The 33rd Annual STBikes Cat's Hill Classic

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The legendary Cat's Hill Classic Criterium will be held on May 13, 2006. The short, but brutal, 23% grade climb on the race course is intimidating to both professional and amateur racers.

Something old and something new for 2006 STBikes Cat’s Hill Classic Criterium this year on Saturday, May 13, 2006. This annual cycling criterium in Los Gatos, California, is legendary for the merciless, leg-punishing climb on Nicholson Avenue. The short, but brutal, 23% grade of Cat’s Hill is daunting to elite riders as well as amateurs. How many laps can burning legs and lungs last?

For thirty-two years, contestants have valiantly challenged this formidable and intimidating race course. The Men’s Pro/1/2/Espoir category will race on the demanding one-mile course for an hour and a half, climbing the merciless Cat’s Hill about forty times. The Women’s 1/2/3 category will challenge the Cat’s Hill for an hour of lung-searing laps.

The Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, recently named the number one amateur cycling club in the USA, has presented the Cat's Hill Classic Bicycle Race continuously since 1974. The ST Bikes Cat's Hill Criterium, totally a volunteer project of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, is one of the oldest grass roots cycling races in the US. The list of famous riders participating in this races reads like a Who’s-Who in the history of the cycling world.

Los Gatos cycling fans proudly saw local talent on the podium in 2005. Los Gatos resident Jackson Stewart of Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada won the Men’s Pro/1/2 Espoir, with Zach Walker of McGuire/Langdale Pro Cycling standing in the second spot. Zach Walker lives on the race course, and knows the Cat's Hill hurt very well.

New for 2006 STBikes Cat’s Hill Classic will be cycling action for very young cyclists. With their on-going commitment to promote cycling for Juniors, the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club is adding a Kid’s Race for the 5-9 age group. This is a fun ride with medals for all the kids who enter the 0.2 mile event, which starts at 12.30 pm. Two wheels or three wheels, helmets are required, and parents must sign a liability waiver before the ride begins.

Another new feature this year will encourage folks to ride their bikes to the race. The Cat’s Hill Classic committee has arranged for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to provide free, secure bicycle parking during the event. The SVBC provides secure bike parking for many local events in the South Bay Area.

The Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club has selected the new and local, non-profit Cycle ReCyclery program as the designated charity for 2006. Cycle ReCyclery is a non-profit bicycle repair and donation service founded by Derek Beck, a senior at Bellarmine College Preparatory. Cycle ReCyclery accepts donations of quality bicycles that are in need of reconditioning, restores the bicycles at the Cycle ReCyclery shop in downtown Los Gatos and donates them to local non-profit groups or individuals who qualify based on a needs assessment.

More than 700 amateur and professional riders are expected to compete on the demanding one-mile course that starts at the corner of Tait and Nicholson Avenues in Los Gatos. The route is a clockwise loop that includes the incredibly steep 23% Cat’s Hill climb, plus six brutal 90-degree turns along the race course. Race lengths range from three to forty laps, depending on age and ability classifications.

The STBikes Cat's Hill Classic is held under USA Cycling (USAC) permit and is part of both the prestigious Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Race Series (LAJORS) and the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) Premier Series.

For more information, go to the STBikes Cat’s Hill Classic website http://www.catshill.org.

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Sammarye Lewis
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