The Cat's Hill Classic is my favorite race on the Nor Cal racing calendar. My first attempt at the race was back in 1989. Cat's Hill was my second USCF race and I had no idea what I was up against. I was a triathlete on a Davidson steal tubed down shifting twelve speed and I dropped my chain on the very first lap. By the time I got my chain on and back to the top of the climb I thought for sure the pack would have caught me. I chased for the rest of the race and caught the leaders on their last lap, where they said something like "where did you come from?" I was first up the climb of our little group and waited for them. I did so because in my first USCF race I did the majority of the work and lost the race. I was bound not to repeat that mistake. Unfortunately, from the top of the climb to the finish there is very little room to pass riders back, so I finished 4th.
The dropped chain, the mis-judged sprint, the 23 degree climb, screaming descent and all of the road in between that allows for tactics to be played out, has given my racing a purpose. I am a much more goal driven athlete since my first experience at Cat's Hill. I've even tried to use my experiences in this event (13 starts, 4 wins, 11 top five) to help teammates (they have won three of my 13 starts) and to help new riders through mentoring and coaching Team Specialized.
Tomorrow will be my 14th start at the in downtown Los Gatos, CA event. I'll be joined by five teammates as we race together in a combined 35+ and 45+ event. Dean, Kevin, Craig, Don, Jason and I will fight to win this event, but it won't be easy. Then again, we're talking about the Cat's Hill Classic and there is nothing easy about this race.
Cheers, Larry Nolan, Team Specialized