Urban Velo

Marathon Crash Report

An hour before go time.

One hour before go time.

Every Marathon Crash event comes with its own surprises, and this year had its own unexpected circumstance. From the very first one being an impromptu event, announced upon discovery that the longstanding bike tour was no more, to the false start of 2012 and the sudden cancellation of the race this year and last-minute reinstatement of the ride portion of the event.

Who knew that several hundred cyclists would show up to a guerilla street race at 3 am? Five years ago, that was the lesson to be learned. Five years later, and the Crash Race Ride continues to be educational. Perhaps the biggest lesson this year is that the passion to ride is a powerful force. That’s what the City of Los Angeles learned this weekend, when more than a thousand cyclists showed up to ride on Sunday morning.

Even though the race was cancelled, local and visiting cyclists who had marked their calendars for this night long ago, weren’t willing to call off their plans just because they didn’t have the city’s support. After all the ground that race organizer Don Ward aka Roadblock had gained over the years, the City Attorney saw the the Crash Race as too big to continue existing without the requisite red tape throwing an event in Los Angeles required.

Here’s how things went down the night of: There were no dog tags, but everyone won (unless you were gunning at a chance at earning a pair of dog tags for risking life and limb in the most chaotic street race – hundreds of riders of novice, amateur and pro status competing for space and speed on semi-closed streets, and couldn’t let go of your dream without bitterness). Competition junkies were able to get their fix on Saturday night, at Hernan Montenegro’s Plan B Alleycat, which provided all of the shenanigans a good race should.

The Crash Ride was easily half the size of the previous year’s, although the number still broke 1,000 cyclists easily. The cops protected every intersection along the route, so riders never stopped once–although the course was somewhat abridged and skipped the section through the downtown area. The Santa Anas blew hot, so this early morning ride was surreal in its warmth–a warmth that describes more than just the weather, as the feeling was familial, with nothing at stake but our Sunday agendas (naps were in order across town).

The ones who trained still could still claim all the strength and skill and personal improvement they had gained, and those who feared the dangers the clusterfuck could breathe a sigh of relief. Some of us stayed up all night, and got a hand up from Daylight Savings, which washed away 2 am in the blink of an eye, and thankfully so, as we were dangerously close to running out of whiskey and balance. Others set alarms for the oddest hours, rolling up to the start still foggy-eyed. To train harder and eat healthier in preparation, or commit to making a marathon out of the night itself, with antecedent adventures and another round to kick off at the edge of the sea, as the sun rises and alcohol wears off.


“Thanks everyone for coming out!” announced Roadblock, sporting a grin big enough to swallow all the anguish of the days preceding. At the end of the line, where the land met the Pacific, he spoke through a megaphone, a high-rise human among a sea of cyclists who just came out to ride, “Who wants to go to the beach?”

And without a doubt, the sunrise was the sweetest reward, as if the ride itself wasn’t a boon enough. I can’t even tell you how many cyclists posted “Best life ever” in their statuses throughout the day on Sunday (a lot).

As for the future of the Crash Race, and the rest of the 2014 Wolfpack Hustle series, here’s what the tall dude had to say:

How was Herbalife able to help out exactly, and what was the status of the agreement with the city (permitted to ride but not race)?
Don Ward: The Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series is 3 points races (road crit and drag race) and an invitational track event. With the loss of the Marathon Crash the series only had two points events. Herbalife stepped in and offered enough support to add an additional crit race to replace the loss of Marathon Crash points. We are working out the complete details this week and will announce soon but it looks like they will be title sponsoring our athlete zone. Pretty hyped on that.

What is the likelihood that the MCR will achieve a more official status in the way the bike tour once operated, with full street closure, full city support, and fully permitted?
DW: I think the likelihood is actually fairly high that we can get it done. With the reality that people will crash race no matter what, I think the city will work to keep this event legitimate. My hope is that we can do a chip timed race event followed by the fun ride.

How was your ride?
DW:It was the first time I’ve gotten to actually ride the course in 5 years. I was having a blast riding turtle on my tandem together with my sweetheart and taking in the excitement of riding some if the most famous streets in the world.

Savannah GA Spring Alleycat

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EvTpULD Springtime is alleycat season, with this one coming up on March 16th in Savannah GA. $5, rain or shine.

Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title

Wolfpack Hustle: The Unified Title Series 2014 from Wolfpack Hustle on Vimeo.

The kids at Wolfpack Hustle just released this Unified Title promo video, kicking off the 2014 series with the upcoming Marathon Crash race going down on the 9th of March. If it’s too late for you to jump into the crash race, get in on all the future action and still compete for the Unified Title.

Get all the necessary info at Wolfpack Hustle.

Smut Pedalers Run

Smut Pedalers RunOn March 29th, Sin City Portage will present their first alleycat, the Smut Pedalers Run. From organizer, Matt Reyes:

Its a uniquely Vegas style alley cat where cyclist collect Porn Smut that clutters the strip from designated pick up points. First to cross the finish line with all pieces of Smut, wins!

Check out www.sincityportage.com

March Madness Is Upon Us

 

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With Monster Track, the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race, and the first race of Red Hook Crit all packed into the month of March, there will be no rest for the hungry. It all starts in L.A., with the Marathon Crash Race on March 9th. Register at wolfpackhustle.com.

Following the pre-dawn peril that is the Crash Race, next stop on the street race circuit is Monster Track XV, followed by the Red Hook Crit series kickoff in Brooklyn. Sure hope your legs are ready!

Bomb Squad

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“Bike handling skill and a lack of self-preservation are paramount in this endeavor.” Rules of play at atomiccycles.com.

Alamo City Alleycat

tumblr_mz5c9izzmd1sez031o1_500 It turns out that the Alamo in fact has a basement, and alleycats too. Next one up is March 2nd at Crockett Park in San Antonio TX, with more info available at bikebexar.tumblr.com

Bespoked 2014 – The UK Handmade Bicycle Show

Bespoked 2014 Banner

Tickets are now on sale for Bespoked 2014, London’s handmade bicycle show. Bespoked is scheduled for April 11-13 at the Lee Valley Velopark.

Check out www.bespoked.cc

1st Annual Shopbike Shootout

Shopbike Shootout

Amanda’s behind this. It’s going to be good.

Philadelphia Bicycle Art Benefit Auction

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Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 11.11.36 AM Philadelphia’s Bicycle Art Benefit Auction is scheduled for March 22nd, featuring dozens of pieces of upcycled bicycle art up for the bidding. Scrap parts from the basements and dusty corners of Neighborhood Bike Works and The Bike Church are being transformed into pieces of art, with all proceeds going back to this DIY bike projects helping to get residents on bikes, and knowledge about how to fix their rides into their heads. The organizers of Philly’s Bicycle Art Benefit Auction are inspired by the Tucson group, Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage (BICAS), which has been producing about 300 pieces a year since 1995, filling the Tucson area with more than 6,000 pieces of bicycle art. You can view the art at Studio 34 in West Philadelphia starting March 2nd, with the March 22nd auction featuring music and fun times. Check the Facebook event page for more info, and how to submit your own work.

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