It's been a couple of years since I rode the Los Angeles Bike Marathon. My brother, Dan, and my young friend and assistant, Sam, joined me this year. The day before the ride, we headed to the Los Angeles convention center. It was a bit of a madhouse there, with thousands of people attending the fitness "Expo" and lining up, like us, to register for the ride. The schwag we received in the goodie bag was not insignificant, with all sorts of snack foods, coupons, a great t-shirt, etc. Very, very impressive. Then we returned to my home, where we had a little party with some friends, and we three riders consumed large amounts of pasta and dessert, carbo loading for the marathon.
We left my home in Los Angeles at 5 .m. and rode the marathon route backwards, on the closed-off streets, to the start of the ride at USC, about 9 miles away. We saw a few other riders along the way. There we joined about 18000 other bicyclists, pedaling off into the dawn a little before 6 a.m. It was a great ride through a good chunk of the city - South Los Angeles, Koreatown, Hancock Park, a tiny bit of West L.A., Museum Row (right past the historic May Company Department Store, now part of the county art museum), and the USC neighborhood. When the route took us past my street, we stopped and met my wife, who had walked down a block with our dog to greet us.
When the ride was over, we enjoyed the festivities at USC before making yet another trip along the marathon route. This time there was just the three of us. The route was of course still closed to vehicles, as the runners would be coming the same way in another hour or so. Hundreds of volunteers and local residents cheered the three of us as if we were conquering heros. As we turned the corner at La Cienega Blvd. onto Pico Blvd., there was a huge assembly of volunteers getting thousands of cups of Gatorade ready, and balloons arched over the street. We received an enormous final cheer as the route took us to the corner of my street.