June 22, 2009 (Squamish, BC) – Not the storm clouds, the threat of cougars, or even a new gaudy outfit worn by Test of Metal race director Cliff Miller could frighten away the crowds from another enormously successful Test of Metal weekend. From the Friday night Pre-Test party to Sunday’s Rock Star Invitational Downhill, biking enthusiasts showed up to watch or participate in the events.
On Friday evening, hundreds of people gathered on Cleveland Ave. for the 2nd Annual Pre-Test Party. Organizer Sheila Cassels ensured the crowd was entertained with a variety of activities and events including the Velcro Olympics, Bike Poker and bands the Dead Heathers and Jamatonics.
Saturday’s main event, the 67 kilometre Test of Metal mountain bike race, saw more than 900 riders on the start line with weather and course conditions ideal for a fast race. Neither the men nor women disappointed with new course records being set.
On the men’s side, Max Plaxton took a minute off his own record that he set last year with a time of 2:30:15. Following Plaxton was Russell Stevenson in 2nd place at 2:35:05 and Kris Sneddon in 3rd with a time of 2:37:07 .
Women’s 1st place finisher, Canadian Olympic Team member Catherine Pendrel, shattered the women’s record by taking more than 6 minutes off of the time set by Wendy Simms last year. Pendrel’s time of 2:50:44 kept her 18 minutes ahead of her nearest competitor Dawn Anderson followed 3rd place finisher Joele Goynup in 3:14:12.
But the Test of Metal isn’t only about the fast finishers. Some riders were on the course for more than 6 hours, many simply challenging themselves to complete the gruelling race. The final rider, John Marinis, made his way through the finish line after almost 7 hours on his bike.
The sun shone on Sunday morning just in time for the the Mini Test of Metal. The Corsa Cycles sponsored event had more than 200 tykes aged 2 to 9 riding the circuit in the Squamish Station Mall parking lot in what has become one of the highlights of the Test of Metal weekend. The Squamish Lions served up more than 150 of their famous pancake breakfasts at the event.
The crowds moved from the fun of the little guys to the fearlessness of the downhillers in the afternoon as 31 riders challenged the Tantalus Bikes sponsored RockStar Invitational on the granite of Valleycliffe. The threatening clouds came, but the rain held-off, and Craig Bullen beat all the competition to reign as this year’s Rock Star.
Each year, more than 300 volunteers come out to support the events around the Test of Metal. The community of Squamish has embraced the weekend as the unofficial start to the summer festival season.
The Test of Metal Inc. is a not-for-profit society run by volunteers, and any proceeds from the race are returned to the community through charitable donations. Since its inception, the Test of Metal has donated more than $100,000 to community organizations and events.
This is the 14th running of the Test of Metal, and the race has sold out each year for the past 12 years. Next year’s Test of Metal weekend is on June 18th – 20th.
Full results and photos here.