Saturday, June 14, 2008

2008 Test Of Metal

When I signed up for the Test of Metal this year, I knew I'd be looking forward to a bit of pain and some leg cramps. And I was right. The cramps started early and lasted to the end. As far as the pain , a friend once told me, "pain is only weakness leaving your body"......... and there's no weakness left in my body.

The day started early with a 6 a.m. rise, shower and breakfast. I hit the road early to beat traffic and to get to Squamish nice and early. I made sure to drink lots, I ate well and was rested come start time.

At the start line I slotted myself in at the 4.5 - 5 hour finishing time. I was confident in my riding ability and fitness level to finish within that time slot.

This picture was taken on Jack's Trail during the race . It is a tight, single track trail that is basically level, but has a lot of roots that some found hard to negotiate. Because we were down to single file, it caused back ups whenever someone stumbled. Some racers showed their smiles for my picture, others muttered their frustrations with the back up.

The next classic section is Rock and Roll. It is a section of the course that consisted of a steeper, bermed, rocky dirt section lined with dozens of spectators - where people with experience riding fast down hill on technical DH type terrain can give the people something to watch........just up my alley.

Karma thought it was time to play a sick joke on me after bombing through the Roller Coaster section. I must have cut someone off, because my legs began to cramp and my thighs and calves turned into knots. Every single pedal stroke for the rest of the race was a battle with the knots in my thighs and calves. It slowed me down so much that rest of the race ended up being a good 4 more hours.

At the top of the last major climb I stopped with some course volunteers to take a photo. The scenery is truly spectacular. In the future I plan to come out and ride some sections of the course and take in the views.

On my Rune, the Ring Creek rip was a freaking blast. 6" of plush travel helped me catch a dozen or so people that passed me on the climb. And after the rip, there is a section called the Power House Plunge, which is a steep rocky technical descent that sees a lot of carnage. I had a lot of fun carving my way on this particular section.

After the plunge it was on to Crumpit Woods aka Crampit Woods. My legs were now numb with cramps but I knew the pain was almost over. After about a half hour of up and down twisty single track climbing, I was out to the road. It was then a quick 2 minute pedal on a gravel path to cross the finish line.

My time was not anywhere near as good as I had hoped. My lack of training and inability to cope well with massive cramping slowed my down quite a bit. But I finished The Test in one piece and ZERO issues with my bike.

I am looking forward to next year's test. I have a year to train, to get stronger and to have less weakness in my body to escape during the race.

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