Squire and Holcomb Weather The Storm And Take Crusher In The Tushar Titles
The Crusher in the Tushar course and Mother Nature combined to throw everything possible at the 600 riders that lined up for the seventh edition of the event that starts in Beaver, Utah, located at the base of the mighty Tushar Mountains. For the third straight year, Robbie Squire (Felt-Assos) crossed the finish line at Eagle Creek Resort with arms raised, taking the win and $1,000 payday that comes along with it. First-time Crusher rider Janel Holcomb (Mavic) took the women’s win and her equal share of the prize money, covering the 69-mile course that includes 10,000 feet of climbing in just over 5 hours.
This year was no different from previous editions in terms of how many top riders made the trip to Beaver in order to experience the Crusher. The start list was a who’s who of top pro racers from mountain biking, road cycling, and cyclocross. Riders included Todd Wells, Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 3Rox Racing), Ben King (Team Dimension Data) and Jamey Driscoll (DNA Cycling), in addition to the full men’s podium from last month’s Dirty Kanza 200. On the women’s side, Holcomb had to contend with last year’s winner Melinda McCutcheon (DNA Cycling) in addition to current pro Larissa Connors (Team Twenty20/Felt).
Warm weather was forecast for the day, so when riders departed downtown Beaver at the start everyone was anticipating some of the hottest conditions in the event’s history with temperatures expected to reach up to 90 degrees at the midway point in Junction. From there, the real challenge would begin with an ascent of Col d’ Crush. A slight tailwind made for a hot climb back up into the Fishlake National Forest’s Tushar Mountain range where the high altitude brought the relief of cooler temperatures. Riders were warned not to take their hydration lightly and feed stations with water and First Endurance were found about every 10 miles on course.
But, before the day was over for most riders, the heat wouldn’t be the only weather challenge as a mountain thunderstorm settled in over Eagle Point Resort that sits at an altitude of nearly 10,500 feet. First hail, then rain and wind welcomed all but the very first finishers, bringing a chill to the finish line but hardly diminishing the celebrations for those who had just finished the Crusher in the Tushar. It simply added another element to the Crusher challenge.
Women’s winner Janel Holcomb had this to say post-event, “’I’ve been fortunate to attend a lot of amazing events over the past few months and I was in awe of the volunteers and support of the Crusher community. Climbing Col d’ Crush was made possible and enjoyable because of the people cheering, the kids who ran alongside me asking if I wanted Coke, water, mix or a snack. I had to smile and say thank you at every kind act of support, and those smiles were a gift that fueled me through to take the win.”
Another Crusher first-timer, Michael White, came in with some different ambitions than those looking to race the event, he simply wanted to challenge himself and ride somewhere new. He told us, “Of all the cycling events I’ve enjoyed, there are few locations that rival both the beauty and brutality of the Crusher. The course is incredibly challenging, the landscape is stunning, and the support staff was first-class from start to finish!”
©Credit: Christopher See
Robbie Squire (Felt- Assos)
Todd Wells (Todd Wells)
Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 3Rox Racing)
Jamie Driscoll (DNA Cycling)
Leroy Popowski (Juwi Solar)
Ben Blaugrund (Juwi Solar)
Ryan Steers (Giant Co-Factory Off-Road)
Andy Dorais (Contender Bicycles)
Janel Holcomb (Mavic)
Melinda McCutcheon (DNA Cycling)
Breanne Nalder (PLAN7 DS)
Larissa Connors (Team Twenty20/Felt)
Jen Luebke (DNA Cycling)