HWN CMWC99:Freiburg->Zurich
Reverend Flash

CMWC Zurich, Switzerland 1999

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Early Tuesday morning, we set out from Freiburg to Zurich. Most of the group was travelling light, with all thier crap being carried by our fine Freiburian hosts. Bike Ranch Queen and I had our trailers and camping gear with us, as the notion of some camping in the black forest seemed appealing. The other 20 or so were armed with only their kryptoLock and a banana. Naturally we lost them, but only after getting a good 10km out of town before 8:00am. Weird.

Black Forest From what I heard of their adventure, UberChick led them all fast and hard through the black forest, which involves a lot of climing and descending. At some point someone realized that there could be a passport check at the border of Switzerland, and that neither a banana or a kryptoLock counts as a passport. Black Forest So they phoned ahead and had their passports delivered back into Germany. Of course they were never checked at the border.

Bike Ranch Queen and I camped the first night at a lake over 900m elevation. This was the "High Black Forest", a beautiful forest, I gotta say, but there isn't really anything black about it. The campsite was overrun by car-driving tourist types, and the ground was nice hard gravel. The next day involved an unrealistically long downhill, and was really a blast. I decided to camp Black Forest for a night on the Rheine, but Bike Ranch Queen had bags to attend to and continued right on to Zurich, with the aid of a Directions Fairy she met just after striking out on her own. The rest of my ride to Zurich was peaceful, scenic, and relatively uneventful.

The first place I went in Zurich was to the train station to get a map of the town. Not 30 seconds after I purchased it, I encountered a guy who just had to be an international courier. Sure enough, he showed me on my map where I was supposed to be - at the sprint competion. This happened to be in a huge space in a building right near the Lucky 7 bar, the local hang-out for bike messengers.

This sprint was unlike any I had seen before. Two bicycles were mounted on rollers, and the rollers were attached to a big dial. Gold Sprint The dial had two hands, each of which measured out how far one of the bikes had "ridden". The competition involved two riders trying to get the needle to the 500m mark first, and the winner would advance to the next round. Rumour had it that the red bike was considerably better than the blue bike, and that the red bike rider was much more likely to win. No one ever proved this theory, though.

The Gold Sprint, as it is known, is a local tradition, sponsored by a beer company. The beer that was consumed at the event (and throughout the weekend) even said "Gold Sprint" on the label. A cheesy MC talked competent english throughout the event. Then we consumed a great many Gold Sprint beers.

Gold Sprint Gold Sprint Gold Sprint

I should also mention that somehow the organizers of the CMWC managed to find couch surfing for everyone in attendance, and that I slept like a king in the heart of downtown, free of charge. The Green Team and the Blue Team did not couch surf, preferring rather to stay in two of the finest 4-star hotels in Zurich. This was designed to hone their competitive edges, but unfortunately resulted in some harmless furniture tossing when it was discovered that the two hotels were right across the street from eachother. None of the racers was injured or charged.

Continue: More CMWC in Zurich!

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