The race will run on May 14, launching the Hell of a Series
For years the Squamish Ore Crusher has kicked off the mountain bike race season, and this year is no exception even if it's a different kind of event than in the past.
The race will run on May 14, launching the Hell of a Series, with a whole new course design.
It will still be a lap race, but this year the organizers have made each lap a lot longer - around 13 km - and every category will complete three laps of the route. The organizers have also done away with the running Le Mans start in favour of a rolling start like other Squamish races such as the Test of Metal and GearJammer.
"We've made some changes as this race finds it's personality and how it fits in to the schedule," said Armand Hurford, who took on the job of race director this season.
"In the past it's been shorter laps and lots of laps, and we decided to make it a little longer and have everybody do the same number of laps... It's still the only lap race in the Hell of a Series, and it's a good intro to that kind of marathon racing because you're not out in the middle of nowhere, you're in a contained environment where you pass through the same area a few times, and it's a little less intimidating."
The trails in the Cheekye Fan area are less technical than most of the other epics and don't have the long uphill climbs, but most of the course will be on singletrack and it's always a little harder than people think.
"We got a little creative with route finding to get more K's and it's almost entirely singletrack," said Hurford. "It's a deceiving area because when you look at the course profile there are no major difficulties or huge climbs. But when you get in there you find you have to work on the descents as well as the climbs - it's not that steep so you're pedalling the whole way. You don't get a reprieve like on other courses."
The race will once again benefit the Outdoor Leadership program at Don Ross Secondary School, where the race is based out of, as well as the Team Squamish youth race program.
While 40 km may seem like a long way for junior riders, Hurford said the local kids are more than up to the distance.
"Team Squamish does wind trainer sessions in the shop (Republic Cycles) through the whole winter, and I think everybody's up to the task."
The course will be posted online by this weekend at www.orecrusher.ca, and you can also get information at www.testofmetal.ca.
There is a 250-rider limit, so early registration is recommended. The cost is $40 to take part, or $35 for riders that already have UCI and Citizen Licences from Cycling B.C.
If any spots are still available, day of race registration will run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Don Ross Secondary, with the race getting underway at 11 a.m.