This was a while ago but I had so much fun here is a write up, some of the pics are by me and others by Juliet…
We headed out to Warsaw, Poland for the 19th Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC). I love these events, they are always filled with fun, races, and a whole heap of carnage. After an early rise and spaced out taxi ride and flight we arrived in Warsaw, and were greeted by a beautiful hot sunny day. Getting off the plane we collected our bikes, though unfortunately one of them was not put on the plane…thanks British Airways! I must admit both Juliet and I sighed with relief when we realised our bikes were there (sorry Ali).
After a bit of blind missioning we found our way towards the campsite and race course, we had no address only a couple of maps I had screen shotted on my IPhone before we left, but as we were all banging couriers we made our way there with minimal hassle. We got off the bus and decided it might be helpful to build up our bikes and after some sleep deprived building we were ready to go…well actually we weren’t, Juliet managed to strip the thread on her hub putting her lockring on. We wandered slowly towards the campsite to set up our tent and meet with all the couriers you only get to see once a year at these events.
The first day was a bit of a blur really, filled with drinking, smoking and lots of random messenger antics. The first mini event was a kick the wing mirror off a car contest and it was a right giggle. After a number of mirrors had been smashed in varying creative ways the car was smashed up and the 20 odd London messengers proceeded in attempting to throw the car in to the river (fortunately this was stopped by more responsible or less drunk messengers). After a day of drinking and smoking in the blazing sun it was soon time for bed, though I did wake up half way through the night to be sick in my shoe…oops!
The second day was the qualifying race. The course was really challenging, and the organisers had done an amazing job setting it all up, consisting of all kinds of terrain to test even the most hardcore messenger. Everyone was piling on the calories or downing their beers before the race; the competitors had a hard few hours riding ahead of them. I didn’t race as I wanted to get some snaps, and when the rain started to pour I hid undercover, enjoyed watching the race and drank some more.
The race was confusing and tough, it really tested the ability of all the racers. The track consisted of, tarmac, sand, muddy hills, and even a muddy wooded section. As with all messenger championships the race organisers had filled the race with all kinds of antics, such as your bike would be hidden whilst you were at a check point…I saw a number of confused messengers looking around baffled…hehe!
The fastest messengers would go through to the main race, everyone was storming around the course. With the wet conditions you really had to be on point, there were a couple of crashes during the race, though nothing serious. The qualifiers went on for the whole day and when these were done the drinking continued. I was very happy as I knew we would be staying in a nice 5* hotel rather than a tent surrounded by noisy drunk messengers and evil mosquitoes that evening (I’d managed to slum it the night before).
Unfortunately the organisers decided to change the qualifying rules the evening of the qualifying race so rather than the top 80 guys and top 20 girls going through it was the top 100 that would go through to the main race. This kinda sucked because about 10 girls lost their chance to race in the finals. Juliet was one of these, she had killed it in the main race coming in around 130th out of a shit load of riders….beating many of the guys that were racing.
We made our way from the hotel down to the race course hitting up a few street spots on the way, then the rain started…before rapidly turning into a monsoon type down pour. Not qualifying was starting to look like a good thing for Juliet.
The race started a few hours late in true messenger tradition, and it pissed down for the entire thing, I have to give props to all the racers that hardcored it and finished the race in the most brutal conditions I’ve ever seen in a championship. Messengers from all over the world gave it their all to secure their spot as the world’s fastest messenger. I think the main race went on for around 4 hours, and after it was over the battered, wet, tired messengers did what they do best (with the exception of riding) and proceeded to get smashed and party!
As with all messenger championships there were loads of of side events such as sprints, skids etc…though I managed to miss all these. Damn that Polish beer! There was a massive party and prize giving that evening, the CMWC winners were crowned and showered with prizes. The partying and drinking went on for a lot longer than I did!
This is the second time Warsaw has hosted the CMWC and they did a great job of putting on a mental, fun, hardcore race, it was a bit disorganised…but this is something that goes hand in hand with messenger events. I would have liked to have seen more girls in the final, but I had an amazing time…well done to the organisers!!!
1st Michael Brinkmann (Michi)
2nd Severin Zotter
3rd Jimmi Bargisen (Jumbo)
4th (1st Girl) Jenna Makgill (Jennama)
Lastly…well done to this guy, he ran the entire course! And also massive congratulations to Juliet Elliott for killing it in her first CMWC.