Crusher Rigs

So I’ve had a bunch of people ask me this week if my bike was the “right choice” for the Crusher. The adage is that whatever bike you choose you’ll be dead wrong at some point. I don’t know who said it, but I disagree. I think a cross bike with discs is, in fact, the way to go. 

I’m going to break my no picture rule here for a reminder:



I really couldn’t imagine doing it on a mountain bike. Plenty of people did. Some far more successful than me. I am way more comfortable in the road position though and really the course is all “roads”.

A few people rode road bikes with small cross tires. This is intriguing from the weight perspective, but I’d be afraid I’d break something as road bikes are really not designed for that kind of abuse. 

I saw one guy on a straight up road bike. No way, Jose. For me anyway. Way too rough. Too much time on gravel. Would be nice to have a 15lbs for all that climbing though!

I really didn’t think twice about my bike set-up and I was happy with it throughout the event. 

I did waver a bit on wheels. It was tempting to build up a set of tubulars to cut some weight, but then you have to carry a spare or risk… a really long walk. Carbon 29er mountain wheels with tubeless ‘cross tires. Again, I feel like I chose wisely. Maybe if I was closer to the front the weight savings would be worth considering, but not back in the cheap seats.

I could easily be a bit leaner too:


Anyway, my choices aren’t for everyone, but they worked well for me.



Where to begin on The Crusher?!?

Seriously, maybe the hardest race I’ve ever done. Maybe I’ve forgotten how hard some of the stuff I did 10 years ago was, but daaaang, the Crusher was hard.

I didn’t really know what to expect. As mentioned in my previous post, I have done some training specifically with the event in mind, but probably not “enough”. What’s enough? It’s never enough, obviously.

We rolled out of town (beautiful Beaver, Utah, that is) really easy. There were some pretty big hitters in the pro field and it was kind of surreal being in a field like that after barely racing the past couple years. As soon as we hit the first proper climb, the field detonated like a bomb had gone off.  I felt like I was dropped way early and I distinctly remember thinking “I should go back to crit racing; it comes way more naturally to me than this stuff”.

But, as I’d dragged the family down, there was no way back to the finish, and I wanted to proved to myself I could do it, I kept trying to climb a steady hard pace. I have a pretty bad history since I quit pro racing of quitting every time I find myself out of my league in a race. Various drop-outs at Tours of Utah are proof. I somehow got in that mentality of quitting, so I really wanted to put forth a good effort regardless (or irregardless, if you prefer) of how much I was getting smoked.

And slowly I started pulling some guys back. Around 2 hours into the race, I got caught by a few age groupers. This was probably the most fun section of the race. My pal, Shelby was in this group and we were rocking over the roll-y section at the top of the course and onto the descent. The descent proper, was batshit crazy, for lack of a better word. Really, is there any word better to describe a crazy event? Crazy as a shit house rat, maybe?  Sorry, I know I’m not supposed to curse, but I want to get the point across that the descent was crazy and crazy alone doesn’t seem to do it. Anyway, out of our little group, one guy flatted and another guys’ seatpost snapped on the descent. A guy on a mountain bike got a little gap on Shelby and I (both on cross bikes), so I wanted to help him catch that guy (also a friend, Chris Stuart).

As we hit the pavement, we caught him pretty easy. Around this time, I felt the best I did all day. Not surprisingly since it’s pretty much the only flat part of the course, but I was killing it here. Without really trying, I rode away from that group and caught and passed a bunch of people. I think the conventional wisdom would be to find a group and rest during that section, but I knew it was the best part for me, so I wanted to cut time where I could. And I’ll be straight up, I hauled ass through here.

And then…The Col d’ Crush. Holy shitake. The never-ending climb from hell. Dirt road, steep as a ladder, 100% exposed… You could see people ahead and behind you, but everyone is going so slow, it’s like no progress is being made.  And once you do get to the top (and I could write another 6 paragraphs about just how long, ugly and slow this climb was), it doesn’t really flatten out. You still go primarily up for umm, forever. I was literally ready to cry for a descent. I actually stopped briefly at one of the many, super well stocked aid station/feed zones and downed a can of coke.

