USA Cycling sets the specifications for rider category upgrades. Authority for approving upgrades is given to Local Associations, such as the Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association. TBRA delegates the responsibility to the state’s senior official. Below is a brief overview of the requirements.

Not sure if you need an upgrade?

It's time for an upgrade if...

  • You are a category 5 and have raced in 10 races
  • You are a category 4 and consistently in the top ten places
  • You are a category 3 and consistently in the top six places

Go to the USA Cycling website and click on "My USA Cycling.” Create an online account page for yourself if you have not already done so. Near the bottom of the page are buttons for "upgrade/downgrade" for the various disciplines. Click on the appropriate button; indicate the category you are requesting, and include a resume of pertinent experience and/or results. This request is automatically forwarded to Tennessee’s senior official for review.

Upgrade Requirements

Want to know if you qualify for an upgrade? Upgrade criteria is spelled out in the USA Cycling Rulebook.

How does one receive an upgrade?

Most upgrades are done at the request of the rider in question. Riders are expected to compile a resume of their experience and results and to submit this when requesting an upgrade.

Automatic Upgrades

At present, there is no system in place to carry out the “automatic upgrades” referred to in the rulebook. A rider who appears to have reached the “automatic upgrade” threshold referred to in the Rules can expect to be contacted regarding an upgrade. Involuntary upgrades are rare, but not unheard of.

Race Resume

You should keep a race resume to assist you in applying for upgrades. The following table is an example of the information that will be required of you:

Date Race Type Field Size Place
5/13/2007 Muskego Park Road Race 36 5th

You do not need to have the exact field size; approximations will do. You may simply specify that the field size was greater than that required.

How to request an upgrade

  • Go to the “My Account” page at www.usacycling.org and log in
  • At the bottom of the page, click the button for “Upgrade/Downgrade”
  • Indicate the category you are requesting
  • Type or “cut and paste” your race resume into the space provided
  • The request will be automatically forwarded to the person responsible for action.

You will receive an email to confirm or deny the upgrade.

Proof of upgrade

You may request that your license be reissued. There is a $15 fee for this. Alternatively, you may obtain a sticker from Tennessee’s senior official Vicki Mackzum to put on your license.

You may also print an “Authorization to Ride” form from your USAC account page which will show your new category.

  • Follow the “View Order History” link just above your name.
  • On the next page look for the order date that corresponds with your upgrade request and click the blue “View Order” link.
  • At the top of the next page you will find the link to “Print Authorization to Ride.” You will need the Authorization to show proof of upgrade at registration until your sticker or new card arrives.


Riders may request to be downgraded in category. This is a fairly rare occurrence, and is most common in the case of a rider who has not raced in several years. This should be considered a relatively permanent step. A rider, however, who downgrades and then consistently wins in the new category can expect the downgrade to be rescinded. (Adapted from WCA text)