Melbourne CMWC 2015 had been in planning for a long time, but I can’t remember when I first cared about it. Dan and I never thought we would still be in Sydney when it was happening, I can vaguely remember talking about how we wouldn’t be there because we were planning to leave a couple of months before it. Remembering the lead up for CMWC 2015 has given me a bit of weird nostalgia fit. It warps time; thinking about how different life was 2 years ago. CMWC wasn’t in my vocabulary back then. I had never heard about it when I worked in London, working was excitement enough for me. When I first met Dan he rode a Kona touring bike at work, he wore cut off sleeves and an American smile, as wholesome as you could go, now he rides a sticker’d, menacing, black Leader fixie. I was a pimply novice, who had just gotten off her rusty Dutch bike and into couriering. So thinking about when 2015 CMWC came into my life makes me think about all the times it was almost apart of it, as if it was waiting on the edge.
As 2015’s CMWC edged closer my day dreams were mostly me as the girl champion, I would lose myself for a while trying different scenarios, different outfits or different locations but all ending with me as the glorious winner. I started constantly saying ‘I’m in training’ and pushing myself a bit harder at work, 9 months out of CMWC and I was sure I was going to race and give it my fucking everything. I started researching/looking at other CMWC’s and I noticed that there was a lack of sufficient media for it. Not that I wanted it to be more on the map, there just wasn’t a place for it all to showcased, instead it was scattered and lost across the Internet and seemed like it continued for months that people would be waiting for their pictures to pop up. It really needed spot that people could really see what it was all about. So I dreamt that we could find a better way to document CMWC. My training suffered to say the least, I started focusing on what we needed to make CMWC a more live event. Maybe we didn’t achieve the dream but we gave it a good crack.
jambi-jambi started as a Tumblr blog for our family to see us as we cycled through Europe. It became something else once we got to Sydney. It became a place that I could pretend I was working on a larger project. Somewhere that I could practice some skills in a public way, like a classroom that I can embarrass myself in. I got in touch with MDMA down in Melbourne to ask them if we could help with the media aspect. It felt lame to put a pitch forward, but we did, our amateur skills both held us back in time consuming ways and pushed us forward by getting to skip a lot of professional steps. It was fun trying to get help from people, and trying to organise ourselves, we got cork boards and endless note pads, we had ‘meetings’ on our bed and mostly just had help from Aaron. None of our plans and idea’s came about.
Melbourne was suddenly just weeks away and I haven’t remembered being as excited as I was by the prospect of international couriers coming to Sydney for the Pre-Event. In Toronto I sat on a bench and watched as they swam by me in the currents of the roads, wanting to say hi, but content in being a ghost. Seeing couriers from around the world is one of the most exiting things for me. When Dan and I came to Sydney we drove through the city, eyes ludicrously bouncing, scanning and yelling out ‘found one’. The messfam term just doesn’t cut it for me. It doesn’t describe what it means at all. You have to watch the faces and the gestures of a courier trying their best to explain ‘messfam’ in order to get it, it consists most of points and smiles and hugs and waves and shaking of the head with a grin.
A whole bunch of friends were coming to Sydney to hang out with us, it was a pilgrimage. These people had worked hard to save; they had busted their asses to get here and I couldn’t wait to see their angel faces. The first two people I saw were AZ and Frog, I saw them in the afternoon as I was coming off the Harbor Bridge I crossed the 5 lanes of York street to say hello. I wanted to jump in a circle all holding hands I was so excited. And after I pointed them in a vague direction to get them where they were going I rode off to make my deliveries and I felt like I was as high as a kite all afternoon. I knew Jordan from London was coming and I saw him cresting the hill on the Harbor Bridge, the silhouette of no helmet and the kind of style you get from riding a bike all day. The numbers started to climb in Sydney, Allan, Jordan, Phil, AZ, Frog, Lucas they were flooding in now and I had a tail of them for the afternoon as I crossed over the bridge. They were shadowing as I did my last deliveries before my holiday started.
