Squamish classic receives UCI sanctioning
The annual Squamish Test of Metal has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most gruelling mountain bike endurance races in North America.
At 67 kilometres, the Test of Metal is more than 50 per cent longer than any World Cup race, and with huge climbs followed by long, technical downhill sections, its not what youd call a cakewalk.
Recognizing the challenging nature of the course, and the calibre of riders who finish the race on the podium, the international governing body for mountain bike racing, UCI, has sanctioned the Test of Metal.
That means the men and women racing in this years Test who hold international mountain bike licenses can earn UCI points. And it only takes one UCI point to participate in a World Cup, like the Grouse Mountain World Cup three weeks after the Test of Metal.
"The Test could provide the opportunity for a rider to place well enough to attend a World cup race like Grouse," says Cliff Miller, the race director for the Test of Metal. "To many pro-elites who have raced nationally in the U.S. and Canada, the Test could provide a significant opportunity to get that first UCI point to get into a World Cup.
"The opportunity for women is enormous, in that there has traditionally been a small number of female pro-elite racers at the Test."
The timing is also good as there are three World Cup races in North America following the Test of Metal on June 21, with events at Mont-Ste-Anne in Quebec, Telluride in Colorado, and Grouse Mountain over the next three weekends followed of course by the national championships in Whistler.
Adding significance to the official sanctioning of the Test of Metal, the American NORBA national series is in jeopardy of losing its status with the UCI over inadequate prize list requirements. If this happens, Miller says its possible that the elite American racers will skip the NORBA events and come to Squamish in June to race.
Although the race is limited to 800 entries and sold out last week, the race organizers have always kept the race open to pro-elite racers. They can enter through the event Web site at www.testofmetal.com. Pro-elite racers should confirm with the issuer of their racing license that they have a valid international license and are eligible to earn UCI points.