Evan Rides Bikes

Merritt Crown 2020

My posts on bike races are pretty formulaic. "I did this race. These are the reasons it was awesome. You should do it. Thanks to the organizers." For the Merritt Crown I have to add a "this race might not be for you if" section. It's still an awesome race. I still think you should do it. I'm still grateful to the organizers for putting on such a fun event. To make the best of the Merritt Crown, at least the 2020 Merritt Crown, you need either more preparation or more patience than most cross-country mountain bike races usually take.

The course signage is minimal, which is understandable for a small grassroots event with a long course. The organizers are very clear about this in the race description and in all communications leading up to the event. They urge all riders to carry a phone with the route loaded on it so they can follow the course that way. Even riding with a phone in your pocket you are likely to make some wrong turns. This means you have to be patient or you have to be prepared. Being patient in this case means accepting that you'll go off course …

Sp'akw'us 50 2017

For a while it looked like 2017 might be a year without long cross-country mountain bike races in Squamish. In 2016 Test of Metal Inc. organized the last run of its four iconic races — The Ore Crusher, The Test of Metal, The Gear Jammer, and the JABR (Just Another Bike Race). I'd be saving a few dollars in race registration fees and I'd have a few more summer Saturdays free, but I was going to really miss these events. They were always incredibly well-run. Spectators came out in droves making all the racers, regardless of speed or athleticism, feel like champions. For those of us lucky enough to live in Squamish it was nice to race on our home trails.

Thankfully the Sp'akw'us 50 was announced, backed by a non-profit society called the Squamish Mountain Bike Festival whose name hints at larger ambitions in years to come. Many of the key people behind the Sp'akw'us 50 had also been involved in the Test of Metal series of races. The Sp'akw'us landed on the same weekend that the Test of Metal was traditionally held, making it clearly a successor to the Test.

The race started with a loop through a defunct …

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