Congrats on winning the CMWC's last year! As a 5 time winner of the NACCC’s and after several podium finishes at CMWC did you feel that 2014 was your time?
Thanks! There are so many variables that go into a CMWC, it's always hard to say. I felt seriously overwhelmed riding the course in Mexico. We even got lost on the ride over because Bosque de Chapultepec where the race was held, is this huge, sprawling park that has sporadic military zones that are totally fenced off and super confusing to navigate as it is also bisected by huge freeways that aren't very passable on bikes. Safa is a crazy mastermind that made this incredibly confusing course that I did not feel like I had the best grasp on, especially showing up way later than I would have liked. But I guess a lot of other people felt the same way, because I ended up doing quite well both days. Courses that are as much mind games as they are about brute strength and fitness are definitely assets to me.
So a really long answer for, I don't know if I felt like it was "my time", I just always race as hard as I can. I have attended enough championships to know how they generally run and have the years of actual messenger experience behind me as the backbone, but I never expect or assume anything.
What is your first memory of hooning on a bike?
Hooning? Oh man, I actually had to look that up, is that Australian slang?
I remember taking my fixed gear conversion to LA with a buddy back in 2005 and I had only really ridden in Santa Cruz at that time. At some point, he ducked left–right before the light changed for us, rather than having to wait and yield since there was no arrow anyhow. Not hooning so to speak, but definitely the first time I remember getting a feel for riding in city traffic and making do with infrastructure that isn't crafted with bikes in mind, which LA certainly wasn't then.
Hooning in more exact terms definitely makes me recall a Cranksgiving I raced in Chicago some years back. I ended up riding with two good buddies, Nico and Arturo. Towards the end of the race we hit Michigan Ave and right before it goes over the river, the whole street was closed to car traffic but open to pedestrians for some sort of lighting ceremony. People were every where, but we picked our way through, at a really serious pace, somehow all staying about in line all across the road for a good half mile. It was insane, but so much fun.
How did you first get in to messengering and what did you do before?
I went to college in Santa Cruz and one of my dear friends who I rode with all the time, messengered for PedEx, and it seemed like such an ideal job. Part of my major involved doing an internship for 6 months somewhere not in Santa Cruz, so I chose to do mine in San Francisco. I rode a lot there, and the scene was much smaller then and bike events invariably overlapped with messengers. When I moved out to Chicago, I decided to pick up messenger work "for a little while" to experience actually being a part of that scene, and a little while turned into a long while.
Before messengering I was in school, so it was a series of side jobs that I usually quit before leaving for the summer - coffee shops, health food stores, a local radio station, I even had a short stint of working as a clown at kid's birthday parties.
What took you back to San Francisco from Chicago to work as a messenger there?
I had been contemplating moving back to the Bay Area for a bit when my twin sister decided she wanted to move back to start up a wedding DJ business, so I figured it was as good a time as ever. I had actually intended to transfer with Zipcar, who I had been working for at the time. When that fell through, I was super lucky that Godspeed was hiring as it was a company I had always admired, both for the people that worked there and how it was run. It took a few months to fully kick my legs back into shape for the hills and long days at Godspeed, but the lack of snow is a pretty good trade off.
Considering its quite a physical job, what’s the expected career longevity of a messenger?
I'm in a pretty ideal position at Godspeed, working 2-10 hour days on the bike and 2-10 hour office days working AP. It's enough bike time during the week without being so much I don't want to ride for fun on the weekends. Even though the days are long, I think the 4 days weeks are more sustainable. I'm also one of the youngest ones at the company which definitely lets me think I'll be able to do this for a while longer.
You helped bring the Championships to Chicago in 2012; what does CMWC mean to you?
Chicago CMWCs was simultaneously the most stressful and also one of the the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. I was part of a 10 person organizing committee that became a family for a year and a half, and while it was incredibly time consuming, it also fostered an amazing sense of community in the lead up. A lot of local businesses came through to help out and host monthly fundraisers, which brought out so many people. I met so many more people in my community during that time, and strengthened pre-existing connections, and I think that rang true for a lot of others. Anyone outside the community would be hard-pressed to understand the hours and hours of unpaid labor we all poured into this event, but inside, well all know it's worth it. (Though until you've organized one, myself included, it's difficult to understand the sheer amount of time it takes to throw an event of this scale together if you want it to run smoothly.)
As much as CMWC is about the race, it really is the annual gathering of the international messenger family. To me, CMWC is an awesome excuse to travel to a new far flung place, but when you show up you don't feel like a tourist, rather you have a slew of locals ready to show you the best spots and time to catch up the friends you only see a handful of times a year.
Whether on home turf or not, which city has hosted your favourite CMWC so far and why? What was the most unique thing you’ve experienced at a CMWC?
Tokyo was my favourite. Maybe because it was my first CMWC, or maybe in part due to the culture shock of how different Tokyo was from anywhere else I had visited at the time, but it was a great event. Everything ran on time and the course was technical and difficult and there was a huge turn out that year. But it was also just being in Tokyo: the streets are amazing, everything seems perfectly paved - I don't think I saw broken glass the whole time I was there. We slept in little cubicles and ate so many weird rice balls from the 7-11s. You can also just drink in the street even though chu-hi so dangerously does not taste at all like booze.
Most unique was definitely Guatemala, hands down. We were in the little town of Panajachel, and the course just ran through the whole thing, dirt, broken pavement, cobbles, everything. Even getting there was an adventure - the roads were impassable due to mudslides and storms and we had to hike our bikes around the mudslide just to get into the valley.
Melbourne is the home of the CMWC's for 2015 and has a huge messenger scene. What does it mean for you to come to Melbourne and defend your crown?
Like I mentioned earlier, while a huge part of CMWC is always the race, I'm as excited to travel to a brand new place and meet more of those that are part of that huge messenger scene in Melbourne and Sydney. I also like going to race in an entirely other part of the world because you meet brand new faces who haven't been able to travel in the same manner. But also, who knows what my competition will be like? I'm certainly up for the challenge though!