Below is a firsthand account of ECMC in Stockholm, the pre-event in Copenhagen and the Viking Quest in between. A big thanks to Simon Busk for writing this for us as well as for the pics.
As always if anyone has a story they’d like to share about an event please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill be sure to get it up on here!
My name is Simon, they call me Snus or Busken on the streets. I’ve been a messenger in Copenhagen for the last 6-7 years. I’ve been going to championships since 09 and i frequently hashtag my Instagram pictures with #messlife and I believe in keeping my selfiegame strong. Enough about me, let’s talk about the 2014 ECMC’s in Stockholm Sweden. But first let me tell you a little bit about Viking Quest and the Copenhagen messenger scene!
The last couple of years the messenger scene in Copenhagen has been dwindling, a lot of people left the scene as the business was shrinking and working conditions for messengers where being ass-raped by people towing the company line. Most people racing alley cats where media students on carbon bikes and pr consultants on Japanese steel frames. When i got asked to put up a pre-event i thought it would be impossible because of the lack of enthusiasm in the scene. Weed, booze and the amazing spirit of the CWMC’s in Lausanne made everything seem possible so me and Toto teamed up and decided to make shit happen! And boy did shit happen, in the end we got help form everyone in the milieu, old and new, exenger and messenger all pulled together in order for an epic week of drinking and biking with vikings! The infusion of foreign messengers to our little city was GREAT! A much needed vitamin injection for our little scene, the young guys got to see what it’s all about and the old legends could once more bask in the glory of days passed. Again a HUGE thank you going out to everyone who attended the pre-event!
Getting from Copenhagen to Stockholm is roughly a 700km ordeal, and how to make this possible for 60 people was a bit of a hassle, but in the end it all panned out pretty ok. The guy who planned the trip (me) got hospitalized a few days before with blood poisoning and a kidney infection, so some aspects of the trip got fucked up. but in the end most people survived and odin was pleased.
Getting to Sweden was a rough ride for some, rain, hail, thunder, crazy swedish roads and i guess a lot of people where not really ready for surviving on the roads (not bringing water bottles and burners! #messlife!) but for me it was quite easy, i packed my bike up, wrapped it in plastic bags, taped the shit out of it, got up early, smoked a blunt and got on a train. A few hours later i was riding my bike though the insanely beautiful streets of Stockholm. Celebrating the return to my native country, and trying to feed the enthusiasm of being at the ECMC’s, i make my way to the dark heart of Sweden. The systembolaget, one of the reasons i as a young adult decided to flee my country and seek refuge as a messenger on the streets of Copenhagen. As i stand there, in the midst of government oppression i finally find two overpriced and lukewarm cans of beer and i make my way to pay for it. Trying to pay for the alcohol turned out to be a problem as i could not produce any valid picture id. This was going to be a theme for the entire ECMC-weekend, the lack of and price of alcohol! A bit discouraged, i made my way to the HQ to find nothing but smiles, kisses, Swedish mouth tobacco and friends. Things where probably going to be TOTALY EPIC AND KICKASS anyhow! The rest of the thursday was quite slow, we went on a small group ride through the parks and on the bike paths of Stockholm, the ride ended up in a place called Långholmen, one of MANY islands making up the city of Stockholm. The party was quite slow, a 33cl beer was 20kr (roughly 2 euros) and people where mostly sitting around a bonfire.
