If all the races in the Squamish Triple Crown could be summed up by the body parts they work the hardest, the Ore Crusher would be all about the lungs, the Test of Metal would be about legs, and the GearJammer - taking place this Saturday, July 25, would be about the core and upper body.
The course weighs in at 52 km from start to finish with more than 40 km of singletrack - including some of the most popular technical trails in the area. For riders it's a constant battle with rocks, roots and steeps.
While organizers doubt the event will sell out all 500 spots, early registration is ahead of last year and on pace to set a record.
"This year is the first time we've really been promoting (the GearJammer) hard, and so far it's been great," said Jo Sykes, race director for the GearJammer. "Registration has been going along great. I don't think we're going to sell out this year, but for next year we're on our way to selling out."
The trail is more or less the same as last year, but after taking a GPS to the route the organizers realized that the distance with new trails in the Crumpit Woods and Valleycliffe that it's actually closer to 52 km than the 47 km distance promoted last year.
"What really sets this race apart is that there is so much singletrack on it with minimal roads, which is wonderful," she said. "That's why so many riders are coming from far and wide this year. We have riders from Fernie, the Okanagan, Edmonton, the U.K., Switzerland, New York and Ontario. So word is getting out, which is great."
The course starts at Alice Lake Provincial Park, and includes sections of around two dozen local trails. The first part takes riders up the forest service road to Cliff's Corners and Ed's Bypass, and from there the course includes sections of Rock'n'Roll, Dead End Loop, the Bob McIntosh Trail, and another forest service road past Edith Lake. The next section includes Mike's Loop, Mike and Men, and Tracks from Hell, then back up to Ray's Café, and up Cliff's Corners to the first water station. From there it's a steep climb up logging roads to the Skookum climb, and a descent down Middle Power Smart to IMBA Smart. From there's it's lower Skookum, George's Crossing, another FSR to Recycle, and top and bottom sections of Pseudo Tsuga. Then it's road riding again to the Ring Creek Rip, and onto the Powerhouse Plunge before crossing over onto Crumpit Woods trails - Far Side Trail, Farther Side, S&M Connector and a climb up the gas cut to Three Virgins. From there it's Seven Stitches, Summer's Even, and Raven's Plateau in Valleycliffe, and the final selection of trails that takes riders to the finish at Rose Park.
Registration is available online at www.gearjammer.ca, and on-site for last minute entries.
There is a sign-on and check-in at Nesters Market from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, and on-site registration is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Alice Lake Road at the start line. Registration is $55, which includes one-day race insurance and a District of Squamish trail user fee. The race gets underway at 11 a.m. and the awards take place at 3:45 p.m. at Rose Park.