Saturday, July 14, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Crusher In The Tushar

I recently took on the Tushar mountains just outside of Beaver, Utah at the 2nd Crusher in the Tushar organized by Burke Swindlehurst.  Without going into too much detail, the race is a unique mix of pavement and dirt roads, covers 70 miles, and 10k of climbing.  There isn't an inch of trail on the whole course, a drastic difference from the Breckenridge 100 I did on the same weekend last year.  The race favors a rider that can climb like a mountain goat AND has a good handle on road racing tactics.  Picking the right bike setup is also an important part as the options are wide open from CX bike to fat bike.  I chose to ride the lightest bike I had with the narrowest tires it would take.  This turned out to be my Cannondale Flash29 Carbon with some 1.9 fast rollers.

I had a really good race for the first 3-4 hours. I was climbing good, pacing well, and riding close to the front of my starting wave.  For reasons  that aren't clear to me I started to crumble on dirt road headed back into the mountains after Circleville.  I fell into some major bonkage with leg cramps and couldn't get power to the pedals.  The high altitudes may have been a factor but looking back I was going pretty hard the first 3 hours (as one should in a race)  and I don't think I was fueling well.  I had lost a few bottles off my bike due to some rough sections in the road and wasn't carrying any solid food.  I have been in plenty of long races in the past and know what it feels like to be tired but this was beyond the usual mid-race fatigue.  I had to granny gear back up the last big climb.  It really sucked, I wanted to hammer but it just wasn't there.  I stopped for 4 min at the last aide station, drank a whole Coke, and ate two of everything they had and got pedaling again.  After 20 minutes and a few good burps I was feeling more like myself and tried to salvage some sort of result.  I don't say any of this to complain, not in the least.  In fact I was loving every minute of it.  After all, this is what racing is all about, the highs and the lows, and when it is all said and done, any day of racing is a good day.

In the end I was Crushed.

The up side to my experience was how well this event was put on.  Burke and crew did an amazing job down to every last detail.  The ONLY complaint I would have (if I were required to have one) is an option for drop bags.  I'm sure the stuff they had in the bottles at the aide stations (which were also outstanding) is a capable product but I know how my body responds to CarboRocket and having the ability to pre-mix and distribute my bottles would have been huge in my book.  It would also have been nice to shed some rain gear and arm warmers into a drop bag at some point along the way.

The second up side to the experience were the mountains themselves.  The views were amazing and if you are going to bonk in a race, I couldn't think of many other places through which I would like to soft pedal.

I WILL be back next year to C*R*U*S*H or be crushed!

8am start with Grizzly Adam looking ready to "Crush".

The course.

My elevation, heart rate, and speed profiles.

Going fast on the DH.  Glad I had a Lefty!

Headed back up from Circleville. That right leg has a cramp in it and that body is bonking!

My rig post race after delivering a flawless performance, unlike it's rider.

Can't come to Beaver, Utah without stopping to look at some Beavers.

Roads around Eagle Point resort.

Trees around Eagle Point.

Looking at Mt Holley near the lower lodge.

The accommodations with Java (the dog) standing guard.

Shoes are "Crushed"

The race will live on!

1 comment:

Roger Stones said...

Great post Jeff. Sounds like a unique event. In my race this past weekend I too cramped hard in both quads, closer to the knees. I had to stay seated most of the last 20 miles. I'd never cramped before like that and attribute it to a lack of sodium. I've sinced ordered S-caps and intend to give them a shot in training this month (will let you know if they help). Well... Great job finishing out- go get em' at the next one.