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Bike clubs to honour Al Grey


The Whistler Off Road Cycling Association, or WORCA, and its Pemberton counterpart PORCA, are planning tributes to Al Grey (a.k.a. Al Presidenté) in recognition of his contributions to mountain biking in the corridor.

After a long battle with colitis, Grey died while ski touring in the Cayoosh Valley on Dec. 20 when a blood clot triggered a cardiac arrest.

The popular 46-year-old Pemberton Secondary teacher was legendary for his love of the outdoors and commitment to mountain biking. His energy and ability to work with different groups and organizations helped to keep trails open in Whistler and Pemberton.

During his tenure as president of WORCA, Grey helped boost membership numbers from a few hundred cyclists to over 1,000. After moving to Pemberton five years ago, he served as president of PORCA.

In his memory, WORCA plans to name a new bridge over Wedge Creek that’s being built as part of the new Foreplay trail the "Al Presidenté Crossing."

"We don’t know whether we’re going to put a plaque up or a picture or what, but the idea is to create something like the Lumpy’s Epic sign," said WORCA president Tony Horn. Geoff ‘Lumpy’ Leidal was a local mountain bike enthusiast who died in an avalanche four years ago.

"You pass under that sign and it’s ‘cool, Lumpy’s here’," Horn said. "That’s the kind of memorial we’re looking at."

Foreplay – which has become a joint effort between the original trail builder Chris Markle, WORCA and the Resort Municipality of Whistler – will run from north of Green Lake to the Old Mill Road in Lost Lake Park.

PORCA is still deciding what their tribute will be, but one of the ideas is to build the trail that Grey wanted to build if the cycling association can get permission from the Ministry of Forests. The trail would be called "Old And Grey."

Pemberton Secondary has also established the Al Grey Scholarship Fund to help students take part in an outdoor recreation program that Grey helped to create at the high school.

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