“Losing My Test of Metal Virginity”
by Crystal Lambert
2010Â began with the decision that this was the year I was going to complete the Test of Metal!Â Next on my list was to convince a close friend that it would be a great thing for us to accomplish the 67km bike race together.Â And with a little nudging she was on board!Â Getting a spot in the race itself was all there was left to do.Â We in no way trusted ourselves with the New Yearâ€™s Day sign up so we opted to join a training clinic that ensured we get a spot.Â After a bit of research we found that there were a few options for this and we chose the Endless Biking Enduro XC Training Program and signed up!
We hit the gym with the TOM as our goal right away.Â To some this may seem early to start training, and maybe it was, but neither of us was super fit nor very experienced riders so we were pretty nervous.
Fast forward to Februaryâ€¦ my friend and TOM team-mate had a crash and ended up with a bad concussion.Â Sadly she could no longer complete the TOM an onward alone I went.
In April the EB Enduro XC Training Program began.Â It was a 10 week long training clinic with rides twice a week, coached by women and men who have competed in and won numerous races.Â Many of you already know that EB has fantastic programs and coaches but I have to plug them yet again.Â The Enduro XC Program was amazing!Â I honestly miss the grueling rides and hard-ass coaching.
Every week and every ride I would gain more confidence, stamina and knowledge.Â Two weeks before the TOM one of our training rides was to compete in, and presumably finish the North Shore Marathon XC Race.Â My first race was looming and I was nauseous nervous but felt prepared as long as mentally I could hold it together.Â Before I knew it I was running around a baseball field, riding through a pump track and generally being yelled at.Â I had officially started my very first bike race!Â During the race I tried to keep calm and only worry about myself.Â It worked and I had a really fun ride on some challenging terrain.
The North Shore XC Race was 27km and I completed it in approximately 3:45.Â My level of concern for the time it would take me to complete the 67km TOM was growing.Â It was just 2 short weeks, 1 parental visit and 3 training rides away.
Finally race day had arrived!Â The TOM begins with an 800 person mass start which is fantastic to witness.Â With the sun shining the riders were pumped!Â I lined up in my 5 hr finish time spot and waited.Â The National Anthem played and it was time.Â Being at the back of the pack it was awesome to see the hundreds of riders leave Brennan Park and begin the ride down Hwy 99.
The first thing you notice when riding in the TOM is the energy of the volunteers and spectators.Â Residents are out in their drive-ways with music and horns and water sprinklers and they all cheered just as loudly for me (probably somewhere around rider 778 out of 800) as they did for the first rider.Â It was amazing and you couldnâ€™t help but get caught up in it.Â And it didnâ€™t end there.Â All through the 67kms were friendly, energetic faces and yells of support.Â I was lucky enough to have my own mini support team on hand to follow me around with cheesy signs my concussed team-mate made to help me along.
Five hours and nine minutes later I pulled through the finish line.Â When I hooked up with my family the first thing they mentioned was every time they saw me I was grinning from ear to ear.Â Granted there were times when I was tired and sore but I enjoyed every minute of it and canâ€™t wait to do it again!