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Thread: test of metal

  1. #1
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    test of metal

    Hi all
    I'm in the test of metal in June - what do i need to know? (I've of course looked at the website and coursemap)

    riding a FS carbon 29er. what types of tires should i use?
    any insight on the course? I've never been to Squamish before.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    ups and downs
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    Tires will depend on the weather leading up to the race, it might be dry and loamy or wet and muddy.

    Where are you located?
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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    I'm in British Columbia as well but no where near Squamish. I've never ridden in that area

  4. #4
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    Squamish trails look a lot like this...and there's a lot of climbing and a couple of very tricky descents.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails test of metal-2011_0326new0007-1.jpg  

    test of metal-2010_0306new0013.jpg  

    test of metal-2010_0306new0028.jpg  

    test of metal-2010_0724new0006.jpg  

    test of metal-2010_0306new0015.jpg  

    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  5. #5
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    sweeet!

  6. #6
    LMN
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    The first half of the course is fast and not technical, the second half the course is quite a bit slower and has some technical challenges.

    Even in extreme wet the course stays pretty quick. I would pick a tire that rolls decently, but is durable. Some think like an Ikon with EXO protection would be perfect, no matter what the conditions.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Thanks for the feedback guys! Much appreciated

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    See you there. I'll be the skinny guy riding a Specialized Epic.

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    Thanks. I'll be the fat guy on the tallboy just trying to finish!

  10. #10
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Welcome to the party bikeriderguy! I'm signed-up for my 6th ToM as a ‘fat guy just trying to finish.’ ;-)

    It is an amazing experience of pain and suffering... where you start questioning your sanity by mid-race (aka Bonk Hill) ...but by your second post-race beer are already planning your triumphant return next year! :-P

    As said above, the conditions are dependant on the weather before and during race day… however I’ve only experienced one hot-dry ToM (my first in 2004), I’d say plan for it to be wet and slippery… especially if you are a ‘slow fat guy’ the single track is quite a mess by the time you get to it with 700+ riders ahead of you! 2004 was also the only year I ran heavy sticky freeride tires …and I did not need them… semi-slicks would have done it that year! That was also the only year I did not finish (cut-off at the TOP of Bonk Hill), while the over-kill tires probably did not help, my underestimation of the training needed to finish is what really killed me.

    Every other year I have run Panaracer Fire XC Pros (and finished, but again preparation was probably a greater factor than tires). The Fire XC’s are fairly light, and a good compromise of rolling resistance and good grip in most conditions (many tires fit this description, I just stick with what I know)… only time the grip is not sufficient is when it gets wet in rooty sections like the “Powerhouse Plunge” (had a few good crashes in there last year!) … then I’m wishing I had those Sticky Freeride tires again! ;-) …but on the climbs I’m glad I do not!

    I have had some tube related flats (pinch flats) in the past couple ToM’s (really kills your confidence when you are sitting on the ground fixing a flat in the first half of the race while it seems like ‘everybody’ is passing you by) I’m considering a tubeless setup this year.

    As LMN said, the first half of the race is “fast and not technical”, mostly on-road, fire-roads and some fast –flowy single track under the power lines. Lots of fun, but pace yourself, the race really does not start until the mid-point at Bonk Hill. The second half is where all of the real climbs and technical down hills happen… and if you are exhausted by the time you get to the bottom of Bonk Hill, you are not going to make it!

    My suggestion is if you can get up to Squamish for some pre-riding, focus on the second half… the Power House to Power House loop and Crumpet Woods if you have a chance. There really are no surprises in the first half, nothing technically difficult (figuring out the right pace to make sure you hit the cut-offs without exhausting yourself is probably the biggest thing in the first half). The second half is much more challenging than you expect if you have not ridden those sections before. The climbs go on forever and the descents do have some reasonably technical sections… if you are hitting these part of the track for the first time already exhausted from a couple hours of riding… it is daunting! If you are not able to get up to Squamish to do the full course ahead of race day, make sure you get in at least a couple comparable rides in (>60KM with >1500m of climbing) in the weeks ahead of the race. What killed me on my first attempt was my training rides were too short… 15-30km rides were my usual weekend rides and I was feeling confident after those… but in ToM when you get to 30km it is only getting started and if you have not prepared for the second 30+km’s (that start with 10km of almost non-stop climbing!) you are going to be in trouble!

    My ToM ride last year can be viewed here: Test of Metal 2011 (complete) by sh0rty at Garmin Connect - Details
    (my personal worst placing, I think I was 7th from last of those who finished… but I finished!)

    If you are looking for another big-slow-guy to do some training rides with, either up at Squamish on a weekend or around the Vancouver area, send me a PM. I just got out for my first solo training ride of the season this past weekend… I’m in rough shape and need whatever training I can get! ;-)

    If not before, see you on race day!

    sh0rty :P
    Last edited by sh0rty; 03-06-2012 at 05:32 PM. Reason: spelling & icon

  11. #11
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    Thanks Shorty!

