Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CMWC '08 - It happened here.

Somebody had a friend at FedEx. Carrying these things were good fun (Hayward, that's for you.)
The floating checkpoint had victims.
Hayward (no-helmet man) gives main race instructions - "Don't be an asshole, don't ride like an asshole; assholes will get red cards and be kicked out. And don't be assholic to the dispatchers or you'll be made to re-do the whole race."
Martin de la Rue delivered special 19th c. telegrams (I got one!), and raced in a wool jacket.
It has been a veritable inferno of cycle sport action around here in the last weeks, and being in the maelstrom of that inferno can keep a man away from his tiny little piece of the world wide web for longer than he should do. So much, so fast.

Where to begin? The Cycle Messenger World Championships 2008 came and went amidst thunderstorms of controversy and rain - but in the end it was all a success and people went away bruised, hungover, and jazzed for more. The '08 Worlds were my first-ever, and I did get excited, did race the main race qualifier, did have a lot of fun doing it, and didn't do the sprints, which I have regretted since watching them happen on 14 June in the afternoon Island sun. It was 333 metre match sprints and most interesting. I bet I could have won a heat on my bad-ass track bike (which received complements all weekend long, I'll have you know).

Trackstand and reverse circle competition, bike polo tourney, skids (and sprints at 3 a.m!) on Temperence Street for old time's sake (nice one Nappy), parties galore, at least one alley cat (2nd place/28 for me Sat. night), four-up goldsprints at Navid's parties - it all happened and best of all, hundreds of messengers showed up from the U.S., Europe, Scandanavia, Japan, and maybe even Australia. It was the real thing - kudos to Shino of Tokyo for taking 1st place in the main race final.

It was hugely impressive to see the Japanese show up - about ten of them in total if you count Izumi from New York and Okapi who lives here. They came, they raced, they won - at least Shino did. Somebody explained to me that Shino was the star of the Monster Track movie, where he is brought in to New York by Mike D (who I got to hang out with - one hilarious dude) and co. to race Monster Track in the middle of winter and gets second place. There was no stopping the man this time - apparently Shino finished an entire manifest ahead of everyone else in the main race final amidst the pouring rain on Sunday, or so I heard. And there he was back on the island on Monday to help with clean-up. Classy.

Sure the main race went off four hours late on Saturday, the bike polo tournament had to be rescued from oblivion at the last minute, and the I-beams on the floating dock checkpoint were removed after Hayward (of course) slipped on them. But it all happened, and when it happened it was a great thing - kudos to Hayward as race captain for pulling together the very complicated logistical nightmare that is the two day main race and doing it really well despite the delayed start. Chapeau. The whole organizing crew seemed to have an hour's sleep between them all weekend, and ten hours that week.
With his leftover black eye, sunken eyes, and overall sleep deprivation under massive pressure for weeks, by Saturday Hayward looked like a man who had just set a small town on fire and then shot his way out of it, leaving a trail of dead behind him. I just stayed at least an arm's-length of his way at all times. He told me on Monday that almost no one had complained to him about the race, and those few who did were quite mild about it. Imagine that.
There are a dozen other stories I could tell - Jumbo riding from Montreal to Toronto (575 km)down the 401 in 36 hours, Dangerous Dan Hatcher riding his track bike from Calgary to Thunder Bay, the fight I broke up between the winner of the alley cat and his friend at the finish, the kid who did the skid comp final on his face, Mike D fighting Manny at Sneaky D's over a bowl of taco chips, on and on but it has to stop somewhere, even if messengers never know when to stop.

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