And so ends my 2011 Cyclocross season and my time as a Cat 4 racer.
If you're racing in Cat 4, you should seriously consider upgrading. I should have done it a long time ago and sort of feel bad for not doing so. The Cat 4 races, from what I understand, are for "beginner" racers (If you are a new racer, then your CX category will start as a 4.)
Now, I agree, everyone is going to have a different definition of "beginner," but I certainly don't think winning a race is what determines your time to upgrade. Nor do I think you need to wait to get upgrade points. According to USAC, all you need is "10 qualifying races." If you've been racing or riding for years, if you have a coach, if you have several bikes, if you've been racing 'cross for more than two years, well, I don't think that's a beginner in anyone's book. And again, not that the bike means anything, but seriously... carbon 'cross bikes with carbon tubular wheels in CAT 4? Seriously?
Think about how frustrating it must be for a true newbie to line up behind 50 guys who have been racing cross for several years, only to get lapped and maybe pulled from his first race. That's what I think about when I try to get friends to race 'cross. I think they'd like the sport, and have fun, but if it's guys that I know that I'd beat, I have a hard time convincing them to go, when they learn that I'm getting killed sometimes.
Anyway, I'm off my soap box, for now. I'll post a "race report" later... I think my wife got some good pics of me out there suffering, so check back!