The organizer behind Squamish’s legendary Test of Metal mountain bike race series has been honoured by the province’s largest cycling organization.
Last week, Cliff Miller was inducted into the B.C. Cycling Hall of Fame at the Cycling BC 2015 Awards Ceremony. The annual event, held in Burnaby, recognizes outstanding athletes, coaches, clubs and race officials.
Miller dedicated 20 years of his life to promoting mountain biking and developing one of the province’s most outstanding races, said Team Squamish lead mountain biking coach Mike Charuk.
“He is just constantly putting on a world-class race,” Charuk said of the Winnipeg native. “He’s worked through good times and bad with Cycling B.C. to make that race a reality.”
Miller founded the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA). In 1994, Miller and Kevin McLane picked up the torch to reignite the Test of Metal. World champions and Olympics athletes have used the race as a foundation to move their sports careers forward, Charuk said.
“It’s really a development race for many people,” he noted.
Miller wasn’t the only Squamish resident to take to the stage at the awards. Eighteen-year-old Rhys Verner was the B.C. champion for mountain biking and cycle cross. He also collected an overall first place for Under-19 division in the premier series, which tallies up the top five results from eight races. Holden Jones won the overall series for the Under-17 division.
Squamish’s Cory LeClerc won best mountain coach for his involvement with the Squamish-based C4 racing team. The team also won the best mountain bike club and Team Squamish won the best youth mountain bike team.
Charuk won best youth coach. He recently completed coaching school for an advanced coaching diploma with the Canadian Sports Institute.
Team Squamish had a busy year, Charuk said. Hunter Verner and Nick Kleban competed with Holden at the nationals in Quebec.
Charuk hopes to see more female riders out for the 2016 season. This year, Kei Gray, Michaela Hoskin and Sorsha Henning competed in the Test of Metal, Charuk said.
Team Squamish and the cycling academy at Howe Sound Secondary School are building a strong base of youth riders in Squamish, Charuk said.
“Success breeds success.”
The community has a number of World Cup riders who have become mentors to the younger cyclists, he said. Team Squamish also enjoys great support from community backers in town including Sean Daly, the manager of Nester’s Market Squamish.
“We couldn’t have done it without him,” Charuk said.