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Gravel

Burke Swindlehurst to hand over the reins of Crusher in the Tushar

Ginger Hall of the Utah High School Cycling League will take over the director role of the Utah event in 2023

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In the 12 years that Burke Swindlehurst has put on the Crusher in the Tushar, he’s never once lined up at his own event.

Sure, he’s ridden the course hundreds of times — Crusher in the Tushar’s legendary route is a link-up of Swindlehurst’s favorite training rides from when he was a domestic road pro — but he’s been too busy to participate himself.

And, while he was planning on pinning on a number at Crusher in 2023, the recent passing of his father, Tom Swindlehurst, has hastened the process.

burke swindlehurst
Swindlehurst and his father Tom at the finish of the Tour of Utah stage at Snowbird in 2010

“My dad was such a huge part of this event for me,” Swindlehurst told VeloNews. “People always talk about the Crusher being a legacy I created — I see it being more a legacy of my dad. A love of the mountains and that area was instilled in me from my dad. Being able to even pull it [Crusher] off … getting permits, all of that, when I first started, none would have happened without my dad and his standing in the community. He helped me every step of the way.”

On Saturday, Swindlehurst will be riding — not racing — with his father on his mind.

The ride will also be symbolic in another way.

After this year’s event, Swindlehurst will be stepping away from the race director role at Crusher. After founding and creating the event in 2011, he will officially resign as race director while still staying involved in the event as a consultant.

“I’ll be taking more of a 10,000 foot view,” he said.

“This is basically 12 years for me as a race director, and it’s has taken a true physical and mental toll. I’m ready to turn the page and start seeing what’s part of Burke 3.0 or whatever version I’m working on.”

Swindlehurst handpicked his successor, Ginger Hall, last year. She lives in Cedar City, Utah and works as the southwest regional director of the Utah High School Cycling League.

Swindlehurst said that Hall’s work with the high school league impressed him from the moment they met.

“We met in the middle of one of the high school races three years ago, I think she was directing traffic or something,” Swindlehurst said. “These races are huge, like 2,500 kids. I was super impressed with how calm and collected she was. As a race director I know what it’s like to be in those situations.”

Ginger Hall, the new race director of the Crusher in the Tushar

It was also important to Swindlehurst that his successor be located in close physical proximity to both him and to the race community of Beaver. As a resident of Cedar City, about a 40 minute drive from Beaver, Hall fit the bill on multiple levels.

“I wanted the person be able to run to Beaver quickly and also knock on my door 24/7, have a coffee and chat. I needed that from a personal perspective,” Swindlehurst said.

Swindlehurst’s commitment to the integrity of his race has endured through gravel’s rapid rise from the grassroots to Life Time’s acquisition of the event in 2019. His role has always been more than a race director and rather someone involved in every detail of the event, from ensuring excellent post-ride music to designing the highly anticipated race t-shirts.

Hall said that she’s aware of both the great responsibility and huge opportunity in following Swindlehurst’s footsteps.

“To say that I’m honored that Burke chose me to take over the reins from him is an understatement,” she said. “I’m equal parts stoked and nervous. Taking over race directing duties from someone who is admired by so many is a daunting task, but it is a challenge that I welcome.  I will work hard to maintain the amazing atmosphere that Burke has worked so hard to achieve and will strive to make sure that every rider who toes the line will walk (or crawl?) away from the finish line satisfied with their race day experience.”