The hot pursuit 

Heat, humidity factors in Test of Metal bike race

The heat was on intense for the 67-kilometre Test of Metal mountain bike race on June 22, with temperatures climbing as high as 27 degrees Celsius for the more than 800 participants.

If the heat bothered the cyclists, you wouldn’t know it by their times.

Carter Hovey of Victoria won the Elite men’s category this year with a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds. Hovey is an experienced road and mountain biker who finished second in the 2000 Test of Metal behind Whistler’s Chad Miles.

Michael Pruner of North Vancouver, third in the 2001 Test, was second overall. Andrew Kyle of Vancouver, second in last year’s race, was third.

In the women’s Elite race, Eron Chorney of North Vancouver was first in 3:26:19, after finishing in sixth place the year before. Sandra Walter of Coquitlam, first last year, placed second by less than two minutes. Linda Robichaud of Victoria was third for the second year in a row.

Four Whistler racers placed in the top 10 of the men’s race, and one in the women’s race.

Totsui Shunsuke, racing for Whistler, was fifth overall in 2:53:28. In sixth was Will Routley, in his first year as an adult, in 2:55:40. Dave Burch was ninth overall in 3:01:26. In 10th, also in his first year out of the juniors, was Tyler West in 3:03:28.

In the women’s Elite race, local downhiller Sylvie Allen showed she could go uphill pretty quickly too, finishing ninth overall.

According to Routley, the heat was impossible to ignore.

"It was hot and humid, it definitely took it out of you," he said. "I just tried to take it steady, focus on anything but the heat, but I lost about 10 pounds during the race."

The heat also made the downhill and singletrack sections of the race more difficult, said Routley.

"You definitely go sloppy in the single track when you’re overheating, and pretty much exhausted."

Routley has been shaving five minutes off his time every year he has raced the Test of Metal, and this year was no exception. While he expected to crack the top 10, he said it was a bit of a surprise to find himself sixth overall.

Routley is currently ranked 16 th in Canada on the national Canada Cup circuit, after attending the first three races in eastern provinces this year with the help of his sponsors.

He will be racing in the Grouse Mountain World Cup cross country on July 7, and is looking forward to the nationals at Sun Peaks for his chance to qualify for the World Championships is Austria.

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