Riders new to the sport
  • Sport: Intermediate level riders
  • Expert: Skilled amateur riders
  • Pro-Elite: Professional level riders, who also have a UCI category of Under 23 or Elite

Riders with UCI licenses may self declare their ability category when applying for their license, except for riders who wish to upgrade to Pro-Elite. Male riders in the Under 17 (ages 15 and 16) and Junior (ages 17 and 18) age groups may self select between Novice, Sport, and Expert for 2011. In 2012, an upgrade points scheme will be established for these categories as they are currently heavily entered.

Note: Male U17 Sport, U17 Expert, Junior Sport, and Junior Expert categories will be held at provincial and BC Cup races in 2011. Pro-Elite riders have either earned 20 upgrade points in the Senior Expert category, or have on at least 1 occasion, finished a DH race with a race time that would have put them in the top 25% of the Pro-Elite field in the same race. Riders with Citizen Licenses do not have an ability category as they must always race in the Citizen category.

12. What is my BMX category and how do I upgrade?

Riders with BMX licenses can have ability categories for the 20” class as follows: Males:

  • Novice: Riders new to the sport; they have less than 8 race wins. One of the “Challenge” categories.
  • Intermediate: Riders with some experience; these riders have less than 25 wins as an intermediate. One of the “Challenge” categories.
  • Expert: Highly skilled amateur riders. One of the “Challenge” categories.
  • Junior: One of the two “Championship” categories. Riders aged 17 or 18 who elect this status. Sometimes called “pro” riders or money class riders, as these categories can win prize money.
  • Elite: One of the two “Championship” categories. Riders 19 and older who elect this status. Sometimes called “pro” riders or money class riders, as these categories can win prize money.
  • Master: Riders 19 and older who elect this status.

Females:

  • Novice: Riders new to the sport; they have less than 25 race wins. One of the “Challenge” categories.
  • Expert: Highly skilled amateur riders. One of the “Challenge” categories.
  • Junior: One of the two “Championship” categories. Riders aged 17 or 18 who elect this status.
  • Elite: One of the two “Championship” categories. Riders 19 and older who elect this status.

Within the 20” bicycle class, categories are determined first by the rider’s age group, and then by their ability category as described above. Riders must upgrade when they earn the number of race wins described in the lists above. For the Cruiser bicycle class, there are no ability categories. Riders only race in their age categories. Riders who are Junior or Elite for 20” are also Junior or Elite for Cruiser.

13. What is my Cyclo-cross category and how do I upgrade?

Your Cyclo-cross ability category (cat) is one of the following:

  • Cat. 1: Professional riders, who are members of National, International Cyclo-cross teams
  • Cat. 2: Highly skilled amateur riders
  • Cat. 3: Intermediate level amateur riders
  • Cat. 4: Novice level amateur riders

Riders may choose their ability category when applying for their license, and can choose to upgrade to the next highest ability level part way through the season. However, they can’t downgrade in the same season once they have upgraded. Upgrade points are maintained for category 3 and 4 male riders; they must upgrade once they have earned 20 upgrade points. Upgrade points are not maintained for female riders, as all female categories race together in the same bunch. Riders with Citizen Licenses may only race in a citizen category at provincial and regional level races.

14. What is my track category and how do I upgrade?

Your track ability category (Cat) is one of the following:

  • Cat. 1: Professional riders, who are members of national, international Track teams
  • Cat. 2: Highly skilled amateur riders
  • Cat. 3: Intermediate level amateur riders
  • Cat. 4: Better novice level amateur riders
  • Cat. 5: Novice level amateur riders

Riders may choose their ability category when applying for their license, and can choose to upgrade to the next highest ability level part way through the season. These numeric track categories tend only to be used as a guideline, as local track races typical instead hold ‘A’ (highly skilled riders), ‘B’ (intermediate riders), and ‘C’ (novice riders) categories.

15. Can I have a temporary upgrade for Road?

No. All Road ability category upgrades are permanent. You may only upgrade if you earn 20 upgrade points, or if you qualify for an early upgrade using the procedure described above.


16. Are upgrade points awarded for Time Trials and Stage Race GC’s?

No. Road upgrade points are only given for mass start races – so criteriums and road races.


17. Why haven’t my upgrade points for a recent race been included in the points list yet?

Upgrade points are updated 2 to 3 times each month. Also, organizers must submit race results to Cycling BC within 7 days of the race in question in the correct format in order for points to be awarded. Points are not awarded should results not be received in the correct format and within the required time frame. Should this happen, and the results can be verified on the internet, you can choose to claim your missing upgrade points by e-mailing info(at)cyclingbc.net

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