Burke Swindlehurst dreamed up the Crusher in the Tushar while training in his native Utah for the Saturn Classic, a 140-mile Boulder to Breckenridge road race that included 15,000 feet of climbing and several dirt sections. Swindlehurst loved the race, but didn’t like how riders could switch bikes to descend the dirt portions.
So, for the Crusher – a 69-mile, 10,000ft race that tackles pavement and steep, steep gravel – you have to stick with one bike. And, as he has often joked, no matter what bike you pick, at some point it is going to be the wrong choice. (For some portions, a road bike would be ideal; for others, a mountain bike would come in handy.)
Here is the bike Swindlehurst rides. With the exception of going wider on tires and gearing, this is how he would race his own event.
“As far as gear tips for Crusher go, my cardinal rule is have a minimum of 1:1 gearing for the climbs,” Swindlehurst said. “whether you’re Pro Tour or Bro Tour, you’ll use every gear you can grab on the main climb of the race, the Col ‘d Crush.”
“Another cardinal rule is to be prepared for anything in the weather department, regardless of what the forecast calls for,” he said. “Our most severe year in terms of weather called for a high of 85 degrees and sunny skies all day. What we actually got was a 60-degree temperature swing ranging a high of 104 at the lowest elevation of the course transitioning to 40 with rain, hail, and sleet at the finish line. Many riders were treated to both heat exhaustion and hypothermia the same day. I always recommend that riders pack a light jacket no matter what just to be safe because the summer monsoons have a tendency to pop-up in the early afternoons without any prior warning and rain at 10,000+ feet can be an unpleasant experience when you’re only apparel is about 25 grams worth of spandex!”
For tires, Swindlehurst would recommend something in the 38-40mm range for “Crusher’s variability and Jeckyl/Hyde course conditions.”
For gearing, Swindlehurst has a 42t ring on his bike, and usually uses a SRAM 10-42 cassette (not that Shimano XTR 11-40 shown here).