Los Gatos pros to hometown race

This Saturday's Testarossa Vineyards Cat's Hill Classic Criterium in Los Gatos California will...

This Saturday's Testarossa Vineyards Cat's Hill Classic Criterium in Los Gatos California will include an unusual homecoming - pro riders Matt Dubberley , Jackson Stewart (Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada), and Zach Walker (McGuire-Langdale) all spent their high school days in the area, rode together as members of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club and all three graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1998.

The three met at the Sea Otter festival. "I was already racing when I moved to Los Gatos during our sophomore year in high school," said Stewart. "I met Zach at a mountain bike race where he was watching and that year we went to do Sea Otter but Matt showed up and just smoked everyone!"

After that, the three riders began training together and racing on the Northern California road and mountain bike circuits. Since Dubberley and Stewart lived up in the mountains and didn't have cars, Walker's house ­ located in town at the top of the Cat's Hill racecourse's namesake climb ­ became the group's after-school training base.

Walker takes up the story. "I've lived in that house my whole life and I've only missed watching Cat's Hill once or twice. When I was a kid, I'd see all the big teams getting ready to race there and I thought it was the only bike race they did all year."

Dubberley, who broke his collarbone training in April and may not start Saturday as a results, added, "I hope to race at Cat's Hill but it will have to be a game-time decision. But even if I can't start, I'll be watching from Zach's house and pulling for him and Jackson to have good rides."

More than 700 amateur and professional cyclists of all ages and abilities are expected to compete in the Testarossa Vineyards Cat's Hill Classic Criterium, known for the incredibly steep 23 percent grade of its namesake climb.

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