Last year I heard of the Marathon Crash Race put on by WolfPack Hustle and since then my interest had been sparked and the anticipation for the ride was building. A race organized to take place early morning before the runners of the LA Marathon take the course, Cyclists from Los Angeles and across the U.S. gather at 4am and take the course to earn medals and bragging rights. This was the 5th annual Crash Race and as the date approached I started to spread the word to gather a good-sized group to ride with. About 5 days before the race I went online to register and found that the event was cancelled.
Apparently the city of Los Angeles had contacted WolfPack Hustle and asked that they stopped the event as they needed permits to continue with a race in the streets of Los Angeles. The organizers had already cleared a police escort for the race and that to was pulled, not at the LAPD’s choice but by the city. The city asked for more permits to continue but that would cost the organizers $100,000 to obtain. This was a shock to hear when the race was just five days out. The organizers went through several meetings with the city of LA and found a way to get a permit for a “Fun Ride” rather than a race. I guess if you call it a race you are obligated to have certain insurance permits to cover the city and the people. So the ride was back on, I didn’t care about winning first place just being there and riding through the course was enough for me.
The met time was 3am and thanks to daylight savings time I woke up an hour late but still made it in time. I parked about two miles away from Tang’s Donuts, the meeting spot, and made my way down sunset towards the crowd. The sight of the thousands of cyclists was a bit overwhelming at first. It was a bit weird for me to just stand there and wait alone while all others talked amongst their group. But this wasn’t the first cycling event I’ve ever been to alone so I took a few pics uploaded a shot on Instagram and started wandering around to meet new people. I made my way closer to the start line and into the excited crowd when I felt an alert from my phone. A message from a IG friend came in telling me he was there waiting for the ride to start in front of the McDonald’s. I made my way towards him but its hard to find someone you’ve never meet personally and only seen in Instagram pictures. The race was starting and there was no time to be looking around, I clipped into my pedals and got ready to travel the course.
The ride was started by a loud-speaker playing Hotel California and everyone cheering loud as they slowly moved forward. The police escort kept us at about 15 mph but that soon changed once the cyclists started passing the cop vehicles. There was cyclists of all types fixed gears, mountain bikes and road bikes. I saw a few people rollerblading the course and that was awesome. Some carried those kid carriages with speakers playing some tunes others with backpacks equipped with speakers. I kept a fast pace moving through the crowd trying to catch up to the next rider playing music as if I was channel surfing through stations. At the same time looking around at all the spectators who were out on the streets at the time. Most people were those stumbling out of the clubs in Hollywood trying to catch a cab. All quickly took out their phones to record the thousands of cyclists taking over the streets of LA.
I made sure to remember key landmarks throughout the course. I knew my cousins would be running through it soon and wanted to know the area well to gauge their pace. When I got to the 20 mile mark I could almost picture the runners taking over the path and felt a proud feeling knowing that when my cousins got to this point they would be close to finishing their challenge. I sprinted from mile 20 to the finish line down San Vicente Blvd and could see the mile markers changing over head. 21, 22 then 24 and so forth. Right along the 25th mile mark there is a stack of hay and you make a sharp right to the last stretch. I made it.
At the finish line everyone gathered to cheer those who took first place. I on the other hand thought to myself what would be the best route to take back to my car. The race course was now closed and I still needed get back to my care safely. The streets around LA aren’t the most bike friendly my only hope is that there wouldn’t be too much traffic around. I made my way south towards the Westwood area so I can intersect with the VA and try to get back on the course. On the way I meet an older man riding a hybrid that was heading the same direction. I told him about my plan to take Wilshire back to Tang’s Donuts but he suggested against it as the car traffic would not be safe. Well when we got to the VA a stupid security officer would not let us pass through the course and I was forced to take my chances on Wilshire Blvd. There I meet up with Mike and Nike two road bike cyclists who were heading back to Tang’s as well and shared the similar route plan as me. They were cool guys, Mike later found me on Strava and we now follow each other. We are now trying to set up a ride to get some climbing in.
I arrived back to my car as the LA Marathon was starting. I placed my bike in the car and after switching my shoes I made my way to the course to be a spectator. My cousins were running the Marathon and I wanted to see them at the beginning before aI met them at the finish line. When I saw the professional women pass by I knew that I would be waiting a while so I went to get something to eat to kill time before heading to the finish line. I’m really proud of my cousins for completing the Marathon. Cecilia who registered at the same time my wife did was to overwhelmed with school to train properly and because of it she was not going to run. I spoke to her and told her that skipping the race would be a mistake and that she could do it and would regret it later if she didn’t. Miguel has not run in a long time but he was in cross-country in high school, 10 years ago, so how hard could it be right. Well my wife could no longer run due to being pregnant so Miguel was lucky enough to get a free bib to the LA Marathon. He stepped up like a boss and completed the run. I picked up my cousin Armando on the way to the finish line and we both waited for Cecilia and Miguel. They both look so exhausted but were very happy to see us waiting for them.