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Why Crashing Tomorrow’s Marathon On Your Bike Could Be The Least Awesome Thing You’ve Ever Done

11:49 am in Biking in LA, Events, Law, Law Enforcement, News, Rants, Social issues, Sports by Will Campbell

UPDATED (3/8 @ 12:16PM): Well would ya lookee here, this latest statement from Don Ward on the Wolfpack Hustle Facebook page indicates that while the race is off it looks like a scrambled-together permitted fun ride with the assistance of LAPD and the mayor’s office may be a go. I’m going to refrain from offering a wholesale “nevermind!” to my post below  and instead suggest “approach with caution” as the situation may still be in flux.

There is much anger over the cancellation by civic officials of tomorrow’s Marathon Crash Race bike ride. The event, which was hatched by my friend and tireless bike advocate Don “Roadblock” Ward the year after freshly minted L.A. Marathon owner Frank McCourt (‘memba him?) decided in his infinite dimwittedness in 2009 to kill the companion landmark bike event to the annual footrace held every year since 1995 apparently because he didn’t need the cash-cow like money generated by the entry fees paid by some 10,000 cyclists to freewheel at their leisure and pleasure along the race course at dawn each year.

I did it every year from its inception to its end. Here’s my timelapse of the final LA Bike Tour:

In its first couple/three years the Marathon Crash Race was a guerilla-style ride, steadily building its participation through word of mouth in the greater Southern California bike community and beyond. But its popularity fully kablammo’d! last year. Depending upon which story you read about it there was anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 participants. Kray. Zay.

So for this year with the race threatening to be even bigger Don went to some pretty great pains to take the informal cooperation provided previously by LAPD, city and marathon officials, and make it formal. This past week, those officials collectively said “Oh HAIL nah!” leaving Ward dejected and many of those who planned to ride threatening to crash the the marathon and ride the route regardless.

If you’re one of those protesting threateners, here’s the thing to consider: The very public slaying of the Marathon Crash Race by the bureaucrats has been coupled to subsequent very real threats of prosecutorial action to be taken against any and all riders who take to the course in the aftermath of the cancellation. In addition those two elements are linked inseparably to the heightened security concerns brought to the fore by the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

Bottom line to any one in the wake of those facts who is still deciding so unwisely to ride the closed course, you should damn well budget and prepare for and accept the VERY REAL possibility of being stopped most impolitely WELL short of the finish line potentially to stand facing officers barking orders from behind guns/batons/tasers/pepper spray canisters prior to being separated roughly from your bikes and subsequently handcuffed and arrested, with pronation and dogpiling being part of the process. And quadruple the woe and injury that could befall those who ride wearing a damn backpack of any size. For that level of dumbo idiocy I am NOT even in the slightest kidding: it could be your funeral.

I am sad to have to posit such horrible possibilities and scenarios. In a way it means the terrorists have won. But heartbreak aside, from where I’ll be safely sitting, the time and energies that would be expended getting processed into jail, bailing oneself out, dealing with any injuries incurred and a lawyer and eventually facing a court proceeding and penalty would be better spent tapping those cancel-happy bureaucrats — and extraspecially Frank McCourt — on their collective noggins repeatedly until they either bruise or finally come up with the idea that resurrecting the LA Bike Tour might be a pretty decent compromise.

But maybe that’s just me.

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Moving Waters

9:41 am in Entertainment, environment, Events, News, Seasonal, Sports by Will Campbell

As part of a pilot program this summer, a section of the long-lost Los Angeles River coursing through Elysian Valley was reopened to the public for use as a recreational resource, an opportunity angelenos have not had since the 1930s when the river’s channelization was begun to prevent flooding.

As a boy I accidentally discovered the river, and from that single experience I have never stopped being enamored with and zealously protective of what so many others have dismissed as our city’s woeful waterway — little more than a drainage ditch to the sea. Though I’ve been aware of its potential, I never imagined that one day I’d see such a sea change in perception so that  the river would made accessible and embraced not as a prohibited place but as public parkland to be explored and experienced and as something to connect with after so long a disconnect.

River route as seen via Google Earth. Click the image for the bigger picture.

River route as seen via Google Earth. Click the image for the bigger picture.

So for me, thanks to L.A. River Expeditions (Facebook), to be among the first wave during this historic first season and doing what you see in these clips at the top and after the jump: putting a kayak into its waters and putting my butt into that kayak and paddling — however awkwardly — downstream for a water-level perspective of my beloved river, it’s not a dream come true. Because I never dared to dream this could ever happen. Not in my lifetime.

