The Sp’akw’us 50 isn’t just a bike race. The Squamish, B.C., event, which is heading into its second year, is expanding from a single, one-day race to a weekend of fun that includes two timed competitions.
“The Test of Metal was really a culturally significant event for the town of Squamish,” said Dwayne Kress, the executive director of the Squamish Mountain Bike Festival Society, referring to the impact of the mountain bike race that ran from 1996 to 2016. “It really was much more than a bike race, and has inspired our event.”
Kress had been an organizer of the Just Another Bike Race (jabr) that was part of the Test of Metal series. Sean Daly of Nester’s Marketplace was looking to continue with some sort of event sponsorship, so the new event was born.
Taking its name from the Squamish Nation word for bald eagle, the 2018 Sp’akw’us 50 features a 50-km race on Saturday, followed by a 35-km race on Sunday. Riders can enter either race, or both to compete in a two-stage event. The 2017 edition sold out at 600 entrants, double the initial plan, so the expanded schedule will help more people to participate.
The course will make use of trails in the Alice Lake Park and Diamond Head networks. As with TOM, impromptu barbecues and street parties spring up throughout the weekend all over town.
“In creating this event, I’ve made a ride that is what I’d want to do if I had a day to ride with a bunch of friends,” Kress said. “None of this would be possible without all the efforts of the volunteers who give their time to make this event happen.
“The Test of Metal really created this environment and shaped this town in a way that made this event possible.” ( spakwus50.com)— Deancampbell