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WORCA reflects, prepares for future

Land use issues loom, though association is stronger than ever

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By Andrew Mitchell

While the B.C. mountain bike community keeps a close eye on access issues that might arise on Crown land as a result of a provincial planning process, the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association is stronger than ever heading into its annual general meeting this Tuesday, Oct. 3.

From a numbers perspective, WORCA sponsored 24 Loonie Race events this year, two more than the previous season, as well as provided support and insurance for six Phat Wednesday Downhill Series races, the Ken Quon Memorial “Ride On”, the West Side Wheel Up, the Samurai of Singletrack, weekly Wild Willies rides, and several guided tours during the IMBA Summit/World Mountain Bike Conference in June.

As well, WORCA hosted bi-monthly clinics for adults throughout the summer, and ran three one-week mountain bike camps for youths in different age groups.

On the youth side, WORCA helped to organize the B.C. High School Mountain Bike Championships in May, and provided the first annual WORCA scholarship to former national cross-country and downhill champion Brook Baker.

The Lumpy Leidal award, presented every year to a young rider based on enthusiasm, ability, and sportsmanship, went to provincial Under 15 downhill and cross-country champion Tyler Allison.

At the start of the season WORCA received a $34,000 grant-in-aid from the municipality to help support youth programs, as well as the association’s trail maintenance activities in the valley — $10,000 more than the previous year. Some of that budget helped to subsidize a four-day IMBA trail building clinic, which was attended by seven locals with an interest in trail construction and maintenance.

With trail builder Chris Markle leaving Whistler the goal of the clinic was to ensure that his skills were passed on and that trails always meet the highest standards. Markle has built several trails over the years, including Kill Me Thrill Me and Comfortably Numb, and has held the WORCA trail maintenance contract three out of the last four years.

This year a substantial amount of volunteer and paid trail work was completed on Cut Yer Bars, but dozens of trails around Whistler have been upgraded and maintained with WORCA support.

On the advocacy front, WORCA has been involved in dozens of development and land use discussions, maintaining the organizations “no net loss” policy. Discussions include a possible reroute on Shit Happens around the Rainbow development, and replacing sections of Train Wreck that will be impacted by highway development next year.

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