Saturday saw the second edition of the road + dirt race
Crusher in the Tushar. The 69-mile "Crusher” is one of the most unique events
in the country featuring a 50-50 split of dirt and pavement through the Tushar
Mountains outside Beaver, Utah.
Packed with 10,000 vertical feet of climbing, the challenge
of Saturday’s race attracted some of the best riders in the country.
The star-studded field started under a light rain and cool
temperatures, a relief for most, after days of ninety-degree temperatures in
Big names like Ryan Trebon (Cannondale), Tyler Wren
(Jamis/Sutter Homes), Jamey Driscoll (Jamis/Sutter Homes), Jay Henry (Tokyo
Joe’s), and Neil Shirley (Road Bike Action) led riders out of Beaver and drove
the pace at the front of the pack.
Once riders hit the first section of dirt, and the first big
climb of the day, Trebon moved to the front and powered away quickly whittling
the field down. Driscoll took his turn at the front shedding more riders until just
Trebon, Neil Shirley, Chris Mackay, and Tyler Wren remained.
After the only long descent of the day Jay Henry had bridged
back up and a lead group of 6 approached the Crusher’s biggest climb back out
of the Piute Valley.
The climb quickly claimed Driscoll, who had done his part
supporting teammate Wren, Jay Henry, and Chris Mackay.
Just defending champ
Wren, Ryan Trebon, and Neil Shirley remained up front. As the climbed kicked up
Trebon began to drift off the back and once the elastic had broken the big Cannondale
rider was done.
As the lead duo crested the site of the King of the
Mountains line Shirley held the lead and claimed the $250 prize for crossing
the line first. Unfortunately for Shirley, the racing was far from over. With
roughly 11 miles left and steep rolling terrain in front of them, much work was
left to be done and Tyler Wren seemed to have prepared himself perfectly.
With 6 miles to go and several short punchy climbs in store,
the Jamis/Sutter Homes rider laid down the days final attack and shed his
compatriot. By the finish Tyler Wren had put 3 minutes into second-placed rider
Jay Henry proved to be the best of the remaining early
breakaway group holding on for third place.
Alex Grant (Cannondale), who started slow and rode by
himself most of the day, pushed himself up as high as third with less than 3
miles to go but a broken spoke and flat tire dropped him back to the fourth
spot at the finish.
Fifth place went to Reed Wycoff (Contender) who used his
usual technique of starting slow and finishing strong to put himself on the
The women’s race was equally exciting with several big
hitters making the trip to Beaver, including mountain bikers Tammy Jacques
(Honey Stinger), and Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joe’s), cyclocross hotshot Nicole
Duke (Spy), and Montana rider Anna Dingman (Team Rockford).
After a long roll out Tokyo Joe’s rider Gretchen Reeves
moved off the front and started putting time into her competitors even before
the dirt started.
Reeves is no stranger to climbing. After winning races like
the Whiskey 50 and Leadville 100 Reeves knows how to climb.
Once off the front she never looked back as she bridged her
way past hundreds of riders on course. Reeves never appeared to be affected by
the rain, cold, mud, or high altitude. She motored through it all never letting
up and never letting her competitors get close.
Behind the solo leader Dingman, Jacques, and Nicole Duke
battled with each other and the treacherous course.
Never separated by more than a few minutes these ladies kept
the pressure on throughout the 69-mile course.
By the end, Gretchen Reeves was well ahead of all the women
and most of the men on course. She crossed the line in first at 5.18.41.
The battle for second place was heating up as the finish
drew near. Anna Dingman and Tammy Jacques found themselves together with the
finish line looming ahead. As they made the turn into the final punishing mile
of steep pavement both riders were wheel to wheel. Neither one could pull away
as they ground their way up the final slope to the finish.
With a final flurry Tammy Jacques was able to squeak ahead
of Dingman to take second place by just 5 seconds.
Nicole Duke came home in fourth place saying she didn’t care
what place she was in she just wanted to be done.
The fifth and final podium spot went to local rider Joey
The combination of dirt and road at The Crusher
in the Tushar requires each rider to choose between a bike that is fast on
pavement or one more suitable to off-roading. A full range of bikes could be
seen on course Saturday including everything from a straight up road bike to
full suspension mountain bikes. One rider even road a fat-tired snow bike.
Winners of the men’s and women’s category took
home equal payout of just over $1,000
361 riders registered for this year’s Crusher in
Click Here for Full Results from the Race