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Point-to-point mountain bike race set for June
Now that the difficult part - trying to get a spot for the the race - is over, competitors can get down to the serious work of training for the 16th annual North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal mountain bike race on June 18.
This year, the race sold out in only 22 minutes and 47 seconds, taking almost two minutes out of the record set for the 2010 race.
"I think that the only thing that prevents us from selling out immediately is the limitations of the technology," said race director and Test of Metal, Inc. President Cliff Miller. "Our last entrant started logging in to register a 5:58 pm.
That final registrant, Joffre Brondgeest of North Vancouver, started getting concerned when his browser crashed and he had to log back in. "I was a little worried, but it didn't slow me down," Brondgeest said.
This will be Brondgeest's 5th Test of Metal. "It gets me out riding early in the season," he said, "and I get lots of support from my family. I get such a kick out of all the volunteers. I try to say 'thank you' to every one of them as I ride by."
Miller acknowledged the efforts of the more than 300 Test of Metal volunteers. "To be frank, without the volunteers and the people of Squamish lining the course, this would just be a bike race. It's the town that makes it the event that it's become. They're the ones who ensure this sells out so quickly," he said
The Test of Metal covers a gruelling 67 kilometres, point-to-point, through Squamish's world-renowned trails.
Past participants in the race include Canadian Olympians Alison Sydor, Geoff Kabush, and Seamus McGrath, as well as notable celebrities like Vancouver Canuck icon Trevor Linden.
The Test of Metal is the centrepiece of the Squamish Mountain Bike Festival which runs from Friday, June 17 to Sunday June 19. The weekend activities include the "Pre-Test Festival" in downtown Squamish on Friday evening and the "Rock Star Invitational Downhill" on Sunday.
"There's a whole weekend of family-oriented activities," said Miller. "Even if you're not racing, Squamish is a great place to spend that weekend."
A 2006 study done by the BC Mountain Bike Tourism Association established that the Test of Metal generates just under one million dollars of economic activity in Squamish every year.
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 CAN$135,000 to community organizations and events.