Routley, West in top-five, Teng sixth in Elite categories
It was a cold and gray start for the Test of Metal last Saturday, but if a few wet roots and rocks didnt bother you, then the race conditions were an improvement over last years sweat fest, where temperatures approached 30 degrees Celsius.
More than 800 athletes took part in the 67.5 km epic race, which includes more than 35 km of singletrack mountain biking.
For the first year ever, the Test of Metal was sanctioned by the International Cycling Union, which meant that the top elite racers could earn UCI points towards this years World Cup series.
"The level of competition at this years race was among the best weve ever had," said race director Cliff Miller. "And its a thrill for more than 600 citizen racers in the Test to race alongside some of the best in the world." For the first stretch, anyway.
In the Elite Mens race, the win went to Vancouvers Andrew Kyle with a time of two hours, 42 minutes, 42 seconds. Kyle finished third last year and second the year before. This was his first win at the Test of Metal.
He was chased hard all the way to the finish, with Carter Hovey, last years champion, crossing the line 24 seconds later. Hovey was right on Kyles rear tire until a crash in the Crumpit Woods set him back slightly, and allowed Matthew Martindill to catch up. The two riders battled it out for second place, and at the very end it was Hovey by just three seconds.
A pair of Whistler riders, Will Routley and Tyler West, finished fourth and fifth respectively with times of 2:46:52 and 2:49:14. Routley, who finished sixth last year, got his wish and beat his last years time by ten minutes.
"It went well. It was a little cooler than last year, but the course was a little wet, so it was a tradeoff," he said.
Routley, has cut large chunks of time off the clock over the years, and he feels close to a top three and maybe even a win.
"The thought has crossed my mine, definitely. If I can cut four minutes off next year, I could do it."
According to Routley, the lead group stuck together for most of the race before the top three riders broke away on Bonk Hill. "I rode most of 9 mile hill with (Tyler) West, and he was riding really well. He really put me to work on Bonk Hill, put the hurt on me."