    Thanks for taking the time out to write that info up Shorty! Very much appreciated.

    I sent you a PM with my contact details. I'm in the interior of BC and may be into a pre-ride or if your in my neighborhood I'd be glad to take you out.

    thanks again to everyone who provided responses to this thread!

    cheers
    jb

  12. #12
    LMN
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    Where in the interior are you based?
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Kamloops. U in the area?

  14. #14
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeriderguy View Post
    Kamloops. U in the area?
    We probably see each other on the trails.

    Unfortunately the Kamloops trails are quite a bit different then Squamish trails. Best bet would to spend some time riding in Salmon Arm. The trails there are at least closer to Squamish style.

    If it is dry you shouldn't have any problems, but the second half of the course can be tricky in the wet for us desert dwellers.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Thanks LMN. I'm the fat old guy on the black tallboy. Good advice in salmon arm. It's on the list of places to ride this year. We ride revelstoke quite often and it's amazing how in some spots around that area its like the coast. Good riding!

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    i'm doing the Salty Dog there in May. Are you saying the trails at Salmon Arm are similar to squamish. If so it will be a good warm up for the ToM. The trails around Penticton are definitely not like Squamish.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pen-Mtb View Post
    i'm doing the Salty Dog there in May. Are you saying the trails at Salmon Arm are similar to squamish. If so it will be a good warm up for the ToM. The trails around Penticton are definitely not like Squamish.
    No the tails in Salmon Arm are closer to Squamish then those in Kamloops. At least the trails in Penticton are Rocky.

    Revelstoke is probably the closes to Squamish in the interior.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  18. #18
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    If you're the least bit prone to cramping, be prepared!!

    I cramped both times I did the TOM but seeing and hearing guys rolling around on the ground yelling from cramping is a bit disconcerting! Of course, you can make up time on these guys too.

    Cramping seems to hit the worst after the Ring Creek Rip and when you enter the Plunge. Could be after the long descent your muscles seize.

    I think by far the best experience with doing the TOM is the huge crowds. The aid station at the bottom of the Plunge feels like you're in the Tour de France there's so many people cheering you on. Plus all the residents in the neighbourhoods are out in force, kids are spraying hoses on you and it's all good fun.

    I don't know if I'll ever do it again but it's definitely worthwhile at least once.

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    The Salmon Arm - Revelstoke area have some very interesting forest areas that are very similiar to the coast - very damp, ceder & fern filled. In Revelstoke you also have the option of going very high - in the alpine which is an incredible experience which I strongly recommend if you get a chance.

    The Thompson - Okanagan - Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton is a desert wasteland by comparison. Sand, Cactus and sharp rocks and pine forests.

    Here's a link that has some pictures of the Mt Mchperson trails in revelstoke - super fun trail system

    Mt. MacPherson - Revelstoke - Aug 27 2007
    Last edited by bikeriderguy; 03-09-2012 at 11:18 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeriderguy View Post
    The Salmon Arm - Revelstoke area have some very interest forest areas them that are very similiar to the coast - very damp, Ceder & fern filled. In Revelstoke you also have the option of going very high - in the alpine which is an incredible experience which I strongly recommend if you get a chance.

    The Thompson - Okanagan - Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton is a desert wasteland by comparison. Sand, Cactus and sharp rocks and pine forests.

    Here's a link that has some pictures of the Mt Mchperson trails in revelstoke - super fun trail system

    Mt. MacPherson - Revelstoke - Aug 27 2007
    The revelstoke trails are sweet. I liked them more a couple of years ago, there has been a lot of root clipping going on and the trails have gotten way too buff and smooth for my taste, and I ride a 26inch hardtail with an 80mm fork.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  21. #21
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    Last year it was Thursday nights in Revelstoke and Wednesday nights in Salmon Arm the guys at Skookum put on a group ride. Guided tour around the local trails and then nibblies afterwards.

    Definitely some very green and wet trails in both areas that are surprisingly like Squamish

  22. #22
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Slowup View Post
    Cramping seems to hit the worst after the Ring Creek Rip and when you enter the Plunge. Could be after the long descent your muscles seize.
    Funny you say that, I have only cramped once in my 6 attempts (last year), and it was right at the top of the plunge as you describe. Your explanation makes perfect sense... your legs will cool-down durring the Rip where pedaling is mostly unnessesary, but comming off of a 10km climb it is probably good to keep the legs moving anyway.

    sh0rty :P

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    i don't usually cramp that badly but I did in the Cheakamus Challenge a couple of years ago. It was more of a seizing tham cramping.
    I was pretty well spent before the last climb up the road Kadenwood and then coming down the last couple of kms to the finish I started cramping. When i got to the finish I could not get of the bike. My groin and hamstrings were totally locked up. Just glad it happened at the end and not during the race.

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