by Neil Shirley
Jul 15 18

Finding Adventure In Utah's Tushar Mountains

This past Saturday over 600 cyclists rolled out from Beaver, Utah, and deep into the Tushar Mountains for the eighth edition of the Crusher In The Tushar. The event began as something the promoter initially wasn’t sure would pique the interest of anyone, yet has gone on to cement itself as a cornerstone of the cycling calendar, featuring participants from 31 states at this year’s start.

Proven to be a melting pot of cycling disciplines, the Crusher attracts road, mountain bike, cyclocross, and gravel riders ready to challenge themselves on a 69-mile point-to-point route that features a 60/40 split between dirt and pavement. The equipment choices are as diverse as the participants, as everyone has their own idea what the perfect setup is for the day.

Included in the hundreds of racers out there were a number of PR Lotion users, including the women's second place finisher, Karen Jarchow. These are their stories from the day. 

 

Karen Jarchow - 

"Crusher in the Tushar definitely lived up to its name. Leading for most of the race, I felt like I was doing the crushing! Like most endurance races, that feeling can be fleeting. Falling off my pace, I had to nurse the return up Col de’ Crush. There I fell to third, but I stayed positive and just kept doing what my body could. Luckily, my spark came back at the top and I regained one spot - where I stayed to the finish, reaching the line completely crushed but happily in 2nd."

 

Ryan Steers - 

"This was my third year here in Beaver, Utah, and the most fun I’ve had in the Tushars. Maybe it was the cool, wet weather or the fact that the forest smelled like blooming lupine flowers, or maybe it was because I went out slow and steady on the first climb. During the brutal one-mile climb to the finish line, the legs felt amazing and I found myself pushing harder and faster than I did at the start, I guess that means I left some gas in the tank.

"Overall it was a great day in the mountains with some really amazing riders. I love events like this because they’re a reunion, through gasps of air you get to find out what everyone’s been up to and where they’re off to next. 

"We are so lucky to have such great events and community of riders and support, from sponsors to organizers, to the entire town coming out to stand on a hot dusty mountain for hours to ring cowbells." 

 

 

Mark Currie- 

"Standing on the start looking East toward the mountains and the looming storms, I knew we were in for a treat. The first 45 minutes of the race was relatively neutral and conversational as we waited for the first attacks to come once we hit the dirt. Once on the dirt, the rain started to fall and provided the most epic conditions on the first big climb of the day. We had just enough mud to make things fun, but not enough to slow the pace down or damage anything.

"The Pro/Open field spread out pretty quickly, and I found myself in a great group of guys somewhere around the middle of the pack over the top of the first climb, down the Col de’ Crush and into the valley. The pavement provides a nice opportunity to eat and refuel before hitting the Sarlacc Pit and eventually the slopes of the Col de’ Crush that we’d just blasted down.

"My legs felt great on the second half of the race, so I took full advantage of it and was able to pull back about 10 people between the bottom of the Col and the finish. I would end up 30 minutes faster than last year and thoroughly enjoyed the whole race. The Tushar mountains are absolutely spectacular, making this course and event one of my all-time favorites."

 

Neil Shirley- 

"This is always one of my favorite events of the year, and definitely one of the most challenging. The mileage on its own isn't so bad, but once you combine it with the high altitude and a ton of climbing, then you have a recipe for a tough day if you're not smart with your efforts. 

"I've done the event enough times now to realize that even if you don't feel like eating or drinking early on you really need to force it otherwise you'll end up with nothing in the tank with some big climbs still to go. This year, it was all about keeping the pace more casual and really embracing the social part of it and riding with friends. That said, 10,000 feet of climbing in just 69 miles is hard regardless of pace, so keeping with my 250 calories per hour intake and PR Lotion at the start was still necessary to make it enjoyable. 

By the end, I made it in just before the hail storm brought down fury on the Tushar Mountains and everyone still out there on their bike. From the warmth of the lodge at the finish line, I felt bad for everyone still out there but rather happy I wasn't with them."