Sunday, February 3

licensing, categories, and teams

For anyone that says I only care about the sport of cycling, I'd like to mention that I did, indeed, watch Puppy Bowl IV today, and it was amazing. I thought that the kitty half-time show was too much glitz and not enough schlitz, but that's just my opinion. Oh, and I think someone mentioned that there was something else going on too... Oh right, the cyclo-cross world championships; I almost forgot.

But seriously, it's been an exciting week. I got a call from Joe Reagan from NorEast Cycling, he sent me my team kit, consisting of a full uniform and team membership benefits, so I'm officially on the team roster now. My USCF license came in at the same time, too. A few months ago, I wasn't actually sure how all this stuff even worked, but I'll try to explain it for you concisely, since it's a little confusing at first.

Basically, the two main issues at point are getting a license and joining a team. Licensing is handled by USA Cycling (USAC). USAC oversees all domestic competitive cycling, from BMX to mountain to track and road (USCF), and they also hold the National Championships and tryouts for the Olympic team. They issue the licenses, set each rider's category, and set the rules for the races. There are five categories of riders, with entry-level riders being Category 5, and more experienced and skilled riders progressively up to Category 1. Professional racing is overseen by the International Cycling Union (UCI). There are requirements to upgrade a license to a higher category, based on race experience and ability. You can only participate in races of your category, of course. Races may also be divided in to Junior/Elite/Masters which are age classifications.
As for joining a team, that's about having people to go on group rides with, organize events, do group benefit rides such as the Tour de Cure, talk shop, etc. While there are some amateur teams that are entirely focused on racing, NorEast Cycling is more of a racing club, and I think I'll be able to glean a lot of knowledge from the more experienced racers.

But Seriously, those puppies were cute.

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