Test of Metal rolls this weekend 

While the main event of the annual North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal festival is the sold-out, 67-kilometre, 800-plus rider Test of Metal mountain bike race, there is a lot more going on this year.

This Friday, June 19, the Pre-Test Party takes over the Squamish downtown with a Show'n'Shine Cruiser Ride from the Brackendale Bistro and Republic Bicycles to the downtown. Riders meet at 2:30 p.m. and can make their leisurely way to the other Pre-Test events.

The Funny Races take place at 6 p.m. with teams of four riding kids bikes on a special course.

The Velcro Olympics take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., inviting participants to experiment.

There is a Bike Poker event, with kids at 6:30 p.m. and adults at 7:30 p.m., challenging participants to ride their bikes to dealers around town and come back with the best hand.

Music will be provided by Dead Heathers and Jamatonics from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Hevy Hoops bike limbo and dancing.

Bike lovers that participate in Pre-Test events will get coupons for local businesses that will are good for discounts of up to 25 per cent through the Test of Metal weekend.

Other events are the Carb Load at the Howe Sound Brewing Company from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with DJ's playing the party afterwards.

The actual Test of Metal gets underway on Saturday at 11 a.m., starting at the Brennan Park Recreation Centre. There will be a staggered start again this year, with riders placing themselves into start groups based on how long they expect to be out on course.

This is the second year for the staggered start, which helped to break up the field on the first singletrack section, let the fast riders get out quickly, and let the slower riders race at their own pace.

The annual Mini Metal takes place Sunday at Station Centre Mall, with a Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m., and a special course for kids age three to 10 opening at 10 a.m.

The Rockstar Invitational Downhill gets underway at noon on Sunday, with invited riders riding a selection of trails including Cougar Ridge, Endo and Raven's Plateau.

New this year is the Linda Carney Rotary Cares Celebrity Challenge, a fun team event where riders will leave from the start of the Test of Metal at 11 a.m., and make their way up a series of roads to the top of Perth Road.

For more information, visit www.testofmetal.com.

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