by Kenton Berg
The aptly named “Crusher in the Tushar” promises to be unlike any other bicycle race in the United States – and possibly even the world, says event promoter and former pro road and mountain bike racer Burke Swindlehurst.
In its inaugural year, the 79-mile, point-to-point race from Beaver, Utah, to the ski resort at Eagle Point on July 16 will traverse equal parts dirt and pavement. Featuring more than 12,000 feet of climbing, it ascends Utah’s highest road (elevation: 11,500 feet), explores the stunning backcountry of the state’s little-known Tushar Mountains, and winds its way through Fishlake National Forest.
“I specifically designed the course not to suit any particular type of bike,” said Swindlehurst, who works part time as an assistant director for the Bissell Pro Cycling Team. “I want to see cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes, and bastardized road bike hybrids – whatever they think it will take on two wheels to tackle it. But there is one rule – you can’t change bikes at any point.”
With this in mind, Swindlehurst mentioned a few particulars that may appeal to or even be an advantage to cyclocross racers. “Road gates and snow on the upper course will definitely create the need to dismount, and likely run, a number of times. Mud will also be a factor due to snow melt and run off.”
Registration is open already for this competitive event on www.athlete360.com, and the field will be limited to 325 riders. The $135 entry fee includes service at four well-stocked aid stations, an event swag bag, a custom commemorative number plate and a post-event lunch and raffle at Eagle Point Resort. Although similar to the growing number of dirt and mixed-terrain gran fondo rides, this event is a serious race. Prizes will be awarded to category winners and the men’s and women’s open/pro division champions will each receive a $1000 cash prize.
The appeal of a race like this is not lost on cyclocross riders and mountain bike riders in the West. With 85 riders already registered from Utah, Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon the competition should be accomplished and diverse.
More details about the course, input on which type of bicycle to use, and some FAQs are available on the event website: www.tusharcrusher.com.