There was eventually a brief descent or two and then the agonizing climb to the finish. Oh man, this was like slow-mo. From the 500 meter sign, I was literally counting out each meter passed.

Over the finish, someone took my bike (and they could have been taking it to Canada for all I cared), sat me down and gave me a Coke. I literally wanted to cry. “Why am I still hurting?!? I’m no longer pedaling!!”.

Slowly, I came out of my stupor and realized that was the raddest thing I’ve done on a bike in a long time and started making completely unrealistic plans in my head for how awesome I can be in next years’ Crusher.

For the record, I wound up 24th out of 55-ish in the pro field. I was pretty content with that. As content as you can be being an HOUR down on the weiner.

I should probably thank my Kelly for taking care of the wee-ones (and me) all weekend. We had a great weekend at Eagle Point resort! Kelly has done a post with more on the family side of the trip. It was great seeing (and suffering with) some of my old teammates and friends. Great to see everyone out Crushing it!!

In summary, this is a bucket list race. You gotta do it. Great support from the town of Beaver and top notch organization. And pain. Sweet, sweet pain.

Crusher Weekend on Tap

Yes, it’s finally here. The Crusher.

I am pretty stoked. We (the fam) ended up getting a condo for the weekend, so it’s should be a good weekend “irregardlessly” of the race. We were originally going to camp, but eventually I thought better of it and looking at the weather, I think it’s good I did! We are staying for the whole weekend though, so hopefully everyone can enjoy it.

Lots of old teammates and friends are coming out, so that should be a hoot.

A quick glance at the start list ( makes me think my odds of a top finish are not so good, (so you’re telling me there’s a chance!) but the while I did hope to arrive in a little better shape, the main idea all along has just been to have a goal in mind. I haven’t really trained for anything (or at all) the last couple years, so it’s been really good to have something in mind and I think I am probably going better than I have in that timeframe. Again, not saying much there, but it’s good. A good journey.

And I’m just excited about experiencing the race. It’s pretty different from anything I’ve ever done!

Buona Notte

Off to LA tomorrow for yet another sales meeting! This will be a quick trip. In fact, quicker than it’s supposed to be. I’ll just say “oops” and leave it at that. Anyway, the good news is I’ll almost definitely post. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, we’re staying at exactly the kind of high dollar joint that charges you for internet, so maybe not. I could post via phone, but no. And I could tether and post, but again, no. Hmmm, this is looking more and more like a post about how I won’t post.

So, to take it in another direction… Things are hopping over here. Kids on summer break means there’s always something going on. Here’s hoping darling wife doesn’t lose her cool in my absence. It ain’t easy with four girls home all day! And it seems like sleep never goes to plan in  the summer. Rory (the one y.o.) has taken to getting up at 6 and if we don’t rush in and grab her, she’ll wake everyone else up. Which is not ideal as it’s super bright in the girls room until like 9:30 at night or something.

Generally though, things have been great lately. Got my Crusher bike built:


I actually rode it today (on pavement) and am pretty stoked. I think I may be hanging on to it for awhile, which is something of a rarity. 

On that note, got a new road bike yesterday as well. No pics. 

Now that I think about it, I just broke my no pics rule/streak. It was worth it. I am a ti fan. 

I’m a carbon fan too. And aluminum. And steel. Never went with scandium, but I’d probably be down.

I am feeling okay again on the bike, just in time to hit the road! Again, this is a short trip though and I am HOPING to race the state RR this weekend. Lots of good memories on that course. Wouldn’t that be something?

I’ll leave it there for tonight. Buonna notte.

Here I am…

…rocking you like the proverbial hurricane, in Denver.

Or Lafayette, really.

This old body seems to be holding up. Whatever weirdo pain I am having is much better today, so that’s good. I was really not stoked on flying with weirdo ear, but it wasn’t such a problem. Didn’t really sleep at all last night. Piper had to pee at 12:30 and then I was up for several hours, but I got a little nap-eroo in on the plane, so that was nice.

I couldn’t pack too much for this trip since I was flying. About a year ago, I had hidden a foldable clothing rack in a shop here. I didn’t know if it would still be there, but yeah, no problems finding it. So I am pretty much good-to-go. I really didn’t want to buy another, so that was a solid 1st stop.

