Tag Archives: marathon

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

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.

L.A. Marathon This Sunday: Get Over It?

2010 L.A. Marathon finish line

The 2011 Los Angeles Marathon takes place this Sunday, largely repeating 2010’s “Stadium to the Sea” route.  Last year’s route successfully highlighted various Los Angeles area landmarks, including Dodgers Stadium, Rodeo Drive, and the Santa Monica Pier near the finish line.  However, I was at the finish line last year, and the popularity of the Marathon made things very tough on spectators there.  For example, it was nearly impossible to walk across Ocean Avenue even at points well beyond the finish line.  Additionally, the sidewalk on the East Side of Ocean Ave. was so jammed that it looked hazardous to be there.  I wondered whether it would be feasible to construct a temporary pedestrian foot bridge over Ocean using the same scaffolding materials that were used for the finish line itself (see photo at top).

The good news is that the Marathon planners apparently have taken a stab at trying to ameliorate some of the crowd congestion and pedestrian street access problems that occurred last year.  Specifically, in addition to better access for runners getting to the starting line, the finish line has been moved several blocks North down Ocean Ave.  Hopefully, this will allow for a real pedestrian crossing zone on Ocean well past the finish line, which would not interfere with the recuperating runners who have just finished the race.

If that’s the case, then I’m looking forward to an even more successful Marathon finish line party this year.

The Los Angeles Marathon’s Big Finish

What a day for Los Angeles!  The new Los Angeles Marathon route sent runners and spectators to a number of L.A.’s most famous streets and landmarks, including Dodgers Stadium, Hollywood Blvd., Sunset Blvd., and Rodeo Drive, before one last turn from San Vicente Blvd. and a spectacular finish along Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, overlooking the Pacific.  I biked up to the finish line, watched a bunch of the estimated 25,000 runners finish, surrounded by many thousands of enthusiastic spectators, and then checked out the finish line party in the nearby Santa Monica Pier parking lot.

More pics and recap, after the jump

Those Most Sporting of Street Closures: LA Marathon Monday

lamarathonIt’s that time again! I understand the LA Marathon is a world-class athletic event offering us humans the possibility to excel and revel in our physicality, but for me, the LA Marathon means one thing: road closures.

This year’s route begins in downtown, heading south on Fig, and jogs around Exposition Park; proceeds west on Exposition Blvd. to jog south through Leimert Park; heads up to Rodeo ROAD via Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd; north on Crenshaw to Venice; then zigzags up La Cienega to Pico, executing a u-turn via San Vicente to Wilshire & 6th Street, heading east again through the Tar Pits area & Hancock Park; meanders around in Hancock Park/K-Town a little bit before heading to Olympic, pointed east; and then returns to its starting point downtown.

Plan your routes accordingly. The map is here.

Photo by mil8 via Creative Commons.

There Will Be A Marathon/Bike Tour In March After All (But It’ll Be In Pasadena)

For those of you still mourning the unnecessary and idiotic death of Los Angeles Marathons on Sundays in March, there’s a new one coming. In March. On a Sunday. In Pasadena — coincidentally a city that could be argued as having a proportionally greater number of houses of worship per capita than L.A. Hallelujah!

You might recall the inaugural Pasadena Marathon scheduled for November 16 was all set to go off only to be canceled because of  air quality issues in the midst of the wildfires burning at the time. Well, its organizers — a group called Pasadena Forward — have gone all carpe diem in planting a flag on Sunday, March 22 as the rescheduled date for the first-ever event, ably filling the void left by the L.A. Marathon after its unceremonial exorcism to a potentially marathon-unfriendly Memorial Day from its typical first Sunday in March.

That heinous destruction of tradition came about after city officials caved to pressure from churches that had long damned the associated street closures as the reason why their congregations dropped so drastically that one day out of the year. Thus, when the event’s new organizers took over this year (under the ownership of the L.A. Dodger-owning McCourts), they did so basically being forced to heed this silly “Never on Sunday!” civic mandate.

Pasadena not only says to hell with that noise, but has gone proactive in providing special race-day travel information on its website offering congregants optimal routes to the churches in proximity to the course whose attendance might otherwise be impacted by the event.

Now there’s an idea: working together for manageable solutions rather than working apart to create monumental problems. Pasadena just made L.A. look reeeeeeally stoopid.