Hot damn. The 2015 Crusher in the Tushar gravel race hurt like no other, but it was certainly worthwhile.
Unfortunately, no personal pictures exist from this event, as I was a little busy letting the Beaver, Utah terrain hand me a firm slap across the face. However, plenty of mental images were captured in the Tushar Mountains.
The Tushar Mountains are the third highest mountain range in Utah. On Saturday, July 11th, approximately 500 willing racers completed over 10,000 feet of climbing in this expansive landscape, which proved to be punishing and rewarding.
For me, the event began on Friday, July 10th, with an eight hour road trip. Travel proved to be a breeze, as my pops and Mr. John Saliamonas provided unique and intriguing stories to pass the time.
Saturday morning began with an early morning alarm, plenty of race preparation, and witnessing an insane group of cyclists take over Beaver, a sleepy town between Cedar City and Fillmore. Beaver does have a "B" printed on the surrounding hillsides, which is pretty neat. How's that for some local pride?
As cyclists gathered at the start of the fifth annual Crusher in the Tushar, a mixture of professional badasses and unassuming amateurs prepared to begin a brutal day of pedaling.
The professional men's field was highlighted by Robert Squire (Hincapie Racing), Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh/Clement), Alex Grant (RideBiker/Cannondale/Gear Rush), Neil Shirley (Road Bike Action), Danny Pate (Team Sky), Tim Johnson (Volkswagen/Cannondale), and Jonathan Page (Fuji). Some big names came out to play and the winning time was an absurd 4:10, over 70 miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing on asphalt and dirt.
My race managed to be completed in 5:19, for a respectable seventh place finish in the men's U29 division. I am excited with my time, result, and the fact that I experienced no issues with my nutrition and equipment. GU Energy Labs, as always, kept me fueled and in prime condition!
After the race, a lengthy descent back to the hotel, followed by a parking lot shower, completed a memorable two days in Beaver. What a town, what a race, what an atmosphere.
Overall, the Crusher in the Tushar provided plenty of race highlights and memories, which I am still attempting to fully process. Brutal climbs, screaming descents, bizarre weather, and outstanding support all combined to form an event that I will be looking forward to next year.