Hillsprints/Alleycat/Viking Bar friday During the friday the last of the CPH/SF crew arrived, and it seemed like ALOT of people from rest of the world/europe also dropped in. I started the day out working the registration, giving a hand in setting up the out of towner-alley cat and trying to be as helpful as a semi-drunk swede recovering from severe blood poising can be! I can’t tell you much about the hillsprints or the alley cat, the hill sprints was FUCKED UP! We wen’t up the Hammarby backen, which is a ski slope during the winter and a bloody mess of gravel and stones during the summer. Jospehine from swizneyland and Beaver from back home won the whole shebang in the end! I briefly saw Beaver whizz pass me on his way up the mountain. Me, i was on my way down, down in to the hole! A hole filled with VODKA that is! At the end of viking quest we briefly thought we had some money over, during the excitement in not loosing any of our private money on a messenger event. Valtho came up with the idea that we should use the money to buy cheap booze in Copenhagen and bring to Stockholm! Being from
scandinavia, we know what to bring to Stockholm. Without double-checking the balance on the account we proceeded to buy about 37 liters of vodka to give away for free for all the attendants of viking quest. We figured that everyone would be to broke to buy their own booze in Stockholm, and rather then using the leftover money on something for us, we would like to share it with everyone who came to the event. Said and done, as everyone else was racing from Hammarbybacken to Medborgarplatsen dodging cars and running red lights in the out of towner alley cat. I was hauling 16l of vodka and about 20l of disgusting lime soda from one end of town to the other. Riding up and down the hills with all that weight on my back HURT my newly inflamed kidneys AS FUCK, but hoping people would be grateful for the free alcohol was making me push through it.
The out of towner alley cat was fast! Martin from Poland won, together with sauce from florida and another polish guy i cant remember, just behind him Paul from SF, Toto, Valtho and another bunch of beats came in. The alley cat ended in HQ and the party of the night was supposed to be held there. As more and more people where arriving, i was chilling out, trying to recover from hauling all that booze on my back. Again the mood was a little bit reluctant, people where starting to click up. German speaking people grouping with other people speaking angry, the french being the french as usual. You know the deal, you’ve all been to these kind of things before. Sitting quiet on the asphalt i recognized this and thought it would be a great idea to bring out the free booze! We had roughly 16l of 50% vodka 50% disgusting lime soda mixed up in 2l bottles, this should be enough to get the party started… and i guess it was! We held a little speech that no one listened to, and declared the bar open. Drinks was free for everyone attending viking quest and 10kr for everyone who didn’t attend. This being a messenger event of course people where assholes and they where not paying the lousy 10kr for a drink! That’s #messlife for you! As people where starting to black out and drunken fights raged on the dance floor i realized that my mission for the night was fulfilled and i started to make my way home in order to get a few hours of sleep before the qualifications.
Waking up on saturday morning was easy for me who poured drinks instead of drinking them, the race course was situated a few km outside of town on a university campus. I was sweating a lot in the high summer sun as i was making my way out there. The qualifications was scheduled to start at 11, i was in heat 3 and as i rolled up around 11.30 i was getting a bit antsy, thinking i was a bit late for the start. Once i made it up the small hill to race course i realized that Sweden is NOT Switzerland. The course was barely set up, and a lot of my messbros from Stockholm was walking around with stern looks on their faces and sweat coming out of theirs foreheads. I guess we where not starting heat 3 at 12.00, i rolled a jointed and laid down to relax under a tree. Slowly my friends from around the world started showing up, i rode around the course a couple of times and as time drew closer i started getting the jitters. Even though i knew my body felt like a bunch of wet paper bags i still got the tingling butterflies in my stomach, i had to pee three times and my legs where restless. It quickly dawned upon me that it would be a quite quick qualification, every heat would get a different manifest so it would be impossible the judge how you did according on your time, only placing in the heat mattered. I on the other hand had NO plans on qualifying, just being there and not being in a hospital was enough for me. The course was a fun one, most of the checkpoints knew what was up and i really enjoyed riding around the racetrack in a leisurely pace, making smalltalk and having a few beers. The stannous checkpoint was not as bad as they usually are, i guess they where hung over, the basque checkpoint most certainly brought the party! After completing my run, things stayed the same for a few hours. Joints was rolled, people made their run for qualifying and we hung out in the shade. Johannes from Swedish Drinking Team fame was doing a wonderful job MC’ing the event, as his voice got blurrier and blurrier the event slowly decayed down in the ECMC’s of years passed. Things where moving slow and no one really