Reports and photos from the 36th Anniversary SugarCRM Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Race held on Saturday, May 2, 2009. Scroll down for photo gallery and as usual, click for larger images.
Shelley Olds Sprints to Win the 36th SugarCRM Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Race
by Stephanie Gutowski
Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Race is renowned as one of the hardest criteriums in the United States due to the brutal climb up “Cat’s Hill” on Nicholson Avenue. Cat’s Hill measures in at a 23% incline. This criterium is unique in that the mile long course winds through residential Los Gatos, CA.
The late afternoon women’s pro 1/2/3 was mainly a contest between Shelley Olds (Proman), Liza Rachetto and Mary Ellen Ash, both with the home team, SugarCRM. Olds was pretty active early on remaining in the front.
“It felt surprisingly good (to race first road race of the season). I was very antsy,” commented Olds, “almost like I had too much caffeine in the beginning. I was going for the primes because I was feeling very energetic. Then I thought maybe I should stop doing that and save some energy but every time I would sit in for awhile, I would recover really well then I would want to go for the next one.”
“The break formed…which was great for me. They would not work with me at all. Liza attacked and I would counter and then she had an amazing sprint at the finish. I looked over my right shoulder and I didn’t see her and then I looked over and saw her right there.”
Second place Rachetto stated, “One of our plans was to race aggressive and to make Shelley have to do some work. So she really couldn’t sit back and just wait for the race to come to a bunch sprint. Shelley is a pretty strong track sprinter so I tried to race smart. I was trying to take what I thought was the fastest line at the finish. I was on the inside and had to break a little bit. I knew my chances would be better if I stepped out sooner. I tried to use my head and my legs today.”
The finish came down to a sprint between Rachetto and Olds.
“I have come second in the race twice now and it was because I did not take the last corner,” stated Olds. “ I am not losing this year and I am taking that last corner first. I had to sprint really hard to win that race.”
2009 SugarCRM Cat’s Hill Bicycle Race – Women 1/2/3 Top 5 Results:
- Shelley Olds (Proman)
- Liza Rachetto (SugarCRM)
- Mary Ellen Ash (SugarCRM)
- Lauren Hecht (Webcor/Alto Velo)
- Starla Teddergreen (SugarCRM)
Jackson Stewart wins 3-way sprint to win the Men’s SugarCRM Cat’s Hill Bicycle Race
As soon the gun went, the riders in the the men’s pro/1/2U23 hit it, attack after attack all day. Chad Gerlach (Amore e Vita-McDonalds) went, Fabrice Dubost (Webcor/Alto Velo) jumped on his wheel, the CalGiant guys chased and counter-attacked and on and on.
“These guys were hitting it all day, Chad was a motor and I knew that I just needed to let him work it out, he was just so strong but I thought I could snap around him even though Chad is a good sprinter.” said eventual winner Jackson Stewart (BMC).
In front of an appreciative hometown crowd, Stewart also closed down a few of the attacks but chose to be selective.
“To be honest, I saw how aggressive he was being and I’m not feeling it, I don’t want to ride with him all day so I tried to mark the right moves and I could tell pretty quick it was going to come down to a sprint just because everything was coming back. I think it was more windy than usual so I sat in a little bit.” continued Stewart.
The field came back together in the final laps and then with two laps to go, violent crash that took down Rob Evans (IAS/RHVilla) and Eric Balfus and Henry Kramer both from the SugarCRM team. The field was neutralized so the medical personal could take care of the fallen and for the next 15 minutes, the field went around and around the course.
The race was re-started with five laps to go on the lap card, speed went up, field was strung and the sprint was on. In a very close finish, Jackson pipped Steve Reaney (CalGiant) and Dubost at the line for the win.
“With the reset, everyone wanted to be there because all of a sudden everyone got a breather and everyone is there, it was just a stupid fight every corner, everywhere, I just took my time, snuck up there, snuck up there and then went and got it.” Stewart concluded with a smile. “It was good.”
2009 SugarCRM Cat’s Hill Bicycle Race – Men pro/1/2 Top 5 Results:
- Jackson Stewart (BMC)
- Steve Reaney (California Giant-Specialized)
- Fabrice Dubost (Webcor/Alto Velo)
- Andres Gil (Delta Velo)
- Chad Gerlach (Amore e Vita-McDonald’s)
Complete results at USA Cycling