[QUOTE=cerealkilla';2909413]Not just Cliff, but also his incredible wife Darlene (sweetest party hostess on the planet!), Stewart Kerr, and a lot of other generous people have pretty much sacrificed their entire summer for the past 20 years to make this happen. TOM was never just a race, it was a week-long festival with kids events, downtown events, parties, camping, and one of the largest vollie and spectator turnouts for a MTB race in Canada. It is truly unbelievable what they accomplished and the stamp they put on the town.
The race series not only brought in tonnes of riders and money to the town, but also played a key role in preserving and expanding our trail system and providing an incredible nexus of activity where community was built and people came together. Each year there's hundreds upon hundreds of people out watching and cheering, and enjoying MTB as a true community event, even if they don't ride. People with signs, kids blowing bubbles, support teams in costumes, musicians in the woods. It's sooooooo much more than a race. For a day, almost everyone becomes a biker.
However, it puts heavy demands not only on the endlessly generous and gracious organizers, but also on the hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and community (police, traffic etc). I don't think anyone in Squamish will express anything other than initial shock, and then overflowing gratitude for this race and the series.
Yes, TOM itself wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but it was probably the ultimate beginners epic race, and go back a decade or so it was once considered among the toughest races in Canada. Things have changed in racing for sure, and now lots of people expect steep tech switchbacks and black diamond singletrack, with timed Enduro. That's all good, racing changes, things evolve. New opportunities will arise in the space that has been left behind. Maybe DK will carry on the JABR, and AH will carry on the Orecrusher without the TOM brand. We can only hope.
But XC racing is not dead by a long stretch. It has room to be tweaked but there are still lots of people interested in such events. I think a lot of the Squamish XC crowd will now be eyeing up spandex races in other places. Look out BC, the Squamish plum smugglers are coming! In the meantime, there is an incredible opportunity to build a new XC racing institution in Squamish. The TOM series dominated the weekends of the summer for so long, it was really tough for other events to gain a foothold, and the XC crowd at some points became pretty burned out. THe creative juices are literally boiling over with the endless streams of new ideas that could be brought to bear on our incredible trail system.
Personally, I am grateful beyond articulation for what this series brought to town, and can't think of a bottle of scotch good enough for Cliff. I'm also super excited for what might come next. Just sad that my dreams of a sub-3 time have finally died. Good times.