Crusher in the Tushar - The Richfield Reaper: Sports

Crusher in the Tushar

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:00 am

It’s a 70-mile course that will test more than 500 of the world’s most prominent professional endurance athletes.

The third annual Crusher in the Tushar, presented by DNA Cycling and the Beaver County Travel Council, will take the racers from 22 states and four foreign countries up more than 10,000 feet into the Tushar mountain range — twice — on a mix of paved and dirt roads that trek through Beaver and Piute counties Saturday, July 13.

“The event has quickly gained prominence as one of the premier ultra-endurance cycling events in the nation,” said Burke Swindlehurst, the creator of the Crusher race. “[This is] due in part to its unique format and terrain and also the unparalleled support of local volunteers at the five aid stations sprinkled along the route.”

The race is scheduled to begin staging at 7 a.m. at 100 North 200 East in Beaver, with a start time of 8 a.m., according to Swindlehurst. He said after winding through the Tushar range on State Route 153 and Forest Road 137 through Beaver and Piute counties, the race is set to conclude at Eagle Point Resort’s upper lodge, located 19 miles up Beaver Canyon, from roughly noon to 5 p.m.

“The best spectating opportunities will be at the event’s start and finish lines,” Swindlehurst said. “There will be concessions available for spectators and opportunity to mingle with the athletes.”

This year Swindlehurst said, in addition to the professional categories, the Crusher will feature 10 age-graded amateur categories brimming with national and regional luminaries of endurance racing, as well as an increasing number of local residents.

The men’s field of professional riders this year was headed by the event’s two-time defending champion, Tyler Wren of Albany, N.Y., according to Swindlehurst. He said Wren will have his work cut out for him in his quest for a third title as he is competing against Tour de France stage winner and Olympic bronze medalist Levi Leipheimer.

The 39-year-old Leipheimer recently retired from an illustrious 15-year professional career that included overall victories in some of the sport’s most prestigious events including the Tours of Switzerland, Germany and California, Swindlehurst said.

The women’s pro field is also laden with top talent, according to Swindlehurst. He said the 2012 winner and course record holder Gretchen Reeves of Avon, Colo., will again face off against last year’s runner-up, Olympian Tammy Jacques of Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Some new faces, including eight-time Iron Man World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser, who has been hailed as the “greatest all-around female athlete in the world” by ABC Sports, will join the field of top female professionals in this year’s race.

In order to accommodate the race, Swindlehurst said travelers who may be using either SR 153 or Forest Road 137 may want to consider alternate routes.

“If you’re traveling in the area on the day of the event, please be aware that [those roads] in Beaver and Piute counties will be impacted by delays and restrictions,” Swindlehurst said.

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