WORCA set for 2003 season 

Mountain bike group focuses on youth programs

The schedule for the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association has been set, and it’s shaping up to be an even bigger year for the club than last year’s record-breaking season.

But first, a little good news and bad news. The good news is that the price of adult memberships has gone down to $15 and youth memberships to $10. The bad news is that the membership fee no longer includes insurance.

"Our usual insurers wouldn’t cover us basically because they’re getting out of mountain biking," explains WORCA president Mike Watton. "Most companies have dropped mountain biking as well, so we didn’t have a lot of choices."

This year, WORCA will insure riders through Cycling B.C. at a cost of $15 per member. That brings the cost of an average membership up to $30 for adults and $25 for youth.

If you don’t participate in WORCA Loonie Races or WORCA clinics, then you don’t have to pay that fee. Similarly, if you already compete in B.C. Cup and other Cycling B.C. races, your insurance will already be covered by your $80 certification fee. Also, Cycling B.C. insurance makes it easier for WORCA to host events on private property, like the Whistler-Blackcomb bike park, and includes personal injury coverage.

"For some people the cost is going down, but for a lot of people it’s going up. We hope that doesn’t turn anybody off," says Watton.

He points out that membership is still a good value, and WORCA will contribute more than $10,000 for trail maintenance this year, plus supplying thousands of volunteer hours to keep the trail network in shape. Membership also means discounts at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and with participating merchants, entry into special clinics, and the ability to participate in Loonie Races.

Last year the number of members in WORCA topped out at 1,035, almost double the previous year. WORCA credits much of that growth to a partnership with Whistler-Blackcomb, and to growing community awareness of the organization.

In addition, attendance at WORCA’s weekly Loonie Races was up by more than 60 per cent over the previous year.

Watton is confident that there is still room to grow. Three more sponsors have lined up to host Loonie Races this year, which means a total of 21 events on the calendar this summer. The races will start on May 1, and wrap up on Sept. 18.

In conjunction with Whistler-Blackcomb, there will also be a Friday night Loonie race series in the downhill park this year for WORCA members. The formats and courses will change from week to week, and the details are still being worked out.

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