The 44th Cats Hill Classic (Iconic Race – Past winners include (Greg Lemond, Dan Holloway, Ron Kiefel etc…)
Pro 1,2 with Cat 2 scored & prized separately
75 mins 69 Racers
5 Williams Racers (Josh Carlang, Bobby Terra, Sam Hill, Matt Tuffs, & Myself Timmy Bauer)
This was my first ever time racing the Cats Hill classic and it will be a race I never forget!
Mat Tufts, Josh Carling, Sam Hill and I traveled together to the race. Bobby Terra met us at the race. Traffic was brutal as it took us four and a half hours to get to a race that should have taken two hours. We arrived just in time to get a warm up, and get ready for our race. I was very excited and ready to get after it. The team goal was to put Josh in a position to win this famous race. The course is a mile criterium that has a short, steep 25% gradient climb per lap. It’s a hard man’s course and it is awesome.
As we rolled up to the line, Josh & I knew being on the front row would help us not to get caught up in the swarm to the first corner. The start gun went off and I missed my peddle clip in. First time all year! I tried again thought I had it, but didn’t work. I couldn’t believe that by the time I managed to get clipped in I was deep maybe 50th or so. YIKES! This was not good for me at all because I had never even seen the course now I was stuck back deep in the pack.
I stayed calm because I had been here before (San Rafael last year) and learned that panicking gets you know where. The first six or seven laps I rode smart sitting on the climb every time saving energy moving up when I could.
The race started off blazing fast. Once in while I would get glimpse of Bobby & Josh at the front and kept working my way up the field after my horrible start.
After 25 minutes full throttle racing, things slowed a bit. I used this slower pace to get towards the front. I worked my way into the top 20. Josh, Bobby, and I were together. The race was much smoother towards the front because when in the back, every acceleration or deceleration is dramatized by the amount of riders in front of you. Some say it’s like an elastic band and the further back you are the more of a snap there is when the pace changes.
I continued to ride smart and save energy. Josh was looking good and the field was getting smaller every lap. This was a stacked field with the best racers from California. When attacks went on the climb the race got hard real quick. Around 45 minutes in, we were sitting well towards the front and I saw the lap cards, 11 laps to go. I thought to myself “that’s it I got this”. I also knew I could not afford to slide back at this point. With with to go we were in the top 20 spots. Around five laps left I noticed I was racing with mainly Cat 1’s as our Cat 2 numbers were different. Josh was still there and we were riding together. At four laps to go I knew it was time to be top 10 so we moved up a bit and the race continued to get faster and faster.
The laps were counting down and the lead group was getting smaller and smaller. With two laps left Josh and I latched on to the Mikes train and were right up in the front coming to the start finish. We started to get swarmed when I heard Josh yell “we got to go” so I found room and rode hard into the first corner. At that point Matt Chat from Marc pro attacked with Sam Bassetti on his wheel. I was able to respond and bring us up into the top five starting the final climb. Sam Basseti attacked with a massive effort up the climb. Josh responded with the Mikes riders but Bassetti got a nice gap. At the top of the climb I was 9th. Josh was on the 2 time winners wheel, Tobin Ortanblad, with Mikes leading the way. The front hesitated with two corners to go. I made a move to get to the front and help Josh but got squeezed in the comer and had to grab the brakes. From there on it was a full gas sprint. I was still in the lead group of 10 as we hit the last straightaway. I saw Josh launch his sprint so I launched mine. I managed to get back around one rider finishing 9th overall with Josh getting 3rd with a well-timed bike throw. Our lead group separated from the peloton and I was the only Category 2 racers to make it!
It was a huge successes for the team! With Josh on the Pro 1 podium and me on the top step of the Category 2 Podium! It also meant I get a Cats Hill Custom made winners jersey! After the race we had a blast! It was celebration time! It's so fun getting to enjoy these great accomplishments with my teammates and family.
The Williams Racing van hit the road for the drive home. Thanks to the lack off traffic and good times it seemed like a much quicker trip back. Until next time
Thanks for reading and your support!
Josh Carling 3rd P/1/2
Timmy Bauer - 1st Cat 2
Josh and Timmy controlling the front of the race
Congrats to Bob Terra. Bob has upgraded from a Cat 2 to a Cat 1.
Nice article in the Stockton record about our team and local rider Bob Terra (attached)