Posted by Editoress on 06/21/06
2006 Squamish Mountain Bike Festival the Best to Date Squamish, BC
Courtesy Paul Demers
By almost every measure, this years Squamish Mountain Bike Festival set a new standard for future events.
With the resurrection of the Teen Test, a refreshed Friday evening program, a new and exciting finish line for the North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal, and the introduction of the motorized trials event before the Rock Star, this year improved upon previous incarnations of the event.
Each year we seem to tweak things and make them better. The various organizers and volunteers just go the little bit extra every time to make the weekend more special, said race director Cliff Miller.
The weekend, in fact, started a week early with the Teen Test of Metal, sponsored by North Shore Credit Union, taking place on June 10. More than 50 riders between the ages of 12 and 17 challenged the gnarly single-track course in Brackendale.
We decided to run this event quite late in the game, Miller said, but Jim Douglas and his group of volunteers did a remarkable job. Everyone who was there complimented him on the organization of the race. Next year, well more than double participation in the Teen Test, Im sure.
The big weekend began on Friday evening with a BMX demo and artisan market outside the branch of title sponsor North Shore credit Union, at Garibaldi Village Mall.
Saturday featured the main event, the 67 kilometre epic North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal, which ranked with the most exciting ever for Squamish residents. Local siblings Neal and Meghan Kindree won the mens and womens pro-elite categories in impressive form.
This is the first time in the long-course format that a Squamish resident has won the pro-elite category, Miller pointed out. To have both categories won by locals, and siblings at that, was really exciting. As weve watched these two develop over the years, we knew that it was one day possible.
The race was also notable for its record 4 hour 19 minute sellout on January 1st, a full six months before the race date. The more than 800 racers attacked the course with enthusiasm and determination, and were impressed with the community involvement.
There were 300 volunteers out doing everything from feeding to directing traffic to registering riders. Theyre really the people who make this event unique, Miller said.
The pace kept up on Sunday with Corsa Cycle sponsored Mini Metal for 4 to 8 year olds. This year more than 150 tykes participated in that always-great event.
Sunday afternoon saw the downhillers hit centre-stage with the Tantalus Bike Shop annual Rock Star Invitational Downhill.
The race began with motorized trials riders demonstrating their skills riding up the slick Valleycliffe granite.
Basically we wanted to show people what we are all about, said trials rider Sean Dickson. Most of these downhill trails in Valleycliffe were developed by trials riders. But we think of ourselves as mountain bikers first, and were trying to educate people about our sport.
The downhill race lived up to its hype of being the most competitive to date with both previous winners, Jason J-Lo Lorenz and Kyle Hercules Ritchie, going head-to-head while other notables, including former Canadian national downhill champ Mike Jones and world cup veteran Shaums March, vied for the title. In the end, Mike Jones won with a time of 2:49, with Shaums March grabbing second and Kyle Ritchie holding onto third.
On the womens side, 16-year-old Miranda Miller took the title from world womens masters champ Pip Parr.
Miller said that scope of the weekend has grown to a size he never imagined 11 years ago, but it works so well because of the community involvement.
Everyone works toward the same goal: to have an entertaining and challenging weekend of activities. And now that weve put this one to bed, its time to rest, said Miller. Ive got busy weekends ahead of me soon.
Next years Test of Metal is set for June 16, 2007. Entries will be available at www.testofmetal.com on January 1, 2007.
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