knew what was up. Would there be another alley cat tonight? There was supposed to be side events? And what about the party? Where was that going to be held? Questions was buzzing, and i decided that i was time to get some booze again. I grabbed Beast aka Sonny Boy and he in turned grabbed some guys bike and we set course for the remaining bottles of vodka. Learning from my mistake the previous night, i realized i needed help carrying all this booze, as beast and me where bombing through the empty streets of Stockholm it dawned upon me how much i love the messenger community! They might be a bunch of pretentious cunts with bad tattoos and a highly skewed image of their occupation, but i love doing shit like this! Who else get’s to host a party for a couple of hundred friends you never met before in a foreign country? Well, not cab drivers! Thats for sure! Anyhow me and beast are bombing through Södermalm with our bags filled with booze, the sun is still high in the sky and it should be dark now. The water is blue, the city is stunning and 10k’s away all of our friends are waiting! As we get to the race course, the track stands are about to start, and it’s past 9 in the evening. People are getting a bit antsy, the Copenhagen max ud crew gathers and we start mixing the drinks. As we are pouring the booze, Toto tells me that he talked to Jumbo and that Jumbo mentioned that arm wrestling competitions used to be a staple on messenger events. I think it sounds like a brilliant idea, so we make it happen! People gather around a small pick nick table in the middle of the plaza and shit is about the get down! What happened next was a stormflood of testosterone, friendly competition, national rivalry, enormous feats of strength and all out awesomeness! Men and woman fought epic battles of arm strength and will against each other. Legends was born and stories of brand new heroes was sung in valhalla! In the end Maggie from Stockholm took the womens title and Martin from the ever so epic Team Latvia became the winner of the mens final.
In some way this felt like the climax of the event, people had all raced during the day and now they got a well needed output for the frustrations and triumphs of the day! After the event my voice was properly fucked from screaming so much. I tried to nurse my sore throat with beer, people where slowly moving either back to town for sleeping or out to a techno tent by a lake in the forrest. I chose to get back with Kalle to sleep, but i heard tales of epicness through out the night.
Once again the Stockholm crew was running a bit behind schedule, but during the sunday it wasn’t to bad. I spent the day working the Omnium Cargo checkpoint where i was security, making people put their bikes in the bike parking area and forming straight lines while waiting. When working a checkpoint you loose the oversight of the race, but you do get a chance to get right in to the action. Not long after the Cargo race was on, it stood clear that a few riders was going MUCH faster and working their manifest smarter then the others. Jumbo from Copenhagen was absolutely flying, and behind him Hans from Copenhagen was also riding fast. After them it seemed like Robin from London, Arvid and Andreas from Stockholm was also killing it. Jänis from Latvia was as always a gracious sight on the track! In the end Jumbo took the W after spending about an hour racing for full blast. The main race lasted for three hours and the riders had a multitude of manifests to complete, they all got to choose jobs on the manifest, so trying to figure out who was in the lead was absolutely impossible. The three hours went by in a blur of sweaty bodies, angry screams, crumpled up manifests and running away with peoples bikes. After pushing it REAL hard for three hours in the sun, the race came to an end and it started dawning upon me that this would all come to end tonight. The familiar post-championship lump in my stomach started setting in. Being a couple of hours late, this meant that people actually was getting on the way to the final party quite quick. The final party was situated in a night club down by the water in Södermalm, on the other side of town. The swedish alcohol and drug culture got a brush with the messenger culture, the bouncers of the club was a bit dumbfounded about what to do about all the weed smoking and drinking outside of their establishment. Eventually we got to get in, but all bags had to be searched and no alcohol was allowed on the premises. The mood did not get much better when people found out that despite the Stockholm crew subsidizing the beer with 10000kr, a beer cost 35kr (roughly 3.5 euro). The prize ceremony eventually got underway and Marleke from the Netherlands got a bad ass carbon frame for the ladies race, beaver took the first spot in the mens final and Jojo from the PROUD By-Expressen crew got second place and also fastest working messenger! Quite a day for Copenhagen! Right after Leah announced to votes for the next ECMC (Milan got it!!) we all got kicked out of the venue, the party moved on to a nearby park and i made my way to the car in order to drive all throughout the night back to Copenhagen. Once again a championship was over, this one was an Epic one! The story is the same, so many new and old friends. Friendly and familiar faces, rookies falling asleep with their shoes on. Maxing out and chistoleing under a sky that never gets dark. Swimming, biking and hanging out in one of the most beautiful cities in the world was NOT a bad thing!