Again, knots of cyclists were enjoying themselves at Chero’s Pupeseria; so, I inquired how they happened to make the large food donation to the 90 refugees sheltered at the gym.
Domonique Fortner and Eric Lonowski told me that the cyclists were here to race in the Cycle Messengers World Championship (CMWCGuatemala.com) and that this year’s organizer was from Panajachel. About 150 messengers have arrived despite the road to Solola being impassable. Some were trickling in from Antigua and Guatemala City via the long way –through las Cruces. Clearly these cyclists had traveled great distances; the most remarkable journey being a German man, who had taken two months and biked down from New York City.
Yesterday, fifty of them took a launch across the lake for a practice ride. Domonique said that keeping her balance on the cobblestones was challenging but that the ride over the sheer roads was magical. “The (indigenous) people seemed surprised to see so many white people on bikes.” Part of this pre-race event included a visit to the shrine of a popular Mayan God, who had been revised by the conquistadores into the patron saint of “things on hold.” The ferocious statue was swathed in scarves and the riders were encouraged to make a 2Q donation for good luck in the race.
The object of the race is to mimic a day-in-the-life of a bike messenger. And, that the “race packet,” tucked into a traditional Guatemalan bag, included t-shirt and an activated phone from a local carrier. In this two wheeled scavenger hunt, a call will dispatch each rider to somewhere to pick up a package to be delivered to another destination. Originally, the race was to start at the field near Rio San Francisco but since that was washed into the river over the weekend the starting line will have to be determined by Saturday.
Last Friday, I had wondered what kind training table allowed beer consumption at such a staggering rate. The fabulously tattooed Domonique explained that they were a hard working and hard playing global subculture. Eric observed that, aside from the benefits of constant exercise, there were few benefits to being a messenger and added that the IWW was trying to organize them. The Oakland, CA couple had not been present when the cyclists made the delivery but noted that everybody continues to contribute by donating their bar tips to the cause. For his generosity the organizer had been awarded the key to the city.