Registering for a race is the process of paying your race entry fees and turning in a properly filled out and signed standard liability release form. You can find a copy of the required liability release form at the USA Cycling web site. If you will be racing a lot, you can fill in your name and address information on a release and make several photocopies. Note that a release form is not valid unless it is signed in ink. Photocopied signatures are not acceptable.
You can either pre-register for races or wait until race day to enter. Pre-registering can often save a few dollars, and can avoid hassles of additional paperwork at the event. It can also alert you to races that may already be full (saving you from a wasted trip to a race you won’t be able to enter). Most registration is done through USA Cycling. There are a few other registration sites as well. Simply search for your race through the Schedule > Event List menu option on this site and click on the “Register” link (if available). Races without a “Register” option either have not yet gotten their race permits or only do registration at the event.
For safety reasons all races have field limits. Many races will reach their field limits during the pre-registration period. This means that riders who wait until race day to enter will be put on a waiting list and may not be able to participate in the race. Note that if you pre-register for a race using an online service you will still need to fill out and sign a liability release form and turn it in on race day.
On race day if you have pre-registered for your race all you need to do is check-in at the registration table. You will need your USAC license so the registration people can verify you have a license and you have entered the proper race category. Remember, if you pre-registered online you will also need to turn in a signed liability release form. Once you have checked in at the registration table and the registration person has verified your license then you will be given a race bib number. The registration person should tell you which side of your jersey to pin your number to.
If you haven’t pre-registered then you need to fill out a liability release form at a table near registration. Then you need to go to the registration table and find out if there is still room in your desired race. If there is then you turn in your liability release form, pay your entry fees, show your license and get your race number.
When registering for a race, you can only enter races that match your racing category and age group as listed on your license. If you are a Category (Cat) 5 rider you can only enter races with include “Cat 5″ in their description. This could be Cat 5′s only, or Cat 4/5 (a race combining the Cat 4′s and Cat 5′s) or “Open Race” (open to all category numbers). As a Cat 5, you can not enter a race open only to Cat 4 riders.
If you are 37 years old, you can enter an Elite (Category) race or a race for Masters 30+ or Masters 35+. You can’t enter a junior race or a masters 45+ race. The number after the word “Masters” refers to the minimum age that can enter that race. A Masters 35+ race is open to riders 35 years and older.
Sometimes there are Masters races that are restricted to specific Categories. In this case, you must meet BOTH the age and Category restrictions.