It is true: Long Beach will have its first Wolfpack Hustle crit—the Shortline Crit—come May 3 beginning at 2PM when Bike Fest hits the city.
Wolfpack, led by biking guru Don Ward, is the thing of biking legend. The antithesis to CicLAvia, a crit (short for a race criterium, or what is basically a loop that people race around) revolves around a pack of bicyclists vying for the fastest time in close quarters which require carved turns and attacking the pack.
Wolfpack is one of the most known groups in the nation. Take, for instance, last years LA Marathon crash race: it attracted thousands of riders from New York to Texas to good ol’ LA. In fact, it is the largest open streets event outside of CicLAvia—a harp not to be played lightly. And it was something Don had done relatively on his own: after the LA Marathon cancelled its traditional “ride the route” type event for bicyclists, lovers of all things two-wheeled took to their own accord and Don saw a chance to organize. Thus, the Marathon crash race—amongst many other Wolfpack crits—was born.
The unsanctioned events, much like Rapha’s Gentlemen Races or Red Hook Criterium, are alternatives to the deep-in-paper and high-in-insurance USA Cycling events. What some feel basically amounts to red tape hinders the ability for bicyclists to ride as they please (in the case of Wolfpack, mainly at night with dog tags as your winning prize).
The good news—particularly following the odd fallout of this year’s Marathon crash race—is that they are coming to Long Beach.
“We only have three weeks to promote it so I am not sure what the turnout will be,” said Ward. “We have time to process through qualifiers 200 to maybe 300 people.”
The four corner crit will have qualifying sessions of four laps with 15 to 20 riders per session. Each rider gets a neutral lap and three potential hot laps. Groups will be broken up into Men, Women, Road, and Brakeless Track.
The Shortline Crit is looking to be a 24-lap race, with the loop itself housed in the East Village Arts District on First, Atlantic, Broadway, and back down on Elm.
Editor’s note: this article originally stated it was the “Shoreline Crit” when it is actually the Shortline Crit.