January 11, 2009 (Squamish, B.C.) – Difficulties with the registration process didn’t deter entrants from around the world from registering for the 2009 North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal. This year’s race will have competitors from throughout Canada and the US, the UK, and the even the Caribbean challenging themselves over the gruelling 67 kilometre course.
Registration on January 1st slowed to crawl as the website took more than 3500 hits in the first 45 minutes forcing organizers to stop registration mid-day on January 2nd to address the issues with the database.
“Once we got the technical issues sorted out, things went smoothly. When we re-opened registration at noon on Tuesday January 6th, the final 221 spots sold out in seven minutes,” according to Race Director Cliff Miller.
Miller said that there were more than 10,000 hits on the website in that first week of January.
Mike Kopek of St. Martin in the Caribbean was one of the persistent and lucky mountain bikers able to get in during the seven minute window on Tuesday.
He and his partner Kristen chose to ride in this year’s Test after competing in last year’s BC Bike Race which featured Squamish in it’s sixth stage.
“We choose to do the ’09 TOM race after we did the BC Bike Race in July and realized that day 6’s route was influenced so much from the TOM,” Kopek said
Kopek, a part-time Whistler resident and avid mountain biker, said that he had heard about the Test of Metal from everyone that he rides with in Whistler.
“I have a goal to beat everyone we ride with in Whistler so maybe they will come down to train a few weeks on our Caribbean (cow trail) single track,” he said.
Ryota Kanegae from Japan, who is currently living in New York State, is also riding his first Test.
“I heard about the race when I participated in the Cheakamus Challenge on ’08. A Japanese mountain bike tour guide living in Vancouver told me about this exciting race. It looked really tough and fun, so I thought I would try it.”
Kanegae is keeping his goals modest for his first TOM. “I know it is going to be really tough, and I’m feeling this race is a match against myself,” he said.
“I’m always surprised that people from so far away come to race in our little bike race,” said race director Cliff Miller. “But that is a testament to the volunteers and the people of Squamish who make this event so great. This race’s success comes from the efforts of everyone from Test Pilots to each person standing on the course cheering.”