The 17th annual North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal gets underway this Saturday, June 17, with a sold-out field of 1,000 riders at the start line at Brennan Park at 11 a.m.
The first male racer will finish in about two-and-a-half hours depending on conditions, while the women's record — set by World Champion Catharine Pendrel in wet conditions last year — is only slightly behind in 2:45:45, and will be hard to top.
With the nationals taking place in Quebec this weekend a lot of the top Canadian and B.C. athletes are not available to race, opening the podium to a lot of other challengers.
Some racers will be chasing overall results, primes and prize money while others will be looking to place well in their age categories; some will be seeking personal bests, others having fun and riding with friends. But a lot of the riders are only looking to make the cut-offs and finish the iconic 67km race.
The Test of Metal itself is only one event in the Test of Metal Mountain Bike Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday.
On Friday, the first event is the Show and Shine event, a cruiser ride that starts at Republic Cycles in Brackendale and rides downtown for the Best In Show Competition.
Downtown will be closed to foot traffic and events from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., including activities for kids, like bike decorating, bouncy castles and face painting. The Funny Races run from 6 to 6:30 p.m. with teams of four riding funny bikes to try and post the fastest time. The Bike Limbo is from 7:30 to 8 p.m. to see how low riders can go.
This year, Camp of Champions is also upping the adrenaline by bringing one of their ramps and a gigantic air bag to let adventurous riders try out a few aerial tricks.
On Sunday, the day after the test, the action continues with the Mini Metal, with kids aged seven and under riding a course at Squamish Station Mall. That afternoon is the Rockstar Invitational downhill, which takes place on some of the steepest and most technical trails in Squamish.
Other events include the Test of Metal After Party on Saturday night and the Linda Carney Rotary Cares Celebrity Challenge, which gets underway at the same time as the Test of Metal. This event raises money to help Squamish families deal with health care costs that are not covered by MSP.
For more on the event, visit www.testofmetal.com.