We travel to a lot of events and races. Here are some things to know to get you up to speed.
Cycling Disciplines for our juniors:
- Cyclocross can be sanctioned by USA Cycling or OBRA
- Categories begin with “Cat 5” and go up to “Cat 1” and are further divided by age.
- Riders must be a certain category to do Nationals and are ranked by points for start-position
- Points are ranked differently by OBRA, USAC and UCI
- Races are on a short 8 – 10 minute course for 20 – 40 minutes for juniors and 45 – 60 minutes for adults / open
- Riders can change bikes and receive technical support in the pit zones
- Gravel racing is becoming more popular and we have several local events that are appropriate for juniors.
- Courses can vary from easy to very challenging and distances from moderate to very long.
- Can be sanctioned or not; usually on open roads mixed with adults so they’re best for experienced riders with a background in XC / Cyclocross / Road.
- Cross-country has several subdivisions and most events are sanctioned by OBRA or USA Cycling
- Categories begin at “Cat 3” and go up to “Cat 1” or Pro / Elite; and races are further divided by age.
- XCO – “Olympic” is usually multiple laps on a longer circuit for 60 – 120 minutes depending on category. Sometimes there is a pit or feed zone.
- STXC – short track is a very short circuit, mass start event, typically 20 – 40 minutes in length. There is sometimes a pit or feed zone.
- Marathon – events that take 2 – 4 hours or run 30 – 50 miles fall into this category even if they don’t have marathon in the name — most cross-country races in Oregon fall within this range for cat 1/2. Feed zones can be neutral (provided by the race) or team (we provide the support at the location)
- Ultra Endurance – events over 5 hours or 60+ miles fall into this category, these take special preparation for juniors to participate
- Enduro has a range of categories and formats. Usually not sanctioned by OBRA or USA Cycling except for Nationals. The Enduro World Series is the international standard.
- Practice days are usually allowed the day prior to start; but some races are “blind” and courses are kept secret until race day to level the playing field.
- Riders typically use mid to long-travel full suspension bikes, recommended full face helmet & pads but those are not always mandatory
- Stage-race format so racers must finish all stages to continue or be scored.
- Single-day or multi-day events
- Sport / U17 / U21 is usually the category for our racers to start in
- Junior Expert or PRO are options for more advanced and experienced riders at certain events
- Because most races are not sanctioned you can often select your category per race
- Cascadia Dirt Cup is our main series; also California Enduro Series and Big Mountain Enduro Series.
- Downhill races in the PNW are usually not sanctioned.
- Bend’s trails are not great for true downhill racing or training, so we take a more hybrid approach where we focus on those skills where we can but are still on bikes that pedal anywhere.
- NW Cup is the main series and uses a traditional category / qualifying structure
- Mt Bachelor Gravity Series is less structured and easier for beginners to try
- Most modern trail / enduro bikes are OK for these races so a dedicated DH bike is not needed to get started; but riders must wear full protective gear.
- Road racing is a very small small part of what we do with CJC.
- Criteriums or circuit races on closed courses are excellent to build skills, tactics and fitness (PIR, Tabor, local crit series, etc.)
- Time trials sometimes pop up locally and we’ll go participate
- Road races have declined a lot in the PNW and they require specific training so it’s not a focus for our team.
- Stage races or omniums might be secondary goals for some of our XC / Cyclocross riders.
- Other races are great!
- CJC encourages juniors to try other sports from baseball & basketball to alpine & Nordic skiing.
- Work with your coaches to make sure you’re having fun and learning a lot!
OBRA – Oregon Bicycle Racing Association
Our local bike racing organization, they sanction or produce local events and rank riders in several disciplines through various race series competitions with individual & team rankings.
- Become an annual OBRA member if your events require it — road / cx / xc
- OBRA “State Championships” are good events to target
- Sometimes they have junior-specific points competitions or race series
- Use this OBRA Google group to post items for sale or post a “want to buy” message
- Request an upgrade to OBRA before asking USA Cycling. Review their Upgrades page then send an email to to firstname.lastname@example.org and cc email@example.com.
This is our national governing body. They produce National Championships, rank riders in several disciplines, and have several resources for their members.
- Become an annual USAC member if your events require it (Nationals). Technically you’re only allowed a single 1-day license per year.
- Member Well Being Resources for things like mental health, nutrition, concussions, etc.
- USAC points are structured so “lower is better”
- Upgrades are reciprocal so once you get your OBRA category set then request the change to USAC through your account. This can take 1 day to 3 weeks depending on their staffing.
- Each national championship has its own specific qualifications, rankings and call-up procedures. Check their site to learn more.
National interscholastic racing league, now in Oregon, check them out for middle & high school mountain bike racing in the fall.
UCI – Union Cycliste Internationale
- World governing body.
- Riders with a racing age of 17+ may need a UCI waiver or ID to race at USAC Nationals — this is usually free but involves verifying citizenship with paperwork. If you decide to race in another country then you might actually need a true UCI license, which is a larger fee.
- UCI points are awarded in UCI events (category 1 & 2, C1 / C2) structured as “more points is better” and are only available at the highest level races in the USA.
Sea Otter is a huge bicycle festival with an expo and tons of riding opportunities and optional races. We use it as a training camp and season-openers for quality, national-level competition.
Skills & Training Camps are events we attend or host with the goal of building fitness, endurance, knowledge while having fun in a cool riding location.