The setup is similar in track racing. Riders start in Cat 5 and can upgrade to Cat. 4 by either completing a Velodrome Class or competing in four race days.
After that, performance plays a part. To go from Cat. 4 to Cat. 3 requires five race days and 20 points. Cat. 3 to Cat. 2 requires five race days and 25 points. And Cat. 2 to Cat. 1 requires 5 race days and 30 points.
Upgrade points are based on an omnium of a qualifying event's races, and the overall winner gets 5 points, followed by 3 points for second place, 2 points for third place and 1 point for fourth place.
For national championship events, the point breakdown is 7-5-3-2-1 for each event.
Cyclocross category upgrades are pretty similar to road races. All riders start at Cat. 4 and can upgrade to Cat. 3 by competing in 10 qualifying races, or by compiling 10 points in a 12-month period.
To go from Cat. 3 to Cat. 2 requires 10 points in 12 months, and going from Cat. 2 to Cat. 1 requires 20 points in 12 months. The point system is based on the number of starters in a race. The complete chart can be found in the USA Cycling Rule Book.
Mountain bikers start in Cat. 3 and may move to Cat. 2 as quickly as they wish to. However, they must move to Cat. 2 if they place in the top five in five qualifying races.
Cat. 2 riders may move up to Cat. 1 if they compile two top-5 finishes and present an upgrade request and resume to USA Cycling. They are required to move to Cat. 1 if they place in the top 5 in five races.
All category details for all types of races can be found in the "General Regulations" section of the USA Cycling Rule Book.
READ THIS NEXT: Bike Racing Basics