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Cats Hill Classic Criterium - 05.01.10

posted May 3, 2010, 12:06 PM by Tyler Wertenbruch

I had the pleasure of riding the Cat's Hill Crit in LosGatos for the second year in a row. For those not familiar with the race it is a crit unlike any other I am familiar with. The course is very technical with six 90 degree turns and, about mid way through the one mile lap, there is a 100 meter 23% climb. The backside of the hill is very fast down to the final 90 degree turn to the slightly downhill finish. The roads are not smooth and picking a good line is very important. The concrete has gaps all over the place which are not fun if you catch an edge. The race has a rich history. Back in 1978 Greg Lemond won it as a Junior beating National Senior Champion Wayne Stetina. I rode the 35+ 4/5 race with about 55 or so other riders. Because of earlier crashes and delays they reduced our race to 10 laps from 12. The race this year was faster than last in every lap. Right out of the gates a rider rode off the front and we never saw him again. The
tempo of the race stayed high the entire time and about 30% of the rides got dropped and whistled out. I tried to stay near the front as the steep hill punished those at the end of the accordion. 

With two laps to go I made the mistake of easing a little and going from the front of the pack to about 15 riders back. To win or place high at this race you need to be in the top 3 during the last lap or two. The speed and technical level makes it next to impossible to advance any spaces the last lap - the speed is just too high. So, my placing remained the same the last two laps and I rolled in 17th place only a couple seconds difference from second place (first place came in 30 or seconds earlier). The top 25 riders were dominated by just a few local clubs. This race is a must for riders interested in crits. There is just so much going on and so many tactics. 

I uploaded a couple of race videos of the "wall": com/watch? v=-yp4s14pI70 (Nexus colors near the front) com/watch? v=RXxJEP7pHuk