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Take A Hike To An Unsung POV

9:05 am in Biking in LA, Sports, The Valley by Will Campbell

I’m one of 17 hiking and mountainbiking members of the newly formed Trail Safety Patrol volunteer program implemented by Glendale whose mission beginning early next year is to serve as ambassadors for the city’s Community Services & Parks Department and work in conjunction with Glendale police and fire in providing for and promoting an enjoyable experience for all visitors to its open spaces.

Though I’ve been riding in the Verdugos for all 22-years of the mountaingbiking portion of my life, there are trails in the adjacent San Rafael Hills we’ve been tasked to patrol I’ve never put tire tread to and I’m familiarizing myself with them in advance of our start date. Two weekends ago I rolled the Ridge Motorway, and last Sunday found me on the Valle Vista Motorway located on the ridge between the 134 Freeway an Glenoaks Canyon. I want to highly recommend both if they were as previously unknown to you as they were to me. But of the two, the latter offers the most awesome visual award.

Here’s the flat version of a 360-degree panorama I took of the scenery and of my fellow mountainbiking patrolers from the trail’s western overlook above the 2/134 interchange (biggification enabled when clicked).

A rotating, interactive version of the pano image is viewable here.

The trail (route mapped here) is accessible from the upper end of Sleepy Hollow Drive off of Glenoaks Boulevard. At less than one-mile in length, the payoff found at the end far exceeds the output required to get to it, although there are some steeply graded sections of the fire road to scale as it rolls along.

 

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‘Tis The [Football] Season

3:12 pm in Pets, Seasonal, Sports by Will Campbell

During the course of college football seasons I’m inevitably greeted with several variations on the WTF theme when it’s discovered that this Los Angeles native’s lifelong, rabid and deathless team allegiance isn’t to the Trojans of USC or the Bruins of UCLA, but rather the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

The short answer is that my mother’s an alum. The longer answer is that whilst I was growing up she pretty much worshiped Bama’s legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and thus by familial fanmosis, did I as well. So much so that my dream during high school was to attend Alabama and play for Bryant, but that all fell apart when he retired during my senior year and then died not more than a couple months later.

Since then, through thick and thin I’ve been content to be the Tide’s self-appointed West Coast representative, so to speak. It’s a lonely job. I was pretty much the only one in town cheering them on when they capped their undefeated 1992 season with the National Championship over Miami. I was in the stands at the Rose Bowl in 2000 when they came for a visit and UCLA spanked them but hard. And these last few years I’ve reveled in the glories they’ve achieved under Coach Nick Saban. If you don’t believe I take this shit too seriously just drive by my house during any televised Bama game on Saturdays and I guarantee you won’t have to linger too long until I rumble out an ultra-loud “Rooooolll Tiiiiiiide!” My wife’ll tell you. The neighbors, too.

You’ve probably been wondering  over the last couple paragraphs what does all that have to do with? And the bridge to that answer is after the jump.

The thing is, as a contributor to Blogging.la coming up on almost 10 years now, I’ve ended up on a variety of PR lists. One of the most recent pitches I found in my inbox was for the Dog-E-Glow (Facebook / Twitter) line of LED- embedded pet collars and leashes. More specifically, the email pointed out the company’s brand new licensed College Collection, one of which was — you guessed it: Alabama.

So of course I wrote back a lengthy reply that basically boiled down to “Gimme! Gimme! Roll Tide! Want!” And in exchange for them sending me a Bama collar and leash combo (pictured at right, biggable if clicked), I promised I’d pimp my beloved Ranger by making her game-day ready for the Tide’s season opener this evening (5 p.m., ABC) against Michigan, show her off here (like so below), and spread a little love about the company and the product in case you want one for your pooch.

Lights Off (left). Lights On (right). Good girl, Ranger!

Fort Lauderdale, Fla-based Dog-E-Glow was founded by dog and outdoors lovers who above all wanted to keep their pets and others’ safe while looking their very best. The collars and leashes come in 12 fashion designs and 48 (and growing) college brands, and feature a flexible LED tube sewn into each ballistic nylon product whose lights are bright, long-lasting and visible for up to 1,000 feet at night. The collars and leashes are weather resistant, fully adjustable, and have two settings: steady and blinking. At the Dog-E-Glow website, the collars sell for $25.99, the leashes $29.99.

Oh and: Roll Tide!

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How Fast Did The Amgen Tour Of California Cyclists Come Blasting Through Silver Lake Yesterday?

9:06 am in Biking in LA, LA, News, Sports by Will Campbell

This fast and this close:

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by frazgo

Arrests are imminent….

