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“Make room for more cyclists,” announces Officer Gordon Helper over his car’s loudspeaker. Rather than shut down the race, Officer Helper and the officers that accompanied him would be pacing the race to ensure safety along the route and liaise between the marathon organizers, and other city agencies involved in the street closures.

With a 4 am start there would have been plenty of time for every rider to cross the finish at Ocean and Montana before the runners would even be on the course. But as the crowd grew, so did the anticipation, and at roughly a quarter to four something at the southern end of the mass triggered a false start, and the crowd took off south down Vermont. What typically happens is the group heads out in a rolling start, up to Elysian and Sunset, where the marathon course starts. Crash Race organizer Roadblock, whose physical stature defines his name, took up post in the center of the road and made everyone stop, effectively restarting the race.

The mass of bikes lit up the dark night like a roving beacon as the group stretched out across the route that would leave them at the ocean’s edge. During the race there were several crashes, including one before the restart.

“A guy slid out in a corner right next to me and just about wiped me out!” Kapri Gonzales told me. After avoiding several more crashes