By Jen See
BEAVER, UTAH — The fifth annual Crusher in the Tushar takes place later today in the Tushar Mountains outside Beaver, Utah. Cyclocross star Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clément) goes to the line as the favorite in the men’s race after finishing second last year. Tim Johnson (Cannondale) and Jonathan Page (Fuji) are also among the headliners this year, while in the women’s race, Nicole Duke (SRAM) brings her cyclocross — and downhill mountain bike — talents to the party.
Crusher riders face a fiendishly difficult 70-mile course through the remote Tushar Mountains and Fishlake National Forest. The race runs over a mix of paved and dirt roads, and riders have won on both mountain bike and cyclocross rigs. The Crusher includes over 10,000 feet of elevation gain and climbs to a finish at 11,000 feet at the Eagle Point ski resort. Washboarded descents, parching heat, grinding climbs, and panoramic views are among the Crusher’s trademark features.
“To be honest, it feels a little surreal that this will be our fifth edition of the Crusher,” said race organizer Burke Swindlehurst. “It seems like yesterday that I was scheming the idea of the event and wondering if anyone would show up for it!”
Swindlehurst created the Crusher as a tribute to the legendary Boulder to Breckenridge race and during his career as a road racer, he used to head to Beaver to train in the area’s high-altitude terrain.
Each year, Swindlehurst’s creation attracts riders from a variety of disciplines. This year’s field includes mountain bike racers Dave Wiens (Topeak-Ergon), Alex Grant (Cannondale-Gear Rush), Joey Lythgoe (Kühl), and Kelli Emmett (Julianna-SRAM). Former road national champion Robin Farina (BMW-Happy Tooth) will ride her first Crusher this year. Reality television stars Tyson Apostol and Connor O’Leary (DNA Cycling) are also among the road racers heading to Beaver this year.
In addition to the pro race, the Crusher hosts 600 riders, competing in 10 age-graded categories. Interested in testing your legs and lungs? You’ll have to be quick. Registration opens in January each year, and typically, the race sells out within days.
“I can’t thank the riders, volunteers, and community enough for their enthusiasm for the Crusher,” said Swindlehurst. “It’s truly been a gift in helping me transition out of racing professionally, yet still stay connected and involved with the sport that’s such a huge part of my life.”
More Info: tusharcrusher.com