9:03 am in Law, Law Enforcement, Sports by frazgo

According to this tweet from LAFD Arson at least they are…

lafdarson tweet

LAFD Arson tweet

 

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Navitat Canopy Adventures: Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Yay!

11:47 am in Entertainment, environment, Seasonal, Sports by Will Campbell

I’ll admit it: Even after making the 90-minute drive up to Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood, and even when I was being strapped into the 12 pounds of harness gear, and eeeeeven when I stared down the length of that first zipline while breathing air so clean it hurt my lungs, there was a part of me that was ready to wuss out.

Fact is, I am pretty much terra firma’s bitch — exxxxtra-terrestrial, so to speak, in that my life-long crush on my physical, foot-planted connection to our earth is practically boundless. Suffice it to say the ground and me, we’re close. Really close. As such it is not often but always with trepidation whenever I intentionally leave its embrace –  but certainly not to seek various thrills such as diving into the sky out of a perfectly good airplane, or bungee jumping off a perfectly good bridge. Ziplining though? Hmmmm, now that was something I didn’t immediately have so adamant an adverse reaction to and therefore might be open to consider doing. At least in theory. Some day.

Ready to roll at zipline No. 1. Did Will stay or did he go now?

Which turned out to be March 24 when, despite my doubts about turning that theory into action, I took Navitat up on its gracious invitation and went up into that wild forested yonder in the San Gabriel Mountains about 75-miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 7,000 or so feet above sea level. Upon my arrival I was warmly welcomed by Caley Bowman, Navitat’s marketing manager, and soon after signed the requisite waiver absolving her company of all responsibility should I break a nail or a neck.

Soon after, among an assembled group of five other fellow blogger invitees (Andrea, Christine, Debi, Nicole and Bob), we were all harnessed and helmeted and venturing via 4×4 van up a steep and winding and narrow old logging road to eventually stand before that first zipline, where I wasn’t surprised at all to find that earth-bound part of me still looking for the chicken exit. But did I make like a tree and leave? Did I “bough” out ungracefully? Oh hell no. Me and my inner adrenaline junkie clipped in and went up, up and away for the ziplining rides of my life.

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Jump Around

3:13 pm in Entertainment, Sports by Chris Corning

trampoline parkUrbandaddy recently tipped us off to this fascinating new type of recreation facility: the indoor trampoline park. According to the Sky Zone website, they are planning to leap right into the southland (sorry) with over a half-dozen SoCal locations open or planned, including Covina, Glendale, Anaheim, the San Fernando Valley, and more.

According to the Urbandaddy post, the Gardena location was set for a soft opening this past Saturday. Anyone make it out there?

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A Tale Of Two LA Marathon Perspectives: Up High & Down Low

9:40 am in LA, Sports by Will Campbell

Proof that I can be two places at once, I bring you two perspectives of yesterday’s Los Angeles Marathon. This first is my obligatory timelapse of the thundering herd at the race’s seventh mile on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, as seen weirdly from a low-res cam literally duct-taped to the eyepiece of a 20X spotting scope:

Next I captured the street-level perspective of the event having gone down  to cheer my neighbor Dean on who was running the race in support of and to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. When I got down there with my wife Susan I found another neighbor Ralph had brought his drum (and a killer St. Patty’s Day-green dye job to his goatee), so Susan went back and got my drum and together we banged on them as the parade of participants pranced past:

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Anyone Keeping up with Our Local Sportsball Team?

4:07 pm in Comedy, Entertainment, Sports by Chris Corning

The Clippers – one of LA’s favorite sportsball teams.

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by frazgo

Win entry to Gladiator Rock’ n Run to benefit TACA.

8:19 am in Contests, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Sports by frazgo

It’s time to strap up, square off, and challenge yourself and your friends in an epic obstacle/adventure run experience! Dan Clark aka Nitro, from the original American Gladiators, is putting on the Gladiator Rock’n Run one-day challenge in Pasadena’s world famous Rose Bowl on October 1st.  Gladiator Rock’ n Run is a muddy, gritty, ultimate-test-of-wills event!  At the end of the run is the “Rock’n Rumble Pit” where you can square off against your friends and others, in Pugil Mayhem, Mud Tug-O-War, and other battle-hardened games, just like the old-school. Ages 14-and-up can participate, and racers are encouraged to form teams, wear over-the-top costumes, and get down and dirty! Plenty of freebies for finishers, including t-shirts from Affliction, and prizes for the top 3.

