The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association's (WORCA's) 20th anniversary is not just a time to look back, but also a time for new beginnings - and that includes finally changing the name from the weekly Loonie Races to Toonie Rides to better reflect inflation (it's cost more than $1 to enter for 10 years), as well as the recreational nature of the weekly events. Some athletes do race, but the majority of mountain bikers are turning out for a ride.
This year, past-president Tony Horn signed on as the race director for WORCA. There was a huge amount of interest at the annual date fixing meeting, and as a result the group will be hosting a full slate of 22 races this year, starting with the first event on Thursday, April 30. It's actually 23 races when you include the now annual Halloween Toonie, and WORCA will also sanction at least four weekend events over the summer.
Horn was amazed by the number of businesses that signed on to host or co-host events this year.
"We're really impressed with the fact even though it's a tough economy the sponsors still came forward. It really says a lot about the community and what these races mean," said Horn.
That said, riders may need to adjust their expectations for after race food and refreshments, as companies are hesitant to spend top dollar at a time when they've been forced to cut back and lay off staff. "These events should be about the ride anyway. There will still be good parties, but it could be a little bit different than we're used to."
WORCA will sponsor the first race, on April 30 in Lost Lake Park, although a final decision will be made closer to the date after inspecting trails for snow. The details are the same as past years, with registration getting underway at 5:30 p.m. and the ride starting at 6:30 p.m. The après is at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, which is providing food and a cash bar.
Registration will be available online in the next week, but if you plan to register on race day then organizers are asking people to come early to prevent long lines at the sign-up table.
Races will continue every Thursday through September.
Special events backed by WORCA this year include a 20 th anniversary celebration and race in August, the Ken Quon Ride On Memorial, the West Side Wheel Up and a new event called the Four Jakes that will take place over two evenings and two days in July. More details on all of those events and information on the weekly races will be published at www.worca.com.
Bike swap details announced
The annual WORCA bike swap is scheduled for Saturday, May 2 in Creekside, with similar rules and conditions as previous years. The bike and bike gear drop-off is between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. at the cost of $2 per tag, and WORCA will charge a commission of 15 per cent on items $999 and under and 10 per cent on items $1,000 and over as well as a surcharge for credit card purchases. All proceeds will go to support WORCA youth programs including the Dirt Camps.
Payout for sold items will be on Sunday, May 3 from noon to 3 p.m., with post-dated cheques for May 6. The reason for the delay is the number of credit card purchases that need a few days to clear, and the fact that WORCA can't cover purchases with its own savings as in past years.