A 69-mile bicycle race scheduled for Saturday, July 16, in the Tushar Mountains has attracted the attention of not only cycling enthusiasts, but also top athletes from around the world including national, world and even Olympic champions.
The inaugural Crusher in the Tushar bicycle race is slated to kick off at 8 a.m. July 16, north of the Beaver High School football field at 200 North 100 East.
The course winds its way high into the Tushar Mountains above Beaver, dropping down into Piute County and through the communities of Junction and Circleville before returning on State Route 153, finishing at the upper lot of the new Eagle Point Resort.
“Of all my travel to far-flung places, I always enjoyed most getting back to ride my bike on the many roads, both paved and dirt, in and around Beaver, my ancestral hometown,” said Burke Swindlehurst, event organizer.
He said the concept of the race has existed for more than a decade — a dream to one day incorporate the terrain and scenery of the Tushars into his love of cycling.
“Upon my retirement from professional racing in 2010 I decided it was time to make that dream a reality,” Swindlehurst said. “I have striven to design not only an ultra-challenging event but also one that is unique in the world of cycling.”
According to Swindlehurst, the race is unique in that it includes portions of pavement and dirt and gravel roads, as well as more than 10,000 feet of vertical gain and 6,000 feet of descent, much of which is at altitudes of over 10,000 feet.
He said the race could take up to 10 hours for some participants to complete the course.
The grueling trail has attracted the interest of cyclists from across the country and Canada, including a handful of professional athletes such as Canadian Olympic medalist Clara Hughes, three-time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson from Massachusetts and David “Tinker” Juarez, two-time Olympian and national and world mountain biking champion, according to Swindlehurst.
Area residents are invited to come to the start to catch a glimpse of some of the top athletes in the world and also are welcome to come to the finish at Eagle Point Resort to watch the conclusion, Swindlehurst said.
The first riders to reach the event’s finish line are anticipated to arrive at approximately 1 p.m., Swindlehurst said.
To accommodate riders using S.R. 53, Swindlehurst said the roadway from Beaver to the Kent’s Lake turnoff will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8 to 10 a.m., which may affect regular traveling for some people who frequent the route.
He said drivers should expect delays or closures on S.R. 153 from Junction to Puffers Lake from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
People who do travel these roads are advised to use extreme caution and yield to the cyclists as they negotiate the course during the day Saturday, Swindlehurst said.
For more information on the event go to www.tusharcrusher.com.