CRUSHER IN THE TUSHAR
11 YEARS LATER AND IT STILL HURTS
The ethos behind DNA Cycling is to create the best custom cycling clothing possible for both dirt & asphalt. That is what drives us, and when we participated in the first Crusher in the Tushar, we knew it was an event we could get behind. Fast forward a decade later, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership.
Being a sponsor and rider has given us a unique perspective on this iconic gravel race. We looked back on this ride to see how this event has progressed throughout the years.
In 2011, gravel bikes didn’t exist as they do today. Cyclocross bikes were heavily modified to meet the demands of this new event. Tubular tires with rim brakes, compact crankset, and long cage derailleurs to try and maximize a throw to support an 11 – 32 cassette were becoming the norm. We were pushing the limits, mixing mtn bike derailleurs with STI levers. Converting a pair of Ksyrium clinchers to run tubeless (Stan’s The Raven 35mm) was another challenge worth tackling. If the bead sealed, that was a bonus. Amazingly, these bikes held up and produced times that still hold compared to some results in 2022. No matter what bike you chose to ride, at some point in the race, you are on the wrong bike.
Bike shops started to take notice and loved this challenge. Training rides became testing sessions on whatever gravel roads and single track we could find. Dirt & Asphalt was becoming cemented within our brand.
Since the commencement of the Crusher, DNA’s un-sanctioned aid station has always been a staple amongst racers. Located at the mid-point along Col de Crush, DNA’s feed zone is always loaded with everything needed to get each cyclist back to the finish line. An oasis in an otherwise barren landscape of suffering and pain.
“The fact that it was a Life Time GP series race meant that the best gravel cyclists were there, so the level was high and worthy for such a demanding route.
The view throughout the race was like a dream, the Utah landscapes made me give it my best because I felt in a free place and always connected with myself. – I am very excited to have challenged myself on gravel in one of the most famous races in the United States.” – ANET BARRERA (DNA Pro Cycling)
-One of the first “mixed-terrain” races.
– Butch Cassidy’s hometown.
– 69 (not so) nice miles.
– 10k+ vertical incline.
– Founded by Burke Swindlehurst in 2010.
– 60/40 split of road and gravel.
At 5:30 AM on race day, our team heads to the Col de Crush to set up and get ready for the pandemonium that is headed our way. Over 1500 ice socks are prepped, water stations filled, food selections laid out, and misters topped off, waiting and ready for action. This year’s fuel station was loaded by Carbo Rocket. So we thought it was fitting that Carbo Rocket’s Half Evil “all-in-one drink mix” fueled riders back to that finish line.
Once riders begin to climb the Col all hell breaks loose. The team is all hands-on deck. From tossing ice packs down rider’s backs, refilling bottles, spraying off riders, lubing chains, bandaging wounds, wiping tears, and providing a firm push up the Col. You name it, our team was on it. It’s amazing what we hear from these cyclists. ” Can I put my head in your ice cooler” and “Can I take your van and go home?”.
“The DNA aid station is the only reason I was able to make it up the Col. Knowing it was there kept me motivated and looking forward to some ice cubes down the back of my jersey.” – TODD ERICKSON