What a difference a year makes. This time last year the Test of Metal was a race that took place in the middle of a monsoon. For 2013 the sun was shining and the trails were super fast. After a disappointing Nimby 50 I was out to prove myself. Last year I managed to get around in 4hrs 3mins. This time around with the dry weather, track knowledge and fitness I was hoping to take 30mins off my time.
The start was fast as expected but I paced myself and kept the tempo up and worked my way through the packs of riders on the roads of urban residential Squamish. Once we hit the first singletrack (5km into race) I stepped it up a bit more and started to put in a hard effort as my legs felt good. We climbed up Jack Trail and out to Alice Lake. Time to take on the first gel and some water on before we powered on towards Rob’s and Cliff’s Corners. Dave Collins of Mighty Rider’s put in a big effort along here to pull a small group of us right up to the bigger pack infront of us. We all kind of stayed together down the Corner’s and into Rollercoaster before hitting the road back to Quest University.
The first time through the feed zone I missed my bottle exchange and thought that was the end of my race. With the heat and over 40km’s of racing left it was the worst thing that could of happened. Nonetheless I powered on and got back onto the large group that was ahead of me. The next challenge was Bonk Hill and the 9 Mile climb. I knew there was a feed zone at the top that i could get some water so powered on up the long climb working my way through the group in front and onto a few more riders. Only one other rider passed me on the massive climb and I stayed on his wheel until the top. This put me in a great position as I knew I had a long downhill to the Powerhouse Plunge and then the final few singletracks to the end.
The next 15kms I was mostly on my own but picking off riders along the way. I never looked back but knew there was some fast riders coming up behind. As soon as I hit the last road section I pushed as hard as my 36 -11tooth rings would let me but got caught by 2 guys about a kilometre from the finish line. We all duked it out in a sprint and I rolled in at the back. My time was 3hrs 17mins…. a whopping 45mins faster than 2012. Way better than the benchmark I had set. I finished 105th out of 1040 starters and 17th in my category of Men 30-34 which is one of the biggest in the race. I was delighted and can’t wait til next year to try get close to 3hrs.
Thanks once again to all my supporters: Steed Cycles, Giro Sport Design and all the people that help me get my new bike together for all my racing this year…Kevin at Lambert, Race Face, Cody at TLD Canada, Rob at Roberts Composites, Brydon at OGC, Orange Sport Supply and NRG.