It's funny, whenever anyone first hears about Squamish's prized mountain bike event, The Test of Metal, after the initial, "they bike for how long!?" comes the inevitable Test Math.
That's the math that one immediately does when given the two most readily available numbers which are, the number of riders, and the entry fee. So, 800 riders, at $60 a pop that's carry the one holy crap, that's a lot of money! Man, event organizer Cliff Miller must be just raking it in.
For those that know Cliff, this is immediately followed by a good chuckle knowing the only thing Cliff receives from the Test is thinning hair from a year of organizational stress only those in the same position can appreciate.
For those inclined to believe someone is raking in huge bucks from this event, you're absolutely right and that person is you, me and everyone else in Squamish. While the event organizers get ulcers and headaches, Test of Metal Inc. is a not-for-profit company that puts each and every penny back in the community.
That is, all that's left after they take care of the countless expenses. Everything from event fees and administrative costs to trail maintenance and prizing. Not to mention looking after 300-plus volunteers, and astronomical insurance costs.
Any money remaining is given to a literal laundry list of worthy places: the Squamish Emergency Program, Team Squamish, high school mountain bike programs, SORCA, Cycling BC, the girls under-14 soccer club, Howe Sound Minor Football, the Squamish Trails Society, and more. Neither the race director nor any of the organizing committee receive any salary for their efforts.
So it is with bated breath that we await the results from this year's Test of Metal. Sure, the rider results are interesting, but this year an official study will finally get to put a number on just how much moolah is actually dropped in our town due directly to this event.
Maybe then we will finally get the provincial political will to hurry up and protect our trails. Of course that's coming from a guy who just finished his fifth bike event on trails that have been slated for condos for quite some time.
Thankfully, we managed to sneak one more successful year out of the mountain bike carnival known as Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls (BVOD). Right off the bat I must acknowledge my lovely power behind the throne's indispensable help each and every year. Once again the event that pushes people up and down five local mountains was a smashing success due mainly to the fact that no one got hurt enough to sue and I didn't lose money.
In fact at the end there's a couple hundred bucks raised for Squamish Emergency Program and SORCA. Not too shabby for just another showcase event bringing people and their money to the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.