Although it feels like it's taking forever, snow is gradually starting to disappear from trails and forests, clearing the way for another busy mountain bike season.
The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, which broke the 1,500 member mark the previous two years, has been working behind the scenes to prepare for 2011, organizing the upcoming bike swap, the Toonie Race calendar, Dirt Camp registration and more.
There have been delays due to the snow and other administrative matters, but as of this week everything is back on track.
Toonie Ride season starts May 12
There is a very good chance that there will be snow on the trails for the first Toonie Ride of the season tonight, but the show must go on.
The May 12 race is sponsored by Slope Side Supply, with registration at the House Rock parking area in the Riverside Trails - cross the old bridge and look for a road on your left that takes you back towards the river. Registration is from 5:30 p.m. and the race gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
The after-party is at the Slope Side Supply warehouse in Function Junction, opposite Rona on Alpha Lake Road, with some help from Happy Planet and Clif Bar.
The event is also a fundraiser for Whistler-based Bicycles for Humanity, an organization that collects used bikes and bike gear and ships it to Africa where they are used as transportation and machinery for industry.
In total there are 19 races on the Toonie calendar this year, sponsored by 45 local businesses and organizations. A complete list of the rides and sponsors, including course maps when available, will be posted on the WORCA homepage at www.worca.com.
The format will be the same as previous years - everybody pays $2 to enter, and the top male and female rider get $50 each. The top juniors win prizes. The remainder of the money will go to WORCA to cover trail maintenance.
You need to be a member to enter, and online registration is encouraged to prevent long lines for the first few weeks.
WORCA has made a few changes this year to pricing. An adult membership (19 and over) is increasing to $45 from $40, representing the first increase in seven seasons. There are no longer family memberships available but the price has been kept low for younger riders - $25 for youth 13 to 18 and $15 for kids 12 and under.
Membership allows participants to take part in Toonie Rides, Monday Night Rides, Phat/PhaSt Wednesday downhill races, clinics, camps and associated events like the West Side Wheel Up and an all new women's only event (Betty vs. Veronica) that will be announced in the future.