Test of Metal: ‘A Great Day Out with 800 of Your Closest Bike Friends’

Squamish Adventure’s Paula de Jong interviewed Cliff Miller, the local legend behind the Epic Test of Metal Mountain bike race series. This interview was first published on squamishadventure.com

 Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you came from?

I am originally born and raised in Winnipeg and then made the move to Philadelphia. 26 years ago I  received a job offer in Squamish and jumped on the opportunity to live on the west coast. After only 2 months of living in Squamish, I purchased my first mountain bike from Corsca and started to explore the trails after work. I was immediately hooked on the sport.

What are some of the changes you have witnessed in the last 26 years?
Twenty-six years ago Squamish was a small close nit community. The majority of the people who were living and working here were largely industry based. Over time Squamish has grown to become a young, vibrant and exciting town. It is a place of opportunity for those with the drive and desire to create their own opportunities.

What is your favourite thing to do in Squamish?

I am still very much into mountain biking and rock climbing, but I have found a new sport in powerlifting.

What is your ideal Squamish Adventure Day?
My ideal day off would start with a hike up the chief, followed by a BBQ and walk with the dogs. Ending with a quick bike ride. Fitting in as many activities as I can on my days off really fuels me to be able to put that much more energy into work.

what do you do for work?
My full time job is working for a drywall company, while my part time job is working on the Test of Metal. This is a year round commitment with 5 – 10 hours per week to organize the day. The massive support that we get from our sponsors and volunteers helps to lessen the workload.

How did the Test of Metal originate?

The first Test of Metal mountain bike race was held on the Sunshine Coast, 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, I met with rock climbing guidebook author and publisher Kevin McLane at the Brewpub and proposed a new Test of Metal race course on the back of a coaster. The first race was in 1996, with over 400 riders turning out from the lower mainland.

How has the Test of Metal evolved since that time?

The endearing quality of the Test Of Metal is the fact that it hasn’t changed over the years. The course has changed very little, with only a few minor changes. This consistency allows people to test their times year after year. We now have 800 riders at the start line and sell out every year, we prefer to limit the quantity of entrances to be able to put on a quality race.

What makes the Test of Metal a Local Favourite?

The Test of Metal is one of the premier bike races in BC, we are the longest running bike race in the province and possible in Canada. The test is not the most technical race course, nor the hardest but it is just a great day out with 800 of your closest bike friends. We have created a test of metal community of bike racers, participants and volunteers who keep coming back year after year.
The community collaboration supporting the race is fantastic, we have so many local fans that are out rain or shine supporting and cheering the riders on course. Their is a real sense of community pride behind the Test of Metal Series, we have an inner circle of over 40 volunteers with over 350 on the race weekends. Without the volunteers and community sponsors, like the Brewpub, Nesters and local bike shops, we would not be able to make the race happen.