There are 1000 other masochistic cyclists waiting to take you down, so what does it take to successfully finish the Test of Metal? Of course it takes plenty of strength, stamina, power, patience, persverance and loads of determination — but to truly conquer the test of metal within your desired time you’ll need to be prepared to deal with any racer’s worst enemy — the dreaded puncture.
“It’s happened to me many times over the years,” says Tantalus Bike Shop owner and 15-time participant Al Ross. “It definitely sucks but if you know what you’re doing and look at it as a chance to rest and refuel, it’s actually not that bad.”
Not that bad? How can a 2 to 5-minute hit be not that bad?
“Well if you’re panicking and trying to get through it too quickly it won’t work in your favor that’s for sure. But if you can get your heart rate down and treat it as a moment to rest, it can actually work out in you favour. You can throw some food down your gullet, have a quick drink and maybe hum a tune or two while you’re going through the paces.”
And one thing that’s nice about the Test that you won’t find in a lot of other races out there is the massive help-factor from on-course ambassadors. Should you be lucky enough to flat near one of them, they’re allowed to help you fix your flat and get you rolling again.
Unless you’re stuck deep in the woods for example, like Al Ross was a few years back.
“I flatted at the top of the Rip, and my spare tube also had a puncture in it, so I had to ride on the rim the whole way down the Rip, continually pulling over for riders behind me — that was a bit of a nightmare.”
So take heed Test of Metal rookies out there….instead of going for a ride tonight to get ready, you might just wanna spend a few minutes in your garage fixing flats.
In case you’re not quite sure, this vid might help:
The NSCU Squamish Test of Metal cross-country mountain bike race covers a 67-kilometre course with over 1,200 meters of climbing and 35 kilometers of single-track. It’s an unforgettable day for everyone involved from the organizers, over 300 volunteers, thousands of spectators and of course the 1000 riders who begin their day with a mass start at Brennan Park, Squamish. For those in the saddle the unrelenting course will take the fastest just over 2 hours, the average competitor 3-4 hours and the humans 5-6 hours.