The 2009 Test of Metal got off to a rocky start for Whistler riders, many of them stuck in traffic at Function Junction Saturday morning after a northbound vehicle went off the road and struck and snapped a power pole. That in turn led to a temporary highway closure followed by alternating lane traffic for most of the day, and as a result some riders made the start line with moments to spare.
The rockiness continued, as hundreds of riders made it to the finish line of the race only to discover that the race organizers were having timing issues - no official times between three hours and 22 minutes after the start and 3:59 are accurate, although the rankings are valid.
Organizers are trying to piece together more exact results. If you finished in that window and know your time, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Max Plaxton successfully defended his title completing the 67 km course in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 15 seconds, averaging a blistering 26.75 km/h from start to finish. That is technically a new course record, about one minute and 31 seconds faster than last year, although the route itself is a little different with a faster finish from the Smoke Bluffs along the new corridor trail and some trail improvements in different areas. Conditions were also good, despite some rain the night before.
Plaxton led the pack for the entire day, winning all 10 $100 primes on the course and taking home $1,500 on the day.
Russell Stevenson placed second in 2:35:56, followed by Kris Sneddon in 2:37:07. Whistler's Matt Ryan came in fourth for the second straight year, crossing the finish line in 2:40:31, also knocking a minute and a half off his 2009 Test time.
On the women's side, Kamloops World Cup racer and Olympian Catherine Pendrel won the Pro Elite category, placing 19 th overall in 2:50:44. She cut 30 minutes off her last Test time in the process. She also won all 10 women's primes to take away $1,500 in prize money, while cutting six minutes off the record time set by Nanaimo's Wendy Simms in 2008.
Dawn Anderson of Victoria was second in 3:08:54, followed by Joele Guynup in 3:14:12.
Getting back to the local riders, Mike Boehm placed 13 th overall and first in the Male 35 to 39 age category in 2:47:01, one spot ahead of Greg Grant, who raced in the Pro Elite group and finished in 2:47:45.
Next up from Whistler was Mike Charuk, who placed second in the Male 45 to 49 race in 2:52:57, roughly 43 seconds back of Squamish's Scott Woolley.