Dan and I had prepared for months to try and make CMWC as smooth and professional as we could, but as soon as we got there we both teetered on the edge of work and party so much that we did neither that well. If we worked harder we would of found that by the end of the week we didn’t have the friendships we could have had and if we played any harder we wouldn’t live up to our own expectations. The people we met were probably been the biggest bonus of the week. Allan, the most positive, charismatic man I have met in a long time, incredibly talented on a bike, now labeled as 15th in the world, left us all in a girlie giggle at the end of each conversation, a sexy and a strong, open, long legged man who has one of the biggest bikes I’ve seen that makes him tower over you, a looming figure you want to snuggle. In the first alley cat in Sydney I have footage of him rolling into a checkpoint and asking ‘am I the first homo?’ He is funny and is the kind of person you think that has always been in your life.
Lucas Burnelle; I had an expectation, he was that person I was less enthused to meet. I thought the pressure of his filming would make everyone become crazy with eagerness to impress. It turns out that he was the most inspiring on the group ride, he is an exceptional rider, the crouched down creature style position on the bike, the kind of position I love to watch. He is tall and chooses his words carefully, making him seem a cut above the rest. Dan and I bumped into him in the deep blackness of the 3rd nights campsite, I saw the ball of light from his bike light bopping around in mid air on his head, like a sci-fi film I was ready for it to be something supernatural. It was Lucas, he had just come back from swimming alone in the darkness under the moonlight. His towel was hanging over his shoulder; he stopped and spoke to Dan and I. I asked him how he always had the strength to choose the harder way. He told us about when he was in the Olympic training camp that every morning they had the option to sleep in, to skip training and that his coach told him to never skip training because it meant you didn’t have what it took. It became ingrained that he never took the soft option. During the already grueling group ride, he took a few brave followers off the road and into a lost and unknown, not caring if night fell, not caring if it was a dead end, having no real destination but to dissect the planned route of the group ride. They carried their bikes up rocky hills and peddled over sand beaches, they took hiller more scenic routes and if he spotted a derelict path then Lucas Burnelle took it. It was a reminder to me, that for a while now, the years I have been playing with the boys that I have been taking the easier way. Because the harder way would mean I would be even further behind. It has meant that I have missed out on my own adventures and just followed on theirs.
I was one of the first to get to the velodrome on the Friday, the air was cool but the sun was warming up. The old concrete velodrome looked crisp and elegant in the autumn sun. The scene had wild colours; the candy colours of the graffiti, the dusty colours of the summer scorched grass and concrete, the rainbow of bikes starting to rack up hanging off poles and when everyone had arrived the fluorescence of the CMWC caps bobbing in circles and groups. It was very 80’s punk electric I thought. By the night fall Dan, Aaron and I were pretty rotten, trying to motivate ourselves to go do some filming of the gold sprints and party, it was harder to get out of the house knowing that you have to focus and think about what you’re doing rather then just getting to talk to people, lounging and being merry. I rode out of Ascot Vale towards Fitzroy alone; the streets were absurdly wide, even the bike lane is two bikes wide, street lights don’t spread far enough across the vast roads so it is dark and cars so minimal that it feels like you are riding at midnight when it’s 7.30. I really enjoyed Melbourne this time around, the absurdity of drivers in Sydney and their intolerance to people who ride bikes has gotten so old, in Melbourne even if they dont like you, you have a place on the road where you can ride without thinking someone is going to come at you from behind. It was so calming to ride this way, to be able to ride alone and feel safe.
The main race arena of Docklands is a clean and organized place, with wide open spaces and shiny surfaces, the contrast of black darned couriers, unwashed and mysterious in a squeaky polished new world was the perfect contrast. Melbourne is a modern city and we brought a soft darkness, the kind of darkness you enjoy, the drinking, the dangerous riding, the sinister jokes and the shadow under our eye lit Melbourne up in a small way.
It is a beautiful thing seeing something so smooth and well organized done by people of your own kind, and the better thing was seeing couriers in the top level that don’t drink and party their way through their courier career. Seeing people like Austin Horse who is kind, and smart and eager to push himself being at the top, seeing all the hard working people, seeing the organization, the love and a job done right has reminded me that this community is what you make it. Work hard and you will always be rewarded, whether in pay or respect, friendship or in sponsorship.
I didn’t go to the closing ceremony, it was one of many regrets from the weekend I didn’t say goodbye to people, but we did go away with an insatiable taste for next year’s worlds. So much so we are planning our route to make sure we get to Paris in time to compete.