The Test of Metal! How to describe it???
As soon as I got to Squamish on Friday evening, we could feel the level of energy and excitement rising everywhere we went in town. I made my way to Brennan Park to pick up race plate and such and also met with friends to chat about the upcoming event! A lot of racers were coming and going some looking really serious, some with a large smile up on their face.
After a quick spin just to get the blood flowing in the legs and a thunderstorm later, it was time to make some last adjustments to the bike and get the hydration plan ready for the big event!
At 9:00 am, the cars were already lining up around Brennan Park. There was A LOT of people! It was great to pedal along that one paved road and chat away with friends, fellow racers as getting warmed up. Then, came time to line up the bike for the start. It was something to try to get around and position it for a good start… quite the challenge with close to 800 riders trying to do the same. The energy was really high and the atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced before…
After the national anthem, and the pipe bags, we were on our way for 67 kms of pure fun! The racecourse took us through the subdivisions of the Garibaldi Highlands just to spread out the pack as much as possible before entering the double and single tracks. I was told to get a good start and hammer as hard as possible for that first little while which I did and it worked out very well (Thx Ian!). It was amazing to see how the community of Squamish responded to the event as people were out with cowbells cheering and some also had the hoses out to cool down racers already sweating! What a rush!The race went all the way to Alice Lake provincial park from the Highlands, then took us to Roller Coaster, a nice twisty trail and then to Rock and Roll where a lot of the spectator gathered at the last impressive pitch to see the riders zoom by.We then crossed over and down the Diamond Head to pass by the Power Plunge Feeding Zone were lots of friends gathered to cheer and feed racers. This was a great boost for what was coming up… the 9 miles hill. Personally, I pre-rode everything but… and I did not really know what I was getting into. I was wondering why people were slowing down that much. Things were going well on my side looking for shade wherever possible, hydrating along the way, having a time but I was far from knowing that the hill is really 9 miles in length and becomes steeper as you go. Fortunately, I did not bunk but I was really glad to get to the top! It was really rewarding since we then buzzed down the “Ring Creek Rip” a fast and refreshing single track (refreshing for the legs anyway…), then to the Power House Plunge, which is a bit more technical. It was a bit greasy from the rain on Friday night… nevertheless, it was challenging at this point in the course to keep a good focus and good balance. Then back through the Power House Feeding station where friends were waiting again with large smiles and nothing but amazing energy to give to racers! We were not done quite yet, a bit more climbing and some great single track with roost and rocks took us back to the pavement for a small section then through the Bluffs and back to Brennan Park! I crossed the finish Line with a big smile up on my face, with no mechanical issues, no cramping and no bunking. Since I was aiming for 3:30 and finished in 3:22 I was really happy (1st in my category and 8th overall women). Congratulations to Michael Robinson who also finished 1st in his category and had an amazing race. Congrats to Cros, Jed, Mike and all the great friends who also did the test! Thank you very much to Rose and Kevin for feeding us all and for cheering! Full Results and pictures at: http://testofmetal.com/