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Cat's Hill Classic

history of Cat's Hill Criterium:
Peter Tapscott

Peter Tapscott,

20 time Nor Cal/Nevada District Champion,
Cat's Hill Criterium - 1991

Racing in the Cat's Hill race in 1991 was one of the high points of my year. I rode the Masters' race for the Shaw's Garden City team facing the then dominant Los Gatos squad  starring Guy Seymour, Ross Rowley, and Ned Orett. Garden City, led by John Elgart and me, was ready to battle the Los Gatos dominace in Northern California Masters racing. Los Gatos sent Ross, a gifted power rider, off the front to make the rest of us chase while Guy rested in the pack, ready to unleash an unbeatable sprint at the end.
When Ross opened up a gap of a city block, I thought his breakaway was too dangerous to let go up the road, even this early in the race. I jumped as hard as I could to break clear of the peleton, and bridged up solo to Ross. He apologized that he was not the "guy" planned to win this race by his team, but as long as I was there, he might as well ride along. Apparently the Los Gatos team thought better of chasing their team mate's breakaway, and before long we were taking equal pulls and opening the gap on the pack thanks to blocking from both our teams.
Conventional wisdom was that the powerful Ross would ride away on the hill, so I shadowed him up the hill every lap. For the last couple of laps, it seemed to me that Ross was tiring on the Cat's Hill, so on the last lap I waited for Ross to power away, but when that didn't happen, I put every bit of strength into beating him up the hill.
The race announcer yelled "Tapscott just made a huge jump on the hill!" The crowd noise was deafening, and I had all the encouragement needed to maintain the gap past the park. I started catching lapped riders on the fast downhill, and looking back, could not discern which one was Ross, so I just pounded through the finish line with no arms in the air but actually nearly a block ahead of second place. The crowd showed its appreciation on the victory lap.
Quoting Karen Brems (Kurreck), the most successful rider in the history of Cat's Hill (and also World Champ, US Pro Champ, US Olympian) "It is amazing how sprinters turn into climbers on the last lap of the race!" It probably helped that I had dropped about 5 pounds in weight in anticipation of the District Road Race the next week at Fort Ord, but that is another story.

The LG master's team was nearly unbeatable back them. John Elgart, now of Alto Velo, and I knew the riders well. Besides being great bike racers, they were all you could ask for in an opponent: aggressive in the race and open and friendly off the bike.

The next week a break formed in the District RR of Ross Rowley, Ned Orett of Los Gatos, me, and Mark Miller (who quit working in the break and was dropped on the wall, so didn't factor into the end game). Ned, the fastest climber in the district, and I ended up passing the Pro-1-2 lead breakaway on the climb to the finish!

Peter Tapscott

Webcor / Alto Velo

20 time Nor Cal/Nevada District Champion