Heading into this season, the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association was prepared for the worst. Their insurance had doubled for the second time in two years, raising the price of a single membership to $40, with almost $24 of each membership going towards Cycling B.C.s insurers.
Lifted up by a partnership with Whistler-Blackcomb, the strength of their weekly Loonie Race series and trail maintenance programs, WORCA succeeded in registering over a thousand members 1,026 to be exact for the third consecutive year.
"Looking back, even if it didnt feel like it, we accomplished a lot," said Mike Watton, who stepped down after two years as president at the clubs annual general meeting on Sept. 30.
"Weve come a long way since this club was founded 15 years ago, and this was another successful year. We put on 21 Loonie Races, three youth dirt camps, one skills clinic, several trail maintenance nights and days, our annual bike swap the biggest ever.
"We participated in Pitch-In Day, helped run the Max Vert Enduro, submitted numerous grant-in-aid requests and proposals for funding, worked with so many groups like the Bicycle Task Force and the Pemberton Valley Trails Association. We also sent six of our directors to the World Mountain Bike Conference in the North Shore this year, and judging by what we heard Whistler is in good shape.
"Mountain biking has a huge potential, and Whistler is currently the envy of the mountain bike world. As part of that WORCA should not be overlooked or underestimated, in terms of what the value to the community is.
"There really hasnt been a dull moment in the past two years."
This year Watton said one of his goals was to spend more money on trails and programs, after finishing last year with close to $9,000 in the bank. That goal was accomplished, with WORCA spending $19,196 on trail maintenance this year, including a $3,200 grant from AWARE and the Community Foundation of Whistler to do rehabilitation work on River Runs Through It.
That level of funding is down from almost $40,000 spent last year, but the 2003 trail budget was bolstered by a number of community partnerships and special grants that went towards specific projects.
This year $8,589 was put into River (including the AWARE-CFOW funding), $2,120 was put into Cheap Thrills, $6,710 was put into Babylon By Bike, and close to $2,000 was put towards general maintenance on over a dozen bike trails, including PHD, the Highline Trail, Comfortably Numb, the Ridge Trail, Shit Happens, Emerald Forest Trail, Boyds Trail, Big Timber, Riverside, Big Kahuna and Thrill Me Kill Me.