Monday, July 18, 2011

The Crusher in the Tushar-Race Report

The inaugural Crusher in the Tushar was epic. Burke Swindlehurst, the race promoter and pro roadie, has had this vision of the Crusher for many years and he pulled it off most beautifully. I cannot state loud enough how efficiently the race itself was organized. There were volunteers everywhere on the course giving heads up on oncoming traffic and potential dangers. At least a hundred volunteers were on hand along the course and at the 4 aid stations with local law enforcement personnel to ensure a smooth race. Mission accomplished.
The hand ups of cold water and First Endurance electrolyte drinks along with First Endurance gel flasks was nice to have as the time off the bike was minimal. Just ride on through and grab and keep rolling. I took full advantage of these hand ups to minimize time off of the bike with my only time off of the saddle was to piddle with my broken Egg Beater pedal. More on this below.

Here are the stats:
5th place single speed open division
69.5 miles
9,864 feet of climbing
6 hours 17 minutes total time on course with my moving time 5 hours 59 minutes. (the broken pedal cost me some time and possibly a 3rd of 4th placing)
Average HR-152

Bike of choice was the single speed cross bike with a 42x22 gearing, 34cc tires and On One Mungo bars with Ouray grips for extra cushion. Overall a good choice of what bike to ride. Larger tires would have been nice for the loose downhill.

The race started in the town of Beaver, Utah and rolled out with a gradual climb of 10 miles up Beaver Creek canyon Road with four of us at the front of the single speed class pushing a good pace which might have caused some damage to all of us later on in the race except the first place winner, Brad Cole from Fort Collins, who thoroughly crushed us all by a large margin. As soon as we turned off of Beaver Creek Canyon Road and onto FS 137 he was gone and I was not about to chase this early on in the race. So for the next 20 plus miles I was sitting in second place with Steve Wasmund right on my wheel in third. At mile 30ish we hit the gnarly downhill switchbacks toward highway 89 and to Circleville where the route goes from 5kish elevation back up to over10k. Tom Ament caught me on the start of the downhill and with his mountain bike setup was easily able to descend faster than I on 34cc cross tires. Now I sat in third place with lots of mileage to go so I just suffered alone through the headwinds along highway 89. This is where Steve W. caught back on while tucked into a group of geared bikes and went flying by me. I had no desire to spin faster with the upcoming climbs looming ahead. Now I'm in 4th. This was a slight mistake as I could have made up a few minutes to stay with him in the mini peloton but shortly after I left Circleville and began the ascent on the loamy sandy double track my left pedal made a funny noise. I looked down to see that my pedal was coming off of the spindle. Fuck me! I stopped, assessed the damage to realize it wasn't totally coming off. And there goes another single speeder; Brent Cannon, who was charging full throttle and chased back onto to place 2nd...........damn, 5th place now. The inner bearing had disintegrated but to my dismay the end nut was still intact after taking the end cap off to assess. All right, there goes 5 minutes dicking around with this pedal. I didn't need this mechanical at this juncture as the big nasty climbing was to begin. I was able to apply some pressure toward the crank arm with my leg while pedaling to minimize the pedal possibly coming off of the spindle. I stopped again a few miles later where the dirt turned back to asphalt on road 153 to assess the pedal once again. I took the end cap back off and used a borrowed socket to check the end nut. Still tight on the end but the pedal had about 1/4" plus of lateral play on the spindle. Concerned I was. Onto the big nasty climb. I just tried to minimize the play on the pedal as I climbed/walked the nasty switchbacks we had descended earlier. It was hot and I started cramping. Just great I thought to myself. On the bike, off the bike as I battled the cramps. Just making it to the top and onto the next aid station was the immediate goal and I would be fairly happy. I finally made it to mile 59 where the 4th and last aid station was located with some renewed motivation and I was not going to let a broken pedal stop my race. I was going to finish either way. I drank a coke and downed some First Endurance gel flasks, grabbed some full bottles of hydration assets and within 10-15 minutes of stopping or so I was back on the course with 10 miles to finish and with most of that 10 miles up hill with a slight downhill reprieve before the last tortuous mile to the finish line which was about 400 feet climbing to just kick the crap out of you for no good reason. Thanks Burke, you sick bastard! I finished and was lucky to hold onto my 5th place. As soon as I crossed the finish line there was a person handing out cold Gatorade and bottles of water. Thank you!! I was tanked. Just an awesome event which really put the hurt to me. You know it's a quality course if you feel like you left it all out there when you finish. I'm already planning for next years strategy.............

The bike of choice for this beating; ss cross with 42x22, Mungo On One handlebars were comfy.

Friday morning spin up Beaver Creek Canyon.

Puffer Lake at 10k.

Beaver Creek. Took a bath in here after the race.

Have to leave sometime. Cya next year!


Anonymous said...


It was good to meet you. Mark and I had a blast at the Crusher. Coolest race I've ever done. I hope to fit it in my calendar every year. I'm already thinking about wheel/tire choice and gear ratios. Love it!!!

Erik Harrington

Jason said...

Wow, sounds like a great race! Sorry to hear about that broken pedal, but cool that you were able to get it fixed and get a 5th spot. Nice work, especially on a freaking singlespeed. (Freak!)

Fave line: "the last tortuous mile to the finish line which was about 400 feet climbing to just kick the crap out of you for no good reason."

Grizzly Adam said...

It was great to see you again Jeff. Nice ride on Sat! Let's do it again soon.

Jeff Hemperley said...

Hey Erik, great to meet and hang out with both you and Mark before and after the race. One of the aspects of doing these races is meeting like-minded people who love to ride bikes.