Crusher not getting any easier

The one-of-a-kind "Crusher in the Tushar",  a road/dirt bicycle race through Utah's Tushar mountain range scheduled for July 13, promises to be as challenging and unusual as it has been in its first two editions.  The 69.9-mile, point-to-point race will consist of more than 10,500 feet of climbing on equal parts pavement and dirt fire road and will reach elevations nearing 11,000 feet.

Competitors in each of the 10 race categories - from "Bro-Tour to Pro-Tour" as race organizer Burke Swindlehurst likes to say - can choose any type of bike they deem suitable for the course with one caveat: there's no changing of bikes at any point.

Swindlehurst said that as the race's reputation continues to grow, he expects many of the animators from the previous two editions in his pro/open categories to return, along with some new faces. Among some of the top names on the road, mountain biking and cyclo-cross scene expected to register include two-time men's pro/open winner Tyler Wren and last year's pro/open women's champion Gretchen Reeves. Jonathan Page is also on this year's start list.

"There's really nothing else like it, as it doesn't cater to any one specific type of rider or discipline," Swindlehurst said. "Mother Nature plays her part as well. We had hot and dry conditions the first year, and last year it was raining off-and-on, so temperatures were quite cool and there was plenty of mud. So it's a unique event that requires a mix of skills and very well-thought-out equipment choice."

The non-USAC sanctioned race was facing the issue of UCI-licensed riders not being able to compete without fear of getting fined or suspended; however, with the UCI postponing until 2014 the enforcement of its rules against participating in non-sanctioned events, the issue has been averted for this year.

The race has been granted approval from land management agencies to increase its field size from 350 to 500 spots.

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