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“I was hammering, but I was pretty happy with how I felt, and my bike was good all day,” said Plaxton. “I was surprised after riding a hard tail, but my body actually feels pretty good. I wore my heart rate monitor today, and it was really good training. I pushed myself pretty hard on the climbs and my heart rate was up there, but I recovered pretty quickly on the downhill. It was what I expected of myself at this time of the year, I get paid to race my bike, I’m going to the worlds — (the Test of Metal) is just an indicator that things are going well.”
On the women’s side Wendy Simms found herself behind Jean Anne McKirdy at one point on the first climb.
“I could hear someone behind me and I knew it was a girl, and I knew she was going for the first prime,” said Simms. “Then she caught up, and I was feeling like crap so I actually pulled back a bit and ended up catching her at the top of the hill. I popped over the hill and wound up with a good group of guys to ride through Alice Lake, including my husband, and stayed with them the rest of the ride.
“The pace was pretty intense. It was fun because the trails here have such good flow that you can get into a rhythm. My favourite part was Crumpet Woods, mainly because people start cracking there and I was able to keep my momentum going up and down and around. I like it in there, I always save up a little for the end because I enjoy riding it.”
Whistler’s Matt Ryan had his best Test of Metal result yet, placing fourth overall in 2:43:09. He had his own battle going with Kris Sneddon up Nine Mile Hill, dropping to sixth at one point before catching up in Crumpet Woods. At that point he had no idea where he was in the pack.
“I wasn’t sure where I was out there, there was so much yoyo-ing back and forth,” he said, expecting to finish sixth or seventh.
“That was probably my best Test so far, I had legs at the end for a chance, and everything went according to plan. It was a pleasure to ride the course in that condition, it was not too wet or too try — after the last couple of years it was glorious.”