History of TORCA

Before we were TORCA …

TORCC (Tri-cities Off Road Cycling Coalition) was founded in 1998 by John Gowans, Eric Vance and Joel Johnston, all avid outdoors people and mountain bike enthusiasts.  At that time there was a concern among the founders of TORCC about the ever-increasing development on the slopes of Eagle Mountain that began to encroach on several beloved trails in the area – namely a mainstay of Eagle Mountain – “Randy’s”, the technically exciting “B & A” Trail (built by Joel Johnston and others, including the crew from Crank N’ Carvin Bike Shop) and featured in Todd “Digger” Fiander’s North Shore Extreme video series), the extension of the B & A into “Ewok Village” – some say an overbuilt labyrinth of crazy stunts – but extremely fun and technically challenging, and the upper “Backyard Trail” that was graveled over by the City of Port Moody several years ago.

In 1999, the land owners/developers, Parklane Homes, demanded that the B & A and Ewok Village be dismantled for liability reasons but agreed to allow a re-routed trail from the exit of “Randy’s” trail in the Upland Reserve on Eagle Mountain to be constructed. This occurred when TORCC, through John Gowans’ efforts, teamed up with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and the City of Port Moody.  Julie Pavey was TORCC’s contact with the City at that time.  The City and TORCC hosted a seminar and trail building weekend in November 1999 when the re-route was roughed in.  There was a great turnout for both the seminar and the trail days despite the unfavourable weather conditions.  This was IMBA’s first foray into Canada.  A partnership with IMBA had been born and TORCC was featured in the Winter 2000 edition of IMBA Trail News and was listed as an IMBA advocate for mountain biking in BC. (below is an excerpt from the original article)

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Once the trail re-route was complete, busy lives intervened and TORCC essentially became dormant for a number of years. The original STARZ Trail loop (now known as STARZ Line 1) was established in 2006 and has been nurtured and maintained by a number of local riders since that time.  The 2006 emergence of STARZ signaled the re-birth of TORCC.  On November 14, 2006, City of Port Moody Council discussed the creation of a short term City Task Force on Mountain Biking for a variety of reasons but essentially to come up with a viable strategy for mountain biking in Port Moody – afterall the North Shore, Squamish and Whistler all espoused mountain biking as significantly contributing to the health, enjoyment and well-being of their residents and visitors, and as an economic boost to their communities.  TORCC’s previous contact with the City of Port Moody – Julie Pavey made contact with Joel Johnston and Eric Vance and TORCC was essentially re-born in 2007 largely through the efforts of Joel Johnston, Eric Vance and Nels Guloien who met with City officials and agreed to participate on the City Mountain Biking Task Force. Local rider and dedicated trail steward Jon Keen and Joel Johnston toured Council member and Mountain Bike Task Force Chairman Mike Clay through the original STARZ loop in 2007 in order to provide a first-hand perspective of mountain biking in Port Moody. Now Port Moody Mayor, Mike Clay continues to be a supporter of TORCA and has attended TORCC trail maintenance days in the past.

The STARZ loops and North STARZ have been endorsed by the City of Port Moody and BC School Sports and were the trail sites for the 2013 BC High School Mountain Bike Championships.

TORCC registered as a not-for-profit society in November 2013. and thus transitioned from a Coalition to an Association. TORCA has grown as an organization and has had a number of prominent Directors from the Tri-Cities area including professional and elite mountain bikers, coaches, educators, and business people – most of whom are long-time residents of the area.

TORCA has expanded its membership base, enhanced its web presence and has been involved in numerous community projects related to mountain biking in the Tri-Cities.  TORCA Directors and members have donated thousands of volunteer hours with the City of Port Moody Mountain Biking Task Force, trail building and maintenance, charity work and community events in the Tri-Cities.  TORCA will continue as an education, advocacy and community-oriented organization devoted to promoting the health and environmental benefits of mountain biking in the Tri-Cities and beyond.