Longest month — shortest month

For whatever reason – or for no reason at all – Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, seems to have forsaken much of B.C. this year. While the shortage of actual Vikings may have something to do with the hopelessly blue skies and Whistler’s thinnest base in almost 20 years, it’s hard to know where to lay the blame.

Although the usual response to any provincial crisis would be to blame the NDP and the fast ferry situation, our lack of snow is either the fault of global warming, which is everyone’s fault, or a cyclical anomaly, which is really no one’s fault but the groundhog’s.

Either way, it looks like an early start to the mountain bike season. Unless Ullr blesses us with an epic March and April, it’s not a bad time to get ready for the new season.

This is the official homepage of the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association, a trail and mountain bike advocacy group that builds and maintains local trails, fights to keep trails open, represents mountain bike interests in every relevant forum, and runs weekly races for members.

Your $20 membership goes directly towards trail development in the valley, which is a large part of the reason that many trails are still open to mountain bikers. By taking on the responsibility of maintenance, WORCA shows private and public land owners that mountain bikers do respect the land and are willing to do their part to keep it beautiful.

That’s only one of the reasons you should think about joining.

WORCA runs youth development programs, turning the next generation on to mountain biking and teaching them the skills it takes to compete. WORCA also runs weekly Loony races on local trails, a high profile social event that has actually turned out some very talented riders.

WORCA is also involved with the municipality’s Bicycle Task Force, which is charged with the responsibility of living up to Whistler’s growing international reputation as a prime mountain bike destination.

Anyone who uses the local trails, but won’t chip into WORCA to maintain those trails, is for all practical purposes a freeloader – and that makes Ullr angry.

This is the home of Mountain Biking Magazine, and although it is embarrassingly light in content, the beginner’s guide is a good place for anyone new to the game to get started. There is also a classified section where you can shop around for used gear.

This is the simplified British Columbia Mountain Bike Directory, with links to every mountain bike shop and organization in the province and an impressive database of trails to research. You’ll want to bookmark this one, as it seems to get bigger and bigger every week.

Cycling B.C. is the headquarters of competitive mountain bike racing in the province, affiliated with Sport B.C. and the Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body for the sport. If you’re thinking about competing locally or provincially, you’re going to want to bookmark this site as well.

Before you get decked out in the same spandex that the European Cup champions wear, a casual rider might want to check out Roach, a Vancouver-based mountain bike clothing company that makes clothes and armour for all your cycling needs. They also support a lot of contests locally and provincially, so it might be a good idea to support them back – besides, their stuff is of excellent quality. /

Although there are probably more than two local bike manufacturers out there, the big ones, or rather the ones I know about, are Brodie and Cove. Both are manufactured in the Lower Mainland, and built for the kind of rugged terrain and riding styles that made the North Shore famous around the world. They both make high-end stuff with hefty pricetags, but in the world of mountain biking you get what you pay for.

This is a great hub for product information, athlete profiles, event coverage, community links, trail guides, and everything on two bumpy wheels. I’ve been visiting this site for a while now, and it seems to be getting bigger and better all the time.

This site offer a lot of the same stuff as other mountain bike sites, but with an emphasis on tricks and training. Riding logs, riding steeps, wheelie drops, downhill cornering, uphill cornering, aerobic fitness, fixing gear – it’s all here.

Long live Frey, the Norse god of sun.

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