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UMB team guidelines for advancing to a more difficult race category

[Draft for discussion purposes] team racers are encouraged to race in a category where they're competitive with other racers in that category. That means a slower racer should enjoy the chance to do well in comparison to his co-racers (not finishing in last place every time), and a strong racer should have a significant chance of being beaten by those against whom he's competing. A UMB racer should strongly consider moving up to a more difficult race category if he or she meets each of the following three criteria:

(1) You are dominating your current category, or are capable of racing within the top 1/2 of the next higher category.
Before moving up, you should have completed enough races that your need to advance to a higher category is obvious. This will vary with the individual rider. If your first Beginner-class race finds you 20 minutes ahead of the 2nd-place finisher, and your lap time would put you in the top 1/3 of the Sport class, one race is enough. Move up. Most riders will need 5 or 6 races to evaluate their status. The following are some objective ways to measure your readiness to move up.
Guideline A, Intermountain Cup rules: "A Beginner rider should advance to Sport and a Sport rider to Expert after placing in the top 5 in 5 races with a field size of 20 or more."
Guideline B, winning margins over current competition: You should move up if, in a category where there are 5 or more racers at each race, you consistently finish 1st or 2nd, with a winning margin of 10% or more over the 3rd-place rider. If you can usually win without giving it your best, it's time to move up.
Guideline C, racing times relative to the higher category: You should move up if, over the course of several races, your time per lap (when multiplied by the number of laps for the next higher category) would consistently put you in the top half of the higher category. If your racing speed says you belong in the higher category, sign up for it.

(2) There is an obvious higher category to which you can -- and would be expected to -- progress.
Obviously, a racer who's consistently blowing away the competition should move to the next category: Beginner to Sport, Sport to Expert. Where there isn't an obvious "next step" to a higher category, racers may continue to compete in their current category despite multiple podium finishes. Examples would be Clydesdale, Men 50-plus. However, racers are encouraged to improve and challenge themselves, and ICup rules allow you to compete in any more difficult category. For example, a highly-successful competitor in Women 35-plus could move to Expert Women. A Clydesdale could move to an age-specific class that requires longer distances, for example Sport 35-39. If you're consistently dominating your category and meet other criteria for advancing, strongly consider selecting a more difficult category, even if it's not the obvious "next step."

(3) Moving up is reasonable, given your abilities and resources, and considering your overall season plan.
Before moving up, you should be sure you're physically capable of doing the longer distance without risk to your health. You should also have the ability (time, resources, dedication) to train for the higher performance level required of the new category. If you're anticipating an event or a change in your life that would impact your race-fitness, for example orthopedic surgery or pregnancy, you would likely be better off NOT moving up. A rider is NOT expected to give up a season championship in order to move up: Toward the end of the season, if you're in contention for your first-ever season championship within your category, but moving up would eliminate your chances of a season podium finish, you could reasonably delay moving up until the next season.