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A wet and wild ride

Rain adds extra challenge to 67 km Test of Metal

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The first rider reports from the field to the finish at Squamish’s Logger’s Sports Grounds were off slightly, mainly because the course marshals couldn’t read the numbers on the race plates because of all the mud.

The mud was the story of the day Saturday. It caused crashes, pileups and all kinds of mechanical failures, from chain suck to snapped chains. It made it hard to see, hard to eat and drink, and all but impossible to clip your shoes back into your pedals.

But for the 800 smiling riders at the finish line, there was a feeling that this muddy epic, frustrating and sometimes dangerous, was what mountain biking is all about.

"I loved it," said Alison Sydor, the winner of the women’s pro title. "It’s a little reminiscent of riding the North Shore, but I’ve been riding in Europe for the past eight weeks and it’s just technical like it is here. At first (the Test) wasn’t enjoyable, but as the race progressed I felt more and more comfortable, it all came back to me."

Sydor sat in second behind Catherine Pendrel, who won all of the Primes, until the top of 9-Mile Hill, a.k.a. Bonk Hill. She passed Pendrel just before the descent, and didn’t look back.

Sydor has never ridden the Test of Metal course, but was familiar with the trails after coaching a camp for the high school championships over the past two years.

"Sometimes I had no idea where I was, then I’d see something familiar and I’d go ‘I remember this’ and I’d relax a little. It’s a really great course, really tough and pretty technical for a long course or a marathon course, and the conditions made it interesting, but it was a really fun ride."

Despite the conditions, Sydor’s time of three hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds beat the course record by over a minute and a half, while Pendrel herself finished just behind Sydor in 3:13:34. Wendy Simms was third among the elite women in 3:20:34.

Sydor credits her decision to use a dual suspension bike, giving up a little climbing power for speed and comfort in the singletrack, for her win. "It added a bit of weight and made the climbs a bit harder, but I had advantage in the singletrack," she said.

Lesley Clements of Whistler was 10 th in 3:53:26, but was disappointed in her race. "I didn’t crash or anything, I rode all the technical stuff, my legs just felt dead today, I just didn’t have it," she said.

Joanna Harrington was 14 th in 4:08:11.

In the men’s race at least three riders held onto the lead at different points, but it was Canadian Under 23 champion Ricky Federau who took the win in 2:49:05. Less than a minute back, in 2:49:48, 18-year-old Neal Kindree of Squamish crossed the line in second place. He held the lead for most of the middle of the race, winning a total of six Primes along the way.

Dirty and dizzy, he hugged his family members and high-fived his friends at the finish line.

"I hated losing the lead, but it’s hard not to be happy when you finish second behind the Espoir (Under 23) national champion," he said.

Kindree took the lead on Rock and Roll, using his locals' knowledge to ride a tight line through the section.

"Being local and knowing the trails helped me hold the lead through there, and I went as far as I could with it."

Although the conditions caused his gears to skip near the end of the ride, he didn’t have any trouble with the mud.

"That was awesome, I love mud," he said. "I didn’t crash or anything like that, which surprises me a little because it was pretty slippery in a few spots. A few sections of the (Powerhouse) Plunge were tougher because the rain had washed away the dirt to the rocks, but the only times I had to get off my bike were on a few of the uphill sections. I’m really happy with my ride."

For the Kindrees, the Test was a family affair. His older sister Meghan was fifth in the women’s elite category, and his parents have helped to organize Team Squamish. Team Squamish is a training and development program that helps to coach local athletes and send teams to competitive events.

Third place in the men’s elite category was Galen Kehler in 2:54:57.

The top Whistler rider in the men’s elite category was Matt Ryan in eighth place, crossing the line in 2:59:14.

"(Mud) is my kind of stuff, it was a really fun ride. It definitely helped that I didn’t have any bike issues like other riders, my gears were mis-shifting a little, but that’s it – if anything the mud probably worked in my favour," Ryan said.

"That said I’d hate to be 50 deep in that pack. The Plunge was just heinous, I’ve never seen it that bad. My tire choice maybe wasn’t the best for that, I was thinking more of the climbs."

Matt Bodkin and Dave Burch rode most of the race together, and would have come in through the finish line together if Burch hadn’t gotten into a tangle with another rider around a corner and crashed a few hundred metres from the finish. Bodkin went on to finish 14 th in 3:06:27, while Burch came in 16 th at 3:06:49. Lloyd Thomas finished 31 st in 3:40:16.

