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A wet and wild ride

Rain adds extra challenge to 67 km Test of Metal

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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.

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