After an encouraging first season of hitting the highway, the Whistler Cycling Club (WCC) plans to avoid the sophomore slump.
The WCC, led by president Frank Savage, held its inaugural annual general meeting at Whistler Public Library on March 9.
The club organized over 30 rides in 2014, including 21 as part of its flagship Tuesday night program and an American ride at Mount Baker, Wash. in August. When the club incorporated last year, it had an inaugural membership of 72 that has since grown to 88. Savage hopes to break into triple digits before the calendar flips, explaining the club provides a social element in addition to an athletic one.
"If I was to have a goal, it would certainly be to retain our membership and to go over 100," he said. "People want to ride, but secondly, they want to talk about riding.
"Road riding is a great social type sport. You work together as a group when you're riding and then you enjoy chatting about it."
Savage noted riding members can also improve their skills as part of the group, and noted the group's advocacy role for improved cycling facilities is strengthened with each new member.
The meeting ended up being a short one, with much of the time devoted to working out minor kinks the fledgling club faced in 2014. After discovering only a small portion of riders were registered with Cycling BC, for liability reasons, the club will pay more stringent attention so that only participants with Cycling BC and WCC registrations take part in rides. Riders must present their membership card at their first ride and will be given a sticker to put on their bikes. Cycling BC general membership is $40, though a half-price discount is given to those who are new members, or have not been members since 2010. WCC membership is $10 for riders and $15 for a social membership. Those looking to register can do so online at www.whistlercyclingclub.ca.
Another gap the club is hoping to bridge is the issue of getting riders who are less experienced integrated into the club, as it strives to appeal to all riders interested in hitting the road. Though the Tuesday night training rides to the Callaghan offered three ability-based groups into which riders could slot themselves, organizers found 'C' group riders overmatched and frustrated at times.
Rides-and-events head Mike Rogerson explained the club didn't get it right last year, but plans to better serve those riders in 2015.
"We didn't really have a grasp on the difference of opinions and abilities of those emerging riders," he said. "We had great intentions and I think we fell short in many areas, but that's something we haven't been defeated on.
"We're going to continue to try to provide a great product and hopefully develop the club in that area."
This year, Kelly Blunden is set to organize shorter Wednesday night rides on flatter terrain. Savage hopes to see a dozen or so riders take part.
"The intent of these rides is to be shorter, to be a little slower-paced and a little more of a learning kind of experience so you're not just thrown into the fire," he said. "We'll see if there's interest in that and see where it goes."
Details on the Wednesday evening rides are still being determined. The first Tuesday night ride is slated for May 5 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Whistler Village Sports, while the season-opening Sunday ride will take place May 17 at 10 a.m. at the Pemberton Information Centre.
Team Whistler announced
In other cycling news, Team Whistler Racing revealed its roster for the coming season.
Tony Routley will serve as team captain and co-manager with Trevor Hopkins, while other riders include Chloe Cross, Leah Trudeau, Joe Maika, Alex Capon, Mike Boehm and Josh Stott. In a dual role, Cathy Zeglinski will race and is the team physician.
On the development side, Austin Reith, Skylar Beauregard, Corey Gallagher and Matthew Stein made the cut.
The team will put forth a contingent at provincial level races this season while also participating in some international events.