The first Test of Metal mountain bike race was held at Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast, back in the early 1990s. At that time, the race was known as the Brodie Test of Metal. The Brodie Test of Metal was then held in Squamish on the trails above Alice Lake in 1994 and 1995.
When Brodie discontinued with its Test of Metal, Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) founder and president Cliff Miller and Squamish mountain biking and rock climbing guidebook author and publisher Kevin McLane met in a pub one night and drew out a proposed new Test of Metal race course on the back of a coaster. Miller subsequently obtained the rights to the Test of Metal and incorporated it as a company. That was the easy part. Now came the hard work.
To establish the 67-kilometre route, the Ring Creek Rip was turned into a true high-speed rip, below it the Powerhouse Plunge was built from scratch, the 20-metre footbridge over Ring Creek was built to link the two halves of the course, and the development of the Far Side through Crumpit Woods provided the crucial link to complete the course. All of this construction, the majority of which was done by volunteers, was done in the space of eight months.
Thus, with incredible community support which continues to this day, the Squamish Test of Metal was reborn in 1996, evolving into a mass start point to point race on its present course, although that first year it started and finished in downtown Squamish.
In 1998 the Test of Metal was won by Canadian Olympian Geoff Kabush (9th in the mountain bike cross-country at the 2000 Olympics).
The Test of Metal has since grown rapidly and now sells out early every year. The race is limited to 800 participants to ensure that the trails are not overcrowded – the Test of Metal organizers are absolutely committed to providing a quality experience for all racers.
In 2002, the Test of Metal launched a new much expanded web site which included the ability to purchase race entries online. Since then, the race has been selling out at an accelerated pace.
To put on the Test of Metal and Mountain Bike Festival, upwards of 300 volunteers are required. As well, a core group of 35 Test pilots work year-round on the race and festival. This is a true grassroots event. While Miller owns the company that promotes and runs the Test of Metal and Mountain Bike Festival, he never has and never will draw a salary from the company. Any profit above what is required to run this event goes back into the community of Squamish to promote and develop mountain biking and trails.