There was a long line on Saturday morning when the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association opened its annual bike swap to the public, kicking off the busiest swap yet for the mountain bike organization.
By the end of the day the association sold over 300 items, generating between $109,000 and $111,000 in sales, which doesn't include the gross sales by three vendors who set up shop at the swap this year.
That translates to roughly $14,000 raised for WORCA's youth programs, subsidizing youth dirt camps for roughly 300 riders over the summer and providing backing for the Whistler Secondary high school mountain bike team.
While this year's swap was busier than those in the past there were no shortage of volunteers, which kept the swap moving smoothly. There was a miscommunication regarding payouts, but otherwise there were no incidents. The three vendors reported strong sales and provided WORCA with over $1,000 at the end of the day.
The previous record for a bike swap was the $107,000 in sales reported in 2009, which raised $12,000 for youth programs.
WORCA gets organized for Toonie Rides
The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association has made a few changes to the Toonie Ride calendar this year, organizing and mapping routes for all 20 races well in advance and taking steps to mix up the variety of trails.
"The big thing is that we've tried to break up the order of races," explained race director Tony Horn. "Last year we had a lot of races in a row at Lost Lake, and on Blackcomb and Lost Lake, so this year we've moved it around a bit to make the flow of races more exciting."
The only exception is at the start of the season when the first two events are scheduled for the "No Flow" zone around Emerald Estates.
The first Toonie Ride of the season is on May 6, with Evolution, Alpine Café, AOW and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory sponsoring a ride on Shit Happens. The sign-in is at the yellow gate at the top of Emerald Estates and riders are asked to park elsewhere if they're driving to the event and to register online to make sign-in easier. Registration gets underway at 5:30 p.m. and the race is at 7:30 p.m.
Memberships are $40 for adults and $25 for juniors, and family memberships are available that offer discounts for two adults and up to two children 18 or under.
The May 13 race sponsored by Whistler Bike Co. includes part of Shit Happens, Big Kahuna, Trail and Error and Section 102, although slower riders can just ride the Section 102.
WORCA typically hosts the first event of the season, but is waiting until September to coordinate their event with the grand opening of the Austria Passive House that was donated to the municipality and will include space for WORCA and the Whistler Nordics.
While the economy is still recovering, Horn says there were no shortage of businesses and groups looking to host races this year and they were forced to turn sponsors away. Trail director Jerome David is trying to recruit a few of those to help sponsor trail maintenance events through the summer.
Trail maintenance sponsors needed
With most of their reserve funds spent over the past two seasons on various trail projects WORCA is scaling back its contract trail work to normal levels this year and refocusing on volunteer trail events.
The first of two trail sweep days is on May 8. The second is on May 22. Following that trail director Jerome David is planning two trail days per month through the summer for a total of eight days and is recruiting sponsors to help with the cost of providing food and refreshments to trail workers. In exchange those sponsors will be mentioned in at least five WORCA ads.
Last year volunteers put hundreds of hours of work into local trails and completed new trails like the new Get Over It. Volunteers also revived the link between Shit Happens and Alpine Meadows, although that section is now closed due to construction in the area above the Rainbow subdivision.
If you are interested in sponsoring an event, contact Jerome David through www.worca.com.