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June 3/04 5:42 am - 2004 Test of Metal Bigger and Better Than Ever


Posted by Editoress on 06/3/04
 

Test of Metal Bigger and Better Than Ever
Courtesy Ron Enns, Media Relations, Squamish Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival

The 2004 Squamish Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival, presented by North Shore Credit Union, marks the ninth year of the event, and it shows no signs of slowing down. From the chariot races to the trials competition to the main event (the Test of Metal cross-country race), the festival keeps getting bigger and better every year.

It all started in 1988 as the Brodie Test of Metal in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. The relatively small race moved to Squamish for 1994 and 1995 on the trails above Alice Lake. In late 1995, Squamish publisher Kevin McLane met current Test of Metal race director Cliff Miller at the pub for a beer to discuss his idea for a large mountain bike event to put Squamish on the world's mountain bike map. That night they drew out a course on the back of a beer coaster... and the rest is history.

"With our world-class trails, great community support and racers who keep coming back for more, we're still enthusiastically at it and are constantly striving to make this event even more exciting," says Miller.

Chris Catliff, president and CEO of North Shore Credit Union, is as excited as the organizers about this year's event. "When we heard there was an opportunity to sponsor this amazing festival, we jumped right in," says Catliff. "It fits perfectly with our philosophy of getting people outdoors to do the things they love, and it's a great way for us to get involved in the community, as we're planning to open a new branch here this fall."

With the 800 spots for the 67 km cross-country race now selling out months in advance, the Test has established itself as the premiere mountain bike event in this part of the world. In response to demands for an even tougher test, 2004 organizers have introduced the 100 km Ultra Test, also known as So You Think You're Tough, Eh?, in which 30 masochistic mountain bikers will truly test their mettle.

The Festival begins on Friday evening, June 18, with riders taking to the streets on Cleveland Avenue in Squamish Town Centre for the Intergalactic Chariot Race Championships, in which mountain bikes pull fabricated chariots around and over obstacles up and down the crowd-lined street.

The showcase event, the Test of Metal cross-country mountain bike race, rolls from Brennan Park Recreation Centre on Saturday, June 21 at 11 a.m., preceded by the Ultra Test racers who start at Alice Lake at 8 a.m. Immediately after the Test pack rolls out, up-and-coming 9- to 14-year-old racers in the Teen Test hit the streets and trails on an abbreviated Test of Metal course. The finish area and marketplace will be located at the Squamish Loggers Sports Grounds just south of Brennan Park.

Sunday, June 20 is a busy day for the Festival. At 9 a.m. at Squamish Station Shopping Centre is the Mini Metal, where aspiring four- to eight-year-olds get a chance to race. At noon, freeriders are featured at the Rock Star Invitational Freeride Dash for Cash, where top riders compete on Squamish's double black diamond trails to see just who really is the best local freerider. The Trials Competition will take place at the south end of Cleveland Avenue in Squamish Town Centre (right across from the Howe Sound Inn and Brewpub). This event showcases some of the world's best obstacle riders.


The Ultra Test - So You Think You're Tough, Eh?
Courtesy Ron Enns, Media Relations, Squamish Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival

Every year, more than a few demented souls looking way too fresh hover around the finish area of the Squamish Test of Metal mountain bike race, lamenting that 67 kilometers is just not enough. Well, Squamish Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival organizers have responded - this year there will be 30 masochistic mountain bikers testing their mettle on a new and improved 100 km limited-edition version of the Test of Metal. It is being called the Ultra Test - So You Think You're Tough, Eh?

By combining the B.C. Championship Gear Jammer and Test of Metal courses - all to be ridden on the same day as the Test, June 19 - a new challenge for the endurance crowd is here. This event is not for the faint of lung and leg: the Ultra Test is geared for endurance freaks of the mountain biking world.

"This is a seriously strenuous day with over 100 km of riding and over 8,000 feet of vertical. The Ultra Test racers are people who are very confident in their physical capabilities and have ridden something of this magnitude previously," said Cliff Miller, Test of Metal race director.

One of those racers is Hillary Harrison of Washington state, who sent Test organizers an e-mail thanking them for making a longer course. Harrison is an elite woman endurance mountain biker, who was a second-place finisher earlier this year in the 800 km Cape Epic race across South Africa and who won the 2002 La Ruta De Los Conquistadores, a 410-km three-day mountain bike race in Costa Rica.

The Ultra Test will start at 8 a.m. at Alice Lake and will follow the 40 km Gear Jammer course (see the Gear Jammer website at www.gearjammer.ca) to the staging area for the Test of Metal, which starts at 11 a.m. Most of the 30 Ultra Test racers should arrive at the Test start line between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and will then have the entire 67 km of the Test of Metal ahead of them. The estimated completion time for the Ultra Test is 6.5 to 7 hours.

For more information about the Ultra Test and other events that are part of the Squamish Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival, presented by North Shore Credit Union, go to www.testofmetal.com.

 


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