The North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal is expecting near-perfect racing conditions on Saturday with some rain this week to firm up the dusty sections and a sunny start with temperatures in the low 20s.
Whether that's going to translate to a new course record is still to be seen, but the men's record has been broken in each of the last three years:
In 2008, Max Plaxton broke the record set by Chad Miles in 2000 by almost five minutes, creating a new low mark of 2:31:46. Plaxton then broke his own record the following year in 2:30:15, and in 2010 Geoff Kabush lowered the mark even further to 2:29:45.
Wendy Simms also set a new women's record in 2008 with a time of 2:56:35, almost 14 minutes faster than the previous record from 2005. Catherine Pendrel lowered the record to 2:50:44 in 2009.
The average racer will finish between three and four hours, and riders will still be crossing the line five and six hours later.
The event itself has been sold out since Jan. 1, with 800 spots selling out in a record 22 minutes. Another 200 spots were sold in December at a local's only registration, and registered Pro Elite racers can register up until the day of the race.
The Test of Metal is also the centrepiece of a larger Test of Metal weekend.
The Pre-Test Party is on Friday, with a wide range of events:
Slow Ride Show & Shine - This cruiser bike show meets at Republic Bikes in Brackendale and winds its way to The Cup at 5 p.m. before heading downtown.
Downtown Events - There is a wide variety of family-friendly events, including a Kids Zone and a mini trials set-up. There are funny races from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with teams of four competing on a funny bike. There's a unicycle demonstration, bike limbo and best of show contest, and live music from Carolyn Grass (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and Tessa (7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.).
Squamish Mini-Metal - On Sunday, June 19 there will be a Lions pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. at Station Centre Mall, followed by the Mini Metal race at 10 a.m. following a course through the parking lot. Runner bikes and training wheels are welcome, and participating kids aged seven and under will get a race plate to take home.
Rockstar Invitational Downhill - This invite-only race hosted by Tantalus Bike Shop starts at the top of Cougar Ridge and includes a selection of steep, rocky trails.
For more on the Test of Metal and weekend, visit www.testofmetal.com.