Maybe I will hide it there again before I leave. Nice to have one in each state.

Had a couple quick visits with shops today, but I basically came for a meeting tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed, eh.

Lovely dinner tonight with my pals Jared and Anna. J-rad is probably the all-time #1 rated reader of the turbocycling blog who is not blood related.

In fact, I know for a fact that he is reading right now as he is sitting next to me and just asked about my ear.

Anyway, there was a bit of Crusher discussion with dinner, of course!

Alright, I’m done for tonight. Night all.


4 months-ish…

That’s how long I have to get to where I don’t suck.

The Allan Butler Memorial Crit is June 29 and two weeks later is The Crusher. I’m sure I’ll do some other races this year, but these are the two I care about. Long term readers understand my obsession with the AB Crit. The Crusher, on the other hand, is totally new to me, but I just haven’t been good for a long, hard event like that in a long time and I want to prove to myself I can still “get it up” for such an event.

So, training for a 1 hour twilight criterium and a (hopefully sub) 5 hour dirt road race…I think all my training will be geared toward the Crusher. Past history indicates that if I’m fit for that and do a little speedwork, I should be good all-around.

It feels funny to be obsessing about races that are months away. The last time I did that was probably the San Francisco Grand Prix 10 years ago, but I like that I’ve got a goal in mind and something I am working towards. I feel like I need to be good for the AB Crit because I think Allan would like to see me still putting it down and the crusher…I think I just have to get really fit or it’s going to be miserable.

I’ve already mentioned my lack of fitness enough recently, but I did manage a (relatively) solid ride today, so that’s something.


You know who’s loving this inversion? 

My dogs! They are typically outdoor pups, but they are basically never leaving the house right now. 

For anyone unaware of the phenomenon, we (in Northern Utah) get a gnarly inversion, whereby cold air gets trapped in the valleys, along with pollution. So, it will be warmer and maybe even sunny up in the mountains and it’s bitter cold in the valleys. It usually only last a couple weeks, but it’s a pretty unpleasant couple weeks.

We are due to get another storm on Thursday/Friday, which should clear the air a bit. It’s a cold storm though, so it won’t warm up much and then the inversion is due to return. I don’t ever remember us having snow on the ground this long. 

So my first day of Crusher training, I could only get 4.5 hours in and it was pretty flat. Kind of a bust. Just kidding, that would be sweet, but I went and ran for an hour with Tyson. Of course, he has his own wikipedia page too. Anyway, I’m not much of a runner, but it’s a lot easier to do when it’s 15 degrees, so we’ll probably go again today.

Oh yeah, and I’m due to head to Colorado next week. I’m thinking about driving. Usually I fly in the winter, but I can save so much money and see a bunch of shops I’d otherwise skip. If it’s going to be dry, I don’t see any reason not to.


So I think I’ve pretty well made up my mind and I’m going to do the Crusher this year. That is, assuming I can get in. Registration opens this week. I’ve never done one of these events where you have to sign up way ahead of time. My approach is typically “I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, much less 6 months from now”. That said, I am super excited to throw my hat in the ring.

It’s a 70 mile road/dirt road race with like 11,000′ of climbing. Not exactly playing to my strengths…I haven’t done well on extended climbs in a good 10 years and I’m haven’t been known for my off-road skills ever.

I don’t think I’m going to win or anything, but I would like to get to where I am semi-competitive, which will be a long road! I am probably in some of my worst cycling shape ever at the moment, but I’ve got 7 months and I love the idea of having an event to focus on.

I’ve always been that way. Back in the day, I could plod along with okay form, racing every week, but when I had that one big event in the back of my mind, I could get super fit. I don’t know what’s realistic given family and work priorities these days, but I know I can get going a lot better than I am now!

I am going to start “training” tomorrow (Yes, the most popular day to begin any exercise program- tomorrow!). Don’t expect anything too awesome- we’ve got a gnarly inversion here at the moment, so we’ve had highs in the teens and low 20’s lately. Not so fun.

So anyway, you now have 7 months of geeky training and equipment posts to look forward to.

You’re welcome.