Marathon Crash Race Report: Addison Zawada

We are proud to be one of the sponsors of the 904 Fixed team, a crew of riders based out of Florida that participate in local and national fixed gear bicycle races. 904 Fixed team rider Addison Zawada just went out to LA to the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race and rocked a 3rd place finish. Considering there were over 2000 riders in this race, I'd say that's pretty good. Check out the complete race report from Addison below.

Adrenaline pumping, heart racing, blood boiling fast racing from beginning to end. The Marathon CrashRace is a race put on by the WolfPack Hustle group from LA, Ca. The race takes part on the streets of LA, specifically the streets already blocked off for the LA marathon. The CrashRace gets its name by doing just that, “crashing” the LA marathon course before the actual marathon begins.
3:00AM, Wake up to 6 alarm clocks screaming, looking outside to the cold darkness and the thermometer showing barely 50. Time to roll out of bed and start a pot of coffee, cook up a few packs of Oatmeal, slam down a protein shake. A few passes on the foam roller and a click of the buckle. Bibs, jersey, shoes, helmet on and out the door.

4:00. A quick stroll around the corner to sunset blvd brings us to Tangs Doughnuts and most importantly the starting line for the race. Rolling up to the starting line we begin to realize just how big this race truly is, as far as the eye can see, nothing but blinky red and white lights. Seeing hundreds, maybe thousands of cyclist raring and ready to go is a sight to behold. Positioning ourselves in the front row and anxiously waiting. The nerves begin to sink in. I remember thinking “This is it, this is the moment I have trained and worked so hard for. But is it enough?”. Then my minds goes blank and I forget about the doubt, push it aside as though I knew I would win. We begin to move and get set for the rolling start. Following the police escort for a mile or two, and with the flick of a finger and the thrust of an arm we are off.

The first sprint begins as the street begins to rise. Time to separate the pros from the amateurs. With the quick ascend and a little bit of struggle the worst is over. It’s all downhill from then on. Speeds increase and reaching upwards of 32 mph, the real race is on. Trying to remain within 5-10 wheels(people) of the front. Looking around I notice there are more fixed gear racers than I had imagined would be in the front pack. The roadies don’t seem to want to do any of the work, conserving energy by drafting behind the fixed riders out front. I take my turn a few times pulling the group but quickly rotating to the back to keep the speed up and conserve my own energy. Turn after turn I begin to become anxious, wondering when the final turn and the big sprint would show their ugly faces. The road begins to fall away and speeds continue to increase. Riding consistently around 35mph for a mile or two and I realize the final turn must be coming soon. Getting prepared for what lays ahead, I work my way back up to 3rd wheel(3rd rider) and begin to conserve as much energy as possible. The group gets tighter and tighter until, BOOM! Down goes a rider, extremely hard. The sound of carbon fiber shattering fills the air and stints the group for just a moment. But not for long, back to the grind. Rounding a corner I see the lead rider stand up and begin to sprint. “This is it” I thought to myself, “here we go”. I stand up and begin to sprint, trying desperately to grab some draft from the rider in front of me. I can’t seem to grab his draft but I continue on in agony. The sprint seems to last forever. Just as I feel as though I can’t go on I remind myself of how hard I have worked. Shutting the pain out as if it was not there, my legs were on fire. Now sprinting at speeds of about 40mph, I can’t seem to spin my legs any faster to catch the racer just infront of me. He seems so close yet oh so very far away. My legs begin to give out on me, riding on the edge of my saddle, giving it everything I have left in the reserve tanks. And suddenly a light appears in view like a light from the heavens. “could it be?” I ask myself as I try to coax my legs along. Finally the end is in sight. With one last burst of energy I stand up give it that one last bit of energy I have. It’s not quite enough. I couldn’t reel in the 2nd place fixed rider. I pulled a 3rd place in the biggest race so far in my career. Podium when I was hoping for just a top 10. Hundreds of riders showed up to compete and I conquered most to pull a 3rd place. I will take that and be perfectly happy with it. Until next year when I get a second chance and the animal that is CrashRace.

Elbows, bumped bars, yelling, hot heads, and desires for 1st place lead to careless riding and unnecessary crashing. The further into the race we get the sketchier it becomes. Tight turns and uncertainty of direction, box trucks and narrow pathways are all recipes for disaster. The race was one of the sketchiest, gnarliest races I have every attended. But I guess the name CrashRace has a double meaning after all. I would say I can’t wait till next year, but the nerve racking nature of that race, I can only handle that once a year. A good race, a little disorganized, super sketchy, but all around good race and such a great concept. I had a great time and cannot wait to go back for next year.

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