Friday, June 24, 2011

Muddy Test of Metal

The “Test” has quickly become over the years one of the classic race in the Sea to Sky corridor. The race usually sales out in 20 minutes on new years day…. That’s how popular the event is. But why is it so in demand? Well the course takes you through a wide range of great single and double tracks, the course is less technical then a lot of other races, the Squamish community really gets involved as there is always a lot of spectators and most of all, it is just a good way to push your limits on a mountain bike.

This last Saturday, 826 riders lined up at the start. It was pretty amazing to see so many people with their bike and the energy is always phenomenal. Even if woken up by the rain in the middle of the night and warming up under light precipitation, I knew we should be looking forward to a fun event. After the Canadian Anthem, it was go time and wow did the race ever start fast!!! The pro Elite males set a pretty nice pace through the subdivisions in Garibaldi Highlands then onto a double tracks, which brought us to Jacks Trails. From there, the pack started to space out a little bit. The fun part about such a big race is that you are never really riding on your own! The nice flowy Jacks trail brought us to Alice lake for a section on pavement, Double Track and then single track again. We had a fast descent through Rock & Roll which is AWESOME and back to a fast descent onto Roller Coaster. We then crossed the subdivision again to climb towards the University and enjoyed a quick rip towards the Nine Mile Hill Climb… The weather was actually perfect for the climb since by that point the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy. I remembered last year climbing the hill under a blistering sun with no shade, so I was really thankful for the cooler temps! It still didn’t make the climb any shorter unfortunately but at that point you just keep the head down and go with it. At the top of the Lava Section (where the race course reaches it’s highest point) it’s always a bit of a relief to start flying through the Rim Creek Rip, which was particularly grassy and slippery. Then came the famous PowerHouse Plunge which is the most technical section of the Test. Funny enough and it’s like that at every race, spectators line up all at the “Crititical Corner” in order to take pictures of the best crashes!!!!

After the plunge, we entered the Crumpit trails and connected to the Smoke Bluffs for a fast rip home! 67 kms of mud and giggles. It really was fun and hard all at once.

Result wise, there were some very amazing performances both in the men and woman categories. Congrats to Catharine Pendrel for her 2:45, she truly is inspiring to see go so hard on her bike!!! And Kris Sneddon 2:32. Congrats also to my friend Michael Robinson for his 15th place and for improving his time from last year! On my side, I started a bit slow and worked my way up to a 5th place overall in the Female Elite Category. I have to say I was a bit intimidated with all the big names at the start line but part of racing pro elite is to be up there at the front and I have to say it’s been one of the best move I made since it’s given me the opportunity to push more, learn and still have an amazing time.

Congratulations to all the racers who passed the test and also all the volunteers and organizers who made the event possible. Thx also the Skookum cycle for letting me use a spare wheel for the race.

Full Results:

After the test, we rewarded ourselves to some typical Whistler Riding! Thx to Ian & Andrew for a really fun Sunday ride! What an adventure!

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