After the games are done, there’s 3 kickin’ bands ready to turn it up for the party,with food and free beer for race challenge participants (21+). Enjoy the event knowing that proceeds will go to benefit the charity TACA: (Talk About Curing Autism) Bring friends, family, and gawkers; it’ll be a muddy, wild, and awesome time, all for a good cause!More details can be found at their Web Site.  Contest info deets after the jump.

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Tour of California Bike Race Finishes in L.A.’s Front Yard

1:31 pm in Biking in LA, Events, Sports by Matt Mason

Nice (bike) rack

2 bikes that weren't in the Tour of California

You’re pardoned if you didn’t know that a world-class sports competition, featuring many of its top athletes, wrapped up yesterday in Thousand Oaks. It was the Amgen Tour of California bike race, and is seen as a lead-in to the Tour de France in July.

The Tour of California covered 8 stages, beginning at Lake Tahoe. It included many of the world’s best cyclists, including California resident Levi Leipheimer, who placed second to fellow American Chris Horner. In Europe, where bike racing is as popular as soccer and Formula One auto racing, many racers are household names. In the U.S., bike racing has more of a cult status, even among the many commuter biking enthusiasts at blogging.la.

However, the Tour of California could change that. Cult members showed up along the route, or followed the action on the Versus cable channel or website. The weather was excellent, and the route showcased much of the beauty of Central and Southern California. In particular, on Saturday, the riders climbed more than 6,000 feet up Mt. Baldy (i.e., Mt. San Antonio), the 10,000+ foot highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains that border the Los Angeles area, and the snow-capped biggie that many of us see outside our windows. The “Mt. Baldy” climb could become an iconic staple of the Tour of California the way the infamous Alpe D’Huez has for the Tour de France.

It was an exciting race, and a great chance to show off our neck of the woods to the world, and, hopefully, to some Americans too.

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Downtown Dodgers + Football in the Ravine

11:38 am in Downtown, Real Estate, Sports by Jason Burns

Apparently, the recent takesies-backsies of the Los Angeles Dodgers by Major League Baseball has quiet a few suits talking. Their discussions are starting to get interesting. Yahoo Sports takes a look at how the baseball power struggle may help L.A.’s bid for an NFL franchise.

In short, the Dodgers could move to a new baseball stadium downtown on the site of the currently proposed new NFL stadium. A new football facility would go up in place of Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Stadium swap.

It’s a fascinating idea. Football fans would now be able to tailgate outside a brand new stadium, as opposed to the downtown site. It would also provide an opportunity to correct an injustice done decades ago – a new stadium could be situated to face Downtown Los Angeles instead of turning its back on the heart of the city. The new Dodger Stadium could also boast DTLA as a dramatic backdrop. Baseball would become more a part of the urban fabric of the city.

Take the subway to a ballgame? In Los Angeles?

What do you think?

 

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Dodgers Assimilated; Leaders Dumbfounded

4:52 pm in Politics, Sports by Jason Burns

The Once and Futile King (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

When news broke that Major League Baseball was assuming day-to-day control of the Los Angeles Dodgers, most of the internet reacted with a sense of “about damn time.”

Local politicians? Well, they’re just flabbergasted. Blindsided by something that none of them ever saw coming during the reign of The McCourts. How could this be? Why is this happening to our beloved boys in blue? We have never had any reason to believe something like this would happen, aside from The Divorce, Manny, gang shenanigans, fan beatings, IRS investigations, and endless seasons of The Great NL West Race to .500. We’re stunned. STUNNED!!!

Perhaps the most ridiculous statement to come out of City Hall yet belongs to Wendy Greuel:

As a lifelong Angeleno and a Dodgers fan, I would hope there would be stability so the Dodgers can focus on winning the World Series.

Follow the game much, Wendy?

 

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Reminder: Grand Prix of Long Beach This Weekend

5:57 pm in Long Beach, Sports by Dave Share

That’s right folks, it’s that time of the year again. Time for gasoline and sunshine….and beer. The 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will make it’s way through the streets of Long Beach this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There’s a schedule of events you can check out but I suggest that you do NOT mis the celebrity race on Saturday afternoon as well as the ALMS race immediately after. Sunday will be the main Indy Car race and the culmination of what is to be a great weekend.

It looks like the weather will be perfect too. Sunny and warm, but not hot. I’ll be wearing my sunscreen. If you’ve never been, check out a post I did a couple years ago for OC Metblogs. It gives you a good idea of what to expect each day. I highly suggest you check it out. You can get Friday/Saturday tickets super cheap. Doooo it!

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