Monday, June 20, 2011


(Me at the start)

While listening to 107.1 MTN FM on my drive home from work, just shortly after Peter and I moved from North Vancouver to Squamish, they announces that registration for the TEST OF METAL was going on at 6:30pm that evening, and to act fast because it usually sells out in less than 30 minutes. One of my goals for 2011 was to try new things and mountain biking was number one on the list. You see, the trails here in Squamish are made up of a lot more cross country riding versus the rugged downhill terrain that is the North Shore. Perfect for a newbie like me. However, the purchase of the bike didnt come as soon as anticipated and I went into this event a little undertrained.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine, you have great cardio, there isn't much technical riding involved at all...except the plunge, but no one rides the plunge"

These were the words uttered most from those I talked to about the event and more specifically about me doing the event, underprepared. Thus, I felt confident that I could tackle this beast no matter what. I managed to get a bike a little over a month before the event, however, running and a little racing were taking up most of my time and concentration, which left little room for biking. Not to mention the weather hasn't been all that fantastic and I'll admit, I'll run in everything, but when it comes to biking, I am a fair weather rider.

Here is what The Organizers say about the event:

June 18, 2011: 67 kilometers, point to point. Over 1,200 meters of climbing and 35 kilometres of singletrack. On paper it’s a 67-kilometre course with over 1,200 meters of climbing and 35 kilometers of single-track. Off paper it’s an unforgettable day for everyone involved from the organizers and volunteers, to the thousands of spectators and of course the riders. For those in the saddle it is in every way a test of mettle. The unrelenting course will take the fastest just over 2 hours, the average competitor 3-4 hours and the humans 5-6 hours."

The test of metal would be my 3rd ride ever on my new bike. My previous MTN Bike experience consists of 6 rides, which were 2-4 years ago. So yes, I am BRAND NEW. As the day drew closer, I was getting more and more freaked out. I kept thinking that this might not be the best idea. I would never recommend someone do a 67km run with only 2 previous days of training, how was this any better? Running is all I really care about, what if I get injured? All these negative thoughts were floating around in my head but in the end, I figured, what do I have to lose. I can always just bike home if things weren't going well!

(All the bikes lines up, seeded, at the start)

Peter had expressed interest in doing the ride with me. I was a bit apprehensive at first because I didnt want to hold him back or be pressured to keep up, but in the end, I said yes and I am really glad I did. I had ZERO expectations for this ride, except to just have fun, enjoy the surroundings, and take it all in. I signed up months prior because it was a fun local event in our new backyard and that is how I had to treat it.

By race day, I was actually pretty excited as it was all so new to me. 800 people lined up at the start and we seeded ourselves pretty far back. I think Peter had a better idea of where we would finish up then I did. I couldn't believe how many people were lining the streets, cheering us on. I was smiling from ear to ear.

To get straight to it:

1. There were moments of utter joy
2. There were moments where I didn't know how the hell I was going to get down the steep rocky/routy path ahead of me, but I just let the bike do the work and most of the time, I really surprised myself.
3. I almost cried once.
4. I think I was the only person who couldn't wait to get to 9 mile!
5. I remembered to turn my shocks on once we got back into the trail from the road sections!
6. I have A LOT of bruises and fell into a lot of bushes
7. I ran my bike down the plunge, congrats to those that can ride that!
8. I didn't compare myself to anyone.
9. I rode a lot more than I thought I would.
10. I loved how I was the only one who ever really stopped and got off my bike at aid stations to eat. I rarely do that in running races, so I made sure I took advantage.
11. I loved having my boyfriend there with me every step of the way. On that note, he would ride ahead and wait for me at junctions, we weren't side by side, which is why I think it worked.
12. Will I do it again?....that's a great question!

Great event, great volunteers, and great ambassadors out there for bike aid. I would recommend this event to anyone. It is a great begginner course because it isn't all technical. The biggest challenge of the weekend was that I doubled it up with a 5.5 hour training run the next day (first 3/4's of the Knee Knacker). It was perfect because I was fatigued from the ride but not too sore. Tons of climbing (both days)!!!! I wish I could say and now I rest but there is one more week of building before that gets to happen!!!!

Looking forward to Comfortably Numb 25km this weekend in Whistler!!!

See you in the trails!

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