Cycle Messenger World Championships head to Central America for the first time

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The Independent Online

Bunnyhops, balancing acts, sprints and skidmarks are all part of the fun at this year's Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC) in the lakeside town of Panajachel, Guatemala, September 3-13.

Previous iterations of the elite contest have been in the world cities of North America and Europe, with recent years seeing Sydney and Tokyo assume hosting duties.

Now participants and spectators will be providing a welcome economic boost to scenic Panajachel, still recovering from the impact of 2005's Hurricane Stan, and a 24km uphill time trial rewards 100 local entrants with a place at the championships.

Though the title of World Champion is reserved for pro messengers only, it's a case of the more the merrier as far as the CMWC's Bill Thain is concerned. Registration is open to all-comers at an event that can boast 50-year-olds among its entrants.

The Main Race Finals will see 100 riders weaving their way through a hectic downtown dispatch challenge on September 12, but there's certainly plenty going on beforehand with bicycle polo and balance challenges, sprint, heavy cargo, and figure-8 races, and contests for the biggest bunnyhops, most backwards circles, and longest skids.

Spectators can watch for free, and those that purchase a $60 pass are brought into the fold with a swag bag, September 10th's welcome party, the 11th's pre-race breakfast, and the 7pm-til-late closing ceremony on the 12th.

For those that can't make it but still want a piece of the action, the CMWC are hopeful that remote Panajachel will be able to support live web broadcasts.

Meanwhile, an introductory video presented by event organizer and former cycle messenger Nadir Olivet is already up on the championship's official site,