Squamish mountain biker Kyle Ritchie defended his Rockstar Invitational title at the Test of Metal this year, despite the fact that he crashed twice on his way down the course.
His time of three minutes and 21 seconds was just a second slower than his time last year. Second place went to J.S. Therrien, and third to Ryan Walton.
Its a close race according to organizer Alan Ross, the owner of the Tantalus Bike Shop, with fractions of a second separating most of the top riders.
The course was the same as the previous two years, starting on Cougar Ridge in the Valleycliffe area, and descending down My Trail, Endo and finishing on Ravens Plateau with a large jump. The way down is extremely technical with long, steep rock sections, big drops, and other obstacles.
For that reason the Rockstar is by invitation only. To get in you need a Squamish address and to prove that you can ride the course.
"What we wanted to do was bring the downhill-freeride element to the Test of Metal. There was already a Mini Metal for the little kids, a Test of Metal for teens, a big race and the trials competition, and obviously a big component of riding in this corridor is the whole freeride element," said Ross. "We want to see who is the top dog in town, who gets bragging rights for a full year."
It was a good event this year with more than 40 riders taking part and a crowd of hundreds lining the course to watch the athletes come down.
"We had families out there who had never seen that style of riding before, and they couldnt imagine people hurling themselves down these steep rock faces and rowdy pitches."
Some of the riders who stood out this year were Bryan Raiser, who raced in a custom-made Elvis costume, and 12 year old Kyle Quesnel, who competed in the Teen Test on Saturday and both the Test of Metal Trials Championships and Rockstar Invitational on Sunday.