Whistler’s Tyler Allison, 13, was fourth in the 14-16 Men category racing against bigger and older riders. Sean Stanhope won that category in 3:31:57, followed by Matt Potma in 3:36:15. Maurie Kowalski finished third in 3:42:02.

Allison came in at 3:52:08. Closer to the ground, he appeared to be wearing more mud than other riders.

"I’m not as tired as I thought I would be, I’m just really stiff," he said of his first Test of Metal. "The downhill was really wet and rocky at the end of it, and people were standing all over fixing their bikes and flats. I rode most of it, but I had to walk a little bit because a lot of people were walking.

"No crashes, but my arms just got really tired, I couldn’t hold on."

He also had to do without water near the end after the lid of his water bottle popped open and filled up with mud.

"I ate so much dirt," he said.

Nicholas Geddes, who rides in Whistler with STORMBC, finished eighth in the category in 4:49:33.

Because the results did not list sponsors or hometown, Pique may have missed a few riders. Please let us know who you are at www.piquenewsmagazine.com.

Results

14 to 16 Women

1. Katherine Short – 3:41:52

2. Jaclyn McClements – 4:49:27

3. Danielle Dornik – 5:02:27

17 to 19 Men

1. Chris Bates – 3:28:06

2. Brett Wileman – 3:50:59

3. Daniel MacKellar – 4:23:25

20 to 24 Men

1. Dustin Gordon

2. Nick Christensen

3. Chris Stenberg

20 to 24 Women

1. Leah Guloien – 3:53:05

2. Jen Segger – 4:14:34

25 to 29 Men

1. Christopher McCrum – 3:17:59

2. Trevor Jones – 3:40:24

3. Jamie Caskey – 3:47:25

4. Darcy Trevelyan – 3:48:27

5. Gary Robbins – 3:50:40

22. Devon Jones – 5:14:11

25 to 29 Women

1. Charlotte Klein – 4:10:51

2. Karen Stark – 4:47:30

3. Karen Ogilvie – 5:05:18

30 to 34 Men

1. Ryan Oliver – 2:59:20

2. Dale Muir – 3:26:24

3. Andrew Clarke – 3:31:47

75. Shane Robilliard – 5:12:23

30 to 34 Women

1. Brandi Heisterman – 4:10:11

2. Meredith Armstrong – 4:38:58

3. Megan Hoodspith – 4:50:22

4. Marla Zucht – 4:53:02

6. Schalene Warren – 4:55:16

9. Julie Miller – 5:02:41

35 to 39 Men

1. Derek Thomas – 3:06:02

2. Mike Edwards – 3:18:05

3. Dave Heisler – 3:23:34

4. Tyler Dumont – 3:27:11

94. Ted Battiston – 5:01:27

35 to 39 Women

1. Melanie Lewis – 4:00:57

2. Judi Garrison – 4:29:16

3. Monica Nelson – 4:31:35

24. Trina Prior – 5:55:02

25. Michele Rideout – 6:12:10

40 to 44 Men

1. David Kvick – 2:56:59

2. Scott Woolley – 3:16:32

3. Mike Charuk – 3:20:28

81. Grant Lamont – 4:59:00

85. Joern Rohde – 5:03:13

40 to 44 Women

1. Carole Tickner – 4:07:30

2. Sue Price – 4:41:32

3. Laurie Kalf – 4:45:59

45 to 49 Men

1. Tony Routley – 3:14:29

2. Rob McSkimming – 3:25:58

3. Lee Harrison – 3:29:49

24. Daniel Havens – 4:37:03

45 to 49 Women

1. Joanne Stinson – 4:43:43

2. Denise Duchene – 5:33:36

3. Claire Harvey – 5:55:49

50-Plus Men

1. Nels Guloien – 3:15:59

2. Bernard Leroux – 3:39:53

3. Mike Fitzmaurice – 3:50:22

7. John Blok – 4:06:02

23. Brent Harley – 4:40:03

31. Gary Robinson – 4:52:34

33. Gary Baker – 4:55:03

36. Tom Thompson –4:57:44

50-Plus Women

1. Janet Oxler – 5:29:11

2. Grace Blok – 5:44:17

3. Mary Mark – 5:48:17

Complete results from the Test of Metal, Test of Metal Trials competition and Rockstar Freeride are available online at www.testofmetal.com.

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