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May 2-8, 2007

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Cat's Hill Classic

Ambiturners only: The only left turn in the Cat's Hill Classic course leads riders up dreaded Nicholson Avenue—the Cat's Hill itself.

Los Gatos' Amazing Race

By Felipe Buitrago

IN THE true spirit of the Wide World of Sports, the history of victory and the agony of the defeat come back to life virtually all day Saturday, May 5, at the Los Gatos Cat's Hill Classic bicycle race. This time it's not Howard Cosell, but Barry Gordon, president of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, who tells the tales of "no guts, no glory." And it couldn't be truer than racing through the back roads of Los Gatos—where it would make more sense to ride a full suspension mountain bike, racers brave the streets on stiff carbon fiber frames and skinny wheels that are less than an inch wide. The race is home to roads like the infamous Nicholson Avenue, where Olympic cyclist "Fast" Freddy Markham, who also held the land record at the time, paid his dues when climbing up the steep 23 percent incline and had his chain come off. Boldly, he made a U-turn, went downhill against traffic, reset the chain and then made another U-turn to go back uphill, and still managed to finish in second place. But not all of the 30 years of the race are as pleasant; these roads have been known to swallow up bike wheels. One competitor in particular got caught in the cracks on the Bachman Avenue straight away, where speeds have been known to reach up to 54 miles an hour. The bike came to and utter and complete stand-still, and was lodged in place until the race ended—but the rider didn't. He continued, bikeless, for quite an impressive distance. Make a trip out to Los Gatos this weekend, and be witnesses not only to an amazing race, but also to nice chunk of history in the making.

The Cat's Hill Classic happens Saturday, May 5. The first race starts at 9:30am with last-minute registration on-site. Location: Corner of Tait and Nicholson, Los Gatos. For more information visit

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