When Test of Metal started its final race last June, one of the riders at the front of the pack was Sean Daly.
He wasn’t expecting to be and was surprised to be among the small ceremonial group riding out front for the beginning of the race, alongside race founder Cliff Miller.
Daly had been involved behind the scenes for the previous 10 years, helping to organize it as well as sponsor it as store manager at Nesters Market, and had also ridden the race several times.
“I’ve ridden six Test of Metals,” he said. “Each one is different.”
He wanted to see the race keep going, as did others, but he understood that for many of the longtime organizers it was the right time to end the race.
“I didn’t disagree with their reasons.”
More recently, he joined Dwayne Kress, Just Another Bike Race’s co-director, and others to get a new race series going behind a flagship race called the Spakwus 50 Marathon Mountain Bike Race and BC Provincial XCM Championships next June. They got rolling once they realized they had some of the necessary ingredients, such as the riders, trails and some of the organizers from the Test of Metal series.
“The ball sort of rolled from there,” he said. “We decided we could make a race.”
Daly and Nesters Market will be sponsoring and he is also working behind the scenes with the new race.
In fact, Kress gives Daly a lot of credit for bringing the new race to life.
“It was him that decided, ‘Let’s keep this going,’” he said.
One thing that everyone agreed on was the need to get a new race going to pick up where Test of Metal left off so quickly. With a limited amount of time available during the summer months and more things on the Squamish calendar, the organizers of Spakwus 50 realized they had to keep that weekend available for a mountain bike race.
“To lose that momentum would be gut-wrenching,” Kress said.
They are also holding smaller races in the spring during the weekends for the old OreCrusher and GearJammer races from the Test series.
Over the years the Test of Metal fostered the development of many Team Squamish members, so the new race will provide the same fertile ground for riders.
“We’re excited Dwayne’s stepped up and is continuing our strong cycling tradition, not just for Squamish but for the whole Sea to Sky Corridor,” Team Squamish coach Mike Charuk said.
He added that he was looking forward to the relationship between the new race and the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association in terms of trail development in the community and how it will provide more opportunities to develop up-and-coming mountain bike riders.
The Spakwus 50 will take place June 17 over a 55-kilometre course that includes 2,400 metres of climbing through trails around Garibaldi Highlands. The course will include some parts of routes from previous races.