Monday, July 16, 2012

Crusher in the Tusher - Beaver UT July 14th, 2012

I know its been a long time since the last post but better late than never. The Crusher was our Triple Bypass replacement. After 9 years of going to Colorado for this weekend Crusher was an appealing change that had a similar degree of suffering with less driving. I think we spent a little more time on our bikes than driving, which is a huge contrast to the triple bypass where we log over 20 hours of driving in a weekend.
This year's participants were many: Berkley, Keith, Kevin W, Kevin P, Don, and Peter. Plus there were a bunch of other cyclocross and Strava friends signed up for the fun. The choice of motels in Beaver are slim and the Butch Cassidy Best Western Inn was one of 2 national chains in Beaver. There was a very talkative Indian guy at the front desk of the motel. He told us the best pizza in town was at the Chinese restaurant. "Get the Pizza, not the Chinese food." We thought finding a diner that served breakfast at night would be the safest bid. We tried 4 likely places and no luck. We settled on Arshels Cafe. Most items on the menu were a derivative of chicken fried steak. We all got the special, Glazed Chicken with Shimp.
The race started at 8:00am Saturday morning and was only 2 blocks from the motel. What a change from having to get up at 4:00am when we do White Rim and the Triple. We had nice big breakfast of  waffles, eggs, biscuits and gravy.  I even had time for a shower. I didn't really need the shower because it started to rain about an hour before the race.

We put on our rain jackets and made our way to the start line. There were about 350 riders and 123 in the 40-49 class. Packer was in the 30 group ahead of us. Peter was  behind us in the 50+ group. They started the groups about 30 seconds apart. We hung with the main group for about 3 miles until we started up the canyon. No need to blow a gasket with 67 miles to go. It was pavement for 11 miles up state 153. Pretty mellow grade like the bottom of American Fork Canyon.

The rain let up after about an hour of riding. The ride took a right turn on a dirt road towards Kent's Lake. The dirt road was a mud road after a morning of rain. By this time, Don was ahead of me and Berk. Keith and Kevin were behind a short distance. All dirt roads we road on were maintained and and mud was only a thin layer. The wet and muddy roads always kept us looking for the driest or less squishy line. We climbed through beautiful forests and mountain lakes all morning. The smell of pine trees was strong.  The first aid station was at mile 23.Very well stocked and super friendly volunteers.

The roads continued to climb to 10,000 feet. The grade wasn't ever really steep, I always had a 3 or 4 more gears to left. Matt Davis finally caught up us at about mile 25. He has already had 2 flats. The rain started again and we stopped to put the rain jackets on and give Matt some needed air. The course at 10,000 ft and about 4 miles of rolling hills before it dropped down to Circleville.  Matt was putting down a good pace which felt good on my legs, this is where I dropped Berk.

The speed was fast on the downside of the rollers and my legs were covered in light coat of mud/slit. Matt was on a cross bike which was slower on the washboarded down sections. I dropped Matt after a few miles. The road then dropped off the mountain top to Junction with a vertical drop of 4,000 feet over 14 miles with the top section of switch backs dropping 2,000 ft in 4 miles. Really rough washboard  conditions all the way down. I was very glad I had a MTN bike with front suspension. The race leaders were coming back up the section as they descended to the valley floor. The rain stopped halfway down and the pavement began 4 miles from the top. Next aid station was in Junction. Had some watermelon, cleaned off my glasses and stowed the rain jacket.
The next 10 or so miles was on Highway 89 going south towards Circleville. The winds were light and the riders had thinned out. I caught another guy about 5 miles into this stretch. His name was Scott and he recognized me from cyclocross a few years ago. Once we made it to Circleville the course went east and back on the dirt roads. The rain had stopped so it was actually a dirt road. I call this part the lone and dreary road. It was mainly sage brush and juniper trees. I spotted a Thinair Jersey out in the trees taking a pit stop, which was Peter. Don was a just a few minutes ahead. The road then came back around to paved road at the base of the Col-d-crusher as they call it.

This was the beast that we came down earlier and we had to climb up it. The road goes all the way to the top. This was a long slow grind to the top. Don and I stayed together for 1/2 of the climb. My pace was just a little bit more. The sun stayed behind the clouds which kept the temps down. This would have been really bad in the hot sun because there is no shade or trees on this side. I walked a few sections, which was just about as fast others riding. I was riding in my granny and #2 gears up most of this hill. Cyclocross gears would have sucked. The top of the switch backs was the official KOM at 9,100 ft and mile 56. There was still over 2,000 feet to climb and 14 miles of rolling hills and false summits. The course stayed around 10,000 ft for the remaining 14 miles with plenty of rolling hills and false summits. The last 2 miles was on pavement with the last 3/4 of mile up a 10% grade to finish line. The 500m sign to the finish was the longest 500 meter of my life. Even the last 100 feet the finish line was straight up. I think I finished in my granny gear. Finish I did in 7 hours 36 minutes.

The volunteers were great at the finish line. They had chairs and warm blankets. The finish line is at the top of Eagle Point Ski Resort at 10,200 ft. They even had warm wash cloths to wipe the grim from my legs and the salt deposits from my eyebrows. Kevin Packer and Keith greeted me at the finish line. They missed a cut off time at mile 25 and had to finish the last leg and returned back to Beaver in their bikes. They still put in 55 miles, climbed to 10,000 feet, and they even had spectators asking them if they were the race leaders. That's priceless.

They had a great after race buffet at the main ski lodge at Eagle Point Ski resort. Grilled salmon, chicken, lemon rice and a killer pasta salad.


Jason said...

Mike - great job man! Was great to see you.

Recycle Drinking Straws said...