Sometime during the month of September the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WOCA) reached a major milestone, signing up its 1,500 th member. That bested the association's previous record by around 250 members, cementing the association's status as the biggest mountain bike club in the world.
It's just one more thing that WORCA has had to celebrate this season, along with its 20 th anniversary, the opening of new trails, a federal grant to build and maintain trails and improvements in almost every department.
For WORCA president Todd Hellinga, who is stepping down after two years. the 1,500 member landmark (actually 1,514 members at press time) is significant for a lot of reasons.
"That's something I'm really excited about, after hovering around 1,100 riders the past three or four years," he said. "I think for a long time people only related to WORCA for the Toonie Rides, but this year we really concentrated on showing that we're about a lot more than that, and people responded. If anything I think Toonie Race numbers are probably down a little bit this year, but that didn't hurt us obviously. I think people are realizing that races are not our only focus."
The weekly Toonie Rides continue to be a big draw for the association, but it's not the only reason that people sign up. The Wild Willies Rides, WORCA's youth dirt camps and clinics, Whistler Blackcomb's Phat Wednesday series, and sanctioned events like the Four Jacks, West Side Wheel Up, Worcapalooza and the Ken Quon Memorial Ride all contributed new members to the organization this year. As well, other riders make a point of registering every year purely to support the trails.
Part of WORCA's mandate is to maintain trails on public lands, or to work with stakeholders. Recently the association has undertaken several trail building projects to compensate for lost trails and development, to link existing trails, and to bring older trails up to new standards for safety and erosion control.
This season the association has celebrated the completion of Get Over It, a volunteer project that connected Bob's Rebob to Mel's Dilemma; A La Mode, a singletrack climb on Lower Sproatt that complements the Piece of Cake climb from the previous year; a mostly-volunteer project to reconnect Shit Happens to Alpine Meadows, as well as new sections of Train Wreck and Runaway Train. Billy's Epic has also seen a lot of work to curb erosion and repair sections, and Kill Me Thrill Me has a new piece that cuts out the section of trail over the highway that was eroding.
Part of that work has been accomplished with a grant from the National Trails Council, which provided a matching grant of $25,000 this year to trail work.