By: Ivette Lopez
Around 3000 cyclists from around the southland gathered Sunday for Wolfpack Hustle’s crash ride along the Los Angeles marathon route.
Cycling pros and rookies alike met up at mark 18 of the marathon on the corner of Sunset and Fountain to begin their 20-mile ride ending in Santa Monica. Music, laughter and high energy filled the crowded streets in the early morning.
The planning process, however, wasn’t always smooth sailing for Wolfpack founder and organizer Don Ward.
Despite its popularity, the ride has not been allowed to return to its original race of years prior as the city has denied Ward the permission necessary for the last couple years.
Cyclists originally would race for coveted dog tags that cemented their position amongst some of the fastest riders in the city. However, the city did give permission for a group ride with the accompaniment of several LAPD officers at the front and tail end of the group.
“The message is people want to ride bikes,” said Ward. “The reason the city stopped the bike tour was because they thought, in my mind, they just didn’t want to have 15,000 bike riders going across the city and then dropped off in Santa Monica and having to find their way back.”
According to Ward, bringing the original race back will require a thorough presentation and the help of sponsors to help alleviate the costs associated with a sanctioned race.
Despite the lack of prizes, however, cyclists still expressed their joy in overcoming physical and mental obstacles along the route.
“It was great. It was a little more fast paced than I was expecting to go today, but the juices got flowing and we pedaled as fast as we could,” said cyclist Junue Millan.