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 coming into this year. Cycling B.C. was our only option, which is good in a way because they do support cycling in the province, but it’s also a little more expensive."

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

If you’re only a WORCA member for the bike park discounts and to support trail advocacy and maintenance in the valley, and don’t participate in WORCA Loonie events or WORCA clinics, then you don’t have to buy a Cycling B.C. membership.

Similarly, if you already compete in B.C. Cup races and other Cycling B.C. events, your insurance will already be covered by your $80 race certification fee.

Another benefit of Cycling B.C. insurance is that it makes it easier for WORCA to host events on private property, like the Whistler-Blackcomb bike park, and it includes personal injury coverage.

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

He points out that membership is still a good value, as WORCA will contribute more than $10,000 for trail maintenance this year. In addition, volunteer members will contribute 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 the Thursday night Loonie Races, and Wednesday night Gravity series on Whistler Mountain.

Last year, WORCA’s membership topped out at 1,035, almost double the previous year. WORCA credits much of that growth to their ongoing partnership with Whistler-Blackcomb, and to growing community awareness of the organization.

"We’ve finally gotten away from the perception out there that WORCA is just a racing club,’ explains Watton. "Now when people think about WORCA, they think about all the trails out there that we maintain, all of our clinics, they know we do a lot of work with the big stakeholders in the resort, like Intrawest and the municipality…Now people that were never WORCA members before are signing up."

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