"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Cat's Hill Race Report (23% grade)
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Last weekend was the best race I have been to so far. It was a lot of fun, even if we had a to climb a 23% grade 10 times.
I did a half ironman the Saturday before and I just had nothing left in my legs. Funny, I actually felt fine afer the half, but awful after the crit.
23% is darn steep in a race. Recreationally riding it would be fun, but racing up it is hard.
Cool! How'd you do and which group did you ride in?
It was a wonderful day for spectators like me. I think some of the racers thought it was too warm by the end of the day, though. I led a club ride that day that got to Los Gatos after about 45 miles. I hung around and watched a few of the races but had to leave before the Men's Pro/1/2 race.
I was in the first race (Cat 5). It was warmer that I thought it was going to be. I made it half way through before getting dropped. Considering I felt really awful warming up, I did a lot better than anticipated. 100% sure I will be back next year. It is you spectators that made the race so much fun to do.
Did you see the Womens 4 race? There was a 14yo in it. Not to mention the winner that had a gap of 40 seconds coming into the last lap. She had a huge smile on her face that last half of the race, even during the climb.
I had to leave after the W4 race for an engagment party for a friend. I would have loved to see the pro/1/2 go up the hill. Most of the 3s climbed it in a 39/17.
Almost forgot, http://ricemobile.net/ Go to race reports.
05-15-03, 01:43 PM
23% grade? Is that accurate? What kind of gearing were people using?
Yes, it was 23%. I think that most guys were climbing it in a 39/21 or 39/23. I had not seen the hill before the race and did the race. Then I walked to watch some of the other races and could not believe how steep it was.
Most of the Cat 3 riders climbed it in what appeared to be a 39/17.
Not only was it steep, but it was rough too. In the Sr4 race a guy broke his chain. Each race had at least 3 people come unclipped during the climb.
They had a Juniors 10-14 race that was three laps. I think two or three of the Juniors were pushed up the hill.
SteveE was there, he can attest to the steepness of the hill. Every racer was standing for the climb.
Cat's hill has a website for the race (http://catshill.org). Here are some photos for the day. The first one is the 5s race, the last two are the pro/1/2 race.
05-15-03, 04:00 PM
How long was the 23% grade ? Do you know how steep Fillmore St. is SF is ? that's gotta be right around there... I have a 10%er about a block from my house.. if definitely takes some huffing and puffing to get up to the top.. I haven;t quite made it yet... although I usually try it at the end of my ride so I've nothing left in my legs then
The steep section is only a relatively short block and the grade over the entire block is 18%. Unfortunately for the racers, there is a 90 deg. left-hand turn just at the bottom, so all momentum is lost. At the top of the steep hill it levels out a bit but continues up hill for anther block or so before making a 90 deg. right-hand turn and heading back down hill. Most of the racers who know the course try to make their break at the top of the steep pitch hoping everyone is trying to recover.
It's not that the hill is that long, it's just steep and the circuit is only a mile so pretty soon you're climbing again. After the first 6-7 times the lactic acid just won't go away and folks start falling back.
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