Lo Somerville (left) races Beatriz Rodriguez at the Wolfpack Hustle Shortline Crit in Long Beach. Photo: J. Bustamante.
The Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Criterium 2, coming up on July 12th, is the second race of the Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series 2014. Normally comprised of four races (The Marathon Crash Race was cancelled this year), The Shortline Crit, hosted by Long Beach this past May, The Civic Center Crit, and The Huntington Park Gran Prix (September 13) make up one of the most exciting unsanctioned athletic competitions in Southern California.
Hundreds of eager cyclists will be risking their collarbones racing at breakneck speeds around a closed course surrounding the Downtown Los Angeles Civic Center. Competitors will have to maneuver through two hairpin turns, a sweeping descent into a right turn, and a brutal uphill section to the finish line, 24 times. The criterium has garnered worldwide interest, hosting athletes from Arizona, New York and countries as far off as Italy.
What’s especially rousing about this DTLA dash for dogtags are the Long Beach athletes that come restlessly crawling out of the woodwork, looking to put all their hard work and training to the test against the much larger Los Angeles crowd.
Long Beach should be proud of their athletes, especially their younger cyclists, who are the unspoken lifeblood of much of this city’s revered bicycle friendliness. There's no better way to show them off than to shine a little light on their accomplishments and contributions to Long Beach’s cycling culture.
Long Beach native, Bud Abille, won the first Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race in 2010, has taken several first place finishes at King of Track in Incheon, South Korea, won the 2012 Santa Barbara to Los Angeles 100-mile race, placed top ten at the 2014 Fijate Crit in Puerto Rico and most recently, placed first at the Friday Night Racing FFWD Omnium at the Carson Velo Sports Center.
Abille is a Gfunk regular and often times leader and is looking forward to his second Civic Center Crit. Abille said, “I’m really excited for this next crit, It’s a premiere event for LA and we have a lot of new competition coming into town, all vying for a spot on the podium. I’m hoping that the Long Beach and LA natives can hold it down against all these fast racers.”
Lo Somerville, heralding from Downey and now a brand new resident of Belmont Heights is a seasoned competitor with a colorful racing history. She won two national championships with Marian University in the Track Team Omnium in ‘06 and ‘07, won the silver in the Women’s Team Sprint at the 2006 Collegiate Track Nationals, and placed 3rd for the 2010 Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race.
The Civic Center Crit course.
Leader of Ladies Ride, a two-wheeled weekly romp through Long Beach that meets in the Shore, Somerville is a major advocate for encouraging women to ride their bikes safely and swiftly through the streets. She raced last year’s Civic Center Crit and is especially excited that the number of registered female competitors has doubled for this year’s race.
“With access to two riverbeds that can take you north to LA, Whittier, and many other great places to ride, Long Beach is a great location because it’s central to everything," Somerville said. "I love the cycling community here because I feel like I am riding with my best friends.”
Rob Morris, also a Belmont Heights resident, is just a few points shy of upgrading to Cat 2, a category of sanctioned cycling set aside for experienced risk takers and adrenaline junkies. This year he placed 1st at the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, 3rd at the SoCal Cup Crit Series 1, and almost podiumed at the Shortline Crit, reeling in a still impressive 4th place. Morris was all too grateful for a bit of the spotlight, “I kill myself during my rides for a cheap thrill on the weekends so I appreciate you involving me in your article.”
Other Long Beach residents racing the criterium include Gino Romano, Bobby Roman, Fernando Vargas, Abel Cardona, Israel Romero, and the Post's own Asia Morris. You can find the entire start list here. The Civic Center Crit is beyond entertaining to spectate, with athletes of all different calibers coming out to compete. Come out and support your fellow Long Beach cyclists as they vie for one of the most sought after titles in Southern California’s street-racing history.
The Civic Center Crit is an all day event starting with qualifying races at 2PM; final races start at 6pm. Winners of the Men’s Track and Road and Women’s Track and Road categories will receive the coveted dog tags, $250 cash and 30 points towards the Unified Title Series overall standings.