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New Blood (06.01.00)

Hello and welcome to my column. Be warned it's going to be a bumpy ride so please keep your head and arms inside the article at all times. For those of you new to my (how shall we say?) unique perspectives, might I prescribe a small grain of salt before reading. Well enough foreplay, I now have only 700 words to try and describe an epic weekend.

This year's Test of Metal Weekend proves without a doubt Squamish's unlimited recreation potential. Once again I was lucky enough to participate in all three days of craziness. Friday was local lunacy at it's finest with the intergalactic chariot races A big round of applause to Corsa Keith who, after soaring majestically through the air, found himself in a very tardy ambulance. Despite this, he finished Sunday's race in just under six hours! Saturday the carnival continued with the trials. It was my second year judging dozens of guys and gals who leap from obstacle to obstacle, thumbing their nose at gravity to entertain the fans. Even when the inevitable Squamish rain came down to make things interesting, it didn't dampen the riders or the spectators' good time.

Sunday, the TEST. Three years ago I volunteered at the SORCA hamburger hut, last year I watched the race through the eyes of a drunk (which still ranks as one of the best days of my life) so this year there seemed only one other way to fully experience the race. I entered it.

Whenever you tell someone you're in the Test, they immediately ask, "are you training?" My answer, "I don't train, I go for bike rides." I didn't even pre-ride the course (OK, yes, sure I've ridden the course in bits and pieces over the last year, but never all at once). I'm more of a downhiller at heart, and I figure if I'm going to work that hard on uphill, the down better be phenomenal (i.e. Powersmart).My main goal was to ride the entire course at least once in my life, and race day seemed to be the perfect excuse to fulfill that dream.

As hard as I tried not to let the race affect my life, sacrifices were necessary. I had to remove my severed Barbie head that adorns my headset so a race number could be affixed. Worse, I had to turn down two rides the week before to keep my legs fresh. Mark my words that will be the last time I say no to Rampage (my trail flavor of the month). The only real training I did was a grueling regiment of fabricating excuses. While others were strapping cliff bars to their bikes, I let everyone know I was coming down with a cold, and my quick release was acting up. But it turns out I didn't need my arsenal of excuses because I completed the Test in under five hours and (more importantly) in one piece.

The race itself was unlike anything I've ever experienced. To all of you who came out to cheer us on, YOU ROCK! The feeling of thousands and thousands of people cheering you on for 67 kilometers is, well, it's indescribable actually. During the first couple km's I tried to thank everyone who was cheering, but my voice started giving out (ask my wife or my friends how rare that is) and I decided to save my energy for nine mile. A turnout like that just proves once again where this town's future lies. It's tough to summarize the collective spirit of those that took part, but as the riders approached the first downhill, someone shouted over a symphony of squeaking breaks "those things will only slow you down!" And for those that still doubt the value of the Test weekend, consider this: during the entire three days of the event, no one mentioned woodchips or the Elaho. Not once. I even saw Rick King come out to support the event and Paul Lalli took a moment to take part in the celebrity challenge, so I guess two out of seven isn't bad.

Once again, the event was beautifully planned (YAY Cliff & Co,) and special mentions should be made to the Squamish star riders, namely Corsa Dave who was the first Squamolian to cross the line and Granite Moe, who, after less than a year of riding, walked away with Best Citizen in his category. So give yourselves a pat on the back Squamish, once again we proved to everyone, Squamish kicks ass!

Bryan lives, rides, and loves in Squamish.


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