After a lackluster February, and a scaling back of expectations, March could have headed down the same road.

Chilled by the weather forecasts for the Midwest, I dropped out of the Death March and transferred the miles to my April Nashville trip. I consoled myself with the notion that I’d be able to ride the Marathon Crash Race. I knew I hadn’t been training, and that I wasn’t going to win, but I’d still have a blast.

Seconds after I sent the e-mail to bow out of the Death Ride, the first ominous Marathon Crash post appeared. The finish line was being pushed back from Ocean Avenue to Bundy. Security concerns. My first emotion was disappointment: the Bundy to the ocean (THE ocean, the Pacific Ocean) stretch of San Vicente is the most fun part of the ride. It’s where I push myself hardest, it’s where I look down at my Garmin and think, “damn, I’m FAST,” without the terror of a steep downhill. Of course, the left turn on to Ocean is tight, so I saw the logic, and then it hit me.

The security concerns weren’t about the riders. It was about the LA Marathon finish line. It was about the Boston Marathon bombing. Disappointment turned to resentment. I simmered with hostility. An ugly flow of profanity spewed from my brain.

I set it aside and got on with the business of the week: work (SAT students for Saturday, news about the new SAT, writing a piece about SAT prep), wine (grape contracts, crush facility contracts), bike stuff…

Tuesday brought the bad news: CANCELLED. Security concerns. Now all I could think was, “if we don’t ride, the terrorists win.”

Wednesday and Thursday were a blur of work and binge-watching back episodes of True Detective. I set my alarm for Friday morning, knowing I wouldn’t get enough sleep.

I showed up early for the Friday Ride. I’m out of shape. I fought to hang on. I had a couple near-misses with cars. Ballona Creek was just sad.

But then the news: the race might be off, but the ride was on!

Saturday night to bed at 11:30. Alarms set for 3:01 and 2:19, just in case Daylight Savings didn’t kick in on my phone. Alarm off at 3:01, then 3:19.

Unlike last year, the ride down Fountain to the start wasn’t so lonely. The lost hour meant more cars weaving home post-last call.

And then there I was at Tang’s – which seems closed, and the building for lease. No pre-ride carboloading.





My shots aren’t nearly as good as these:

2014 Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Ride

And then we were off! No downtown this year, and the police escort decided to take us on Sunset all the way to Whittier – which was cool, but not, strictly speaking, the marathon route. Sure enough, by the time we reached the VA, the speed bumps that had been there Friday were scooped up and gone. Before I knew it, I was flying down the wrong side of San Vicente (that was the course) and on to Ocean Avenue, crossing the non-finish line in an hour flat.

An hour HAD been my goal for the ride, but that was the full 26.2 mile course, not the truncated 18 mile route. I guess sometimes we achieve our goals through hard work, and sometimes we achieve them by moving the goalposts.

My shiny vest got a nice workout for the GCI:


When I got back home, I crept up to the bedroom, where the domestic partner was still asleep. I kissed him on the cheek and he said, “bye sweetie, good luck,” not knowing that I’d already ridden my ass off and was home and sweaty. I showered, went back to bed, dreaming of my reward to come…

Thank you, Domaine LA for the sparklers and donuts tasting…


Decisions have consequences, and some of those consequences are delicious.