Tushar Crusher | Don't I Have Anything Better Going On?

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I've been making fun of the Crusher for a long time. Since it started basically. I made fun of everyone doing it. But finally I'm coming around to the dirt road race. Since it seems so much safer to be on dirt roads on my cross bike than on tarmac on my road bike, I'm starting to see the appeal. I've actually never suffered more than when trying to keep those skinny CX tires on the ground. But the descending is what I like best. I had forgotten what it was like to descend like a bat out of hell down a rocky, sandy, loose track on a fully rigid cycle.

The Tushar Crusher is touted as the ender of souls, the destroyer of worlds. It has no specific type of bike requirement other than it has to be a bike. A recumbant won't do. A tandem is a dumb idea. And a tricycle, well, forget about it. So after seeing several bikes come through over the years and getting the feedback from racers about the best possible set up for themselves, I came to some conclusion as to the nature of my needs. Wait! What?!

Yeah, I decided to stop jabbing at the Crusher and do it. When I had first looked into it I was getting ready for Rockwell Relay which has now passed. That was a hard event with lots of fatigue and a full night of very lucid non-sleeping. After that event the idea of competing in the Crusher left me and I wrote it off until 2 weeks of recovery had passed. Then my buddy forwarded the transfer page link for the event and I found an entry for $80. I'm a total sucker because that morning, this past Monday I had expressed I wouldn't do it, and two hours later I had purchased that guys race registration.

I have basically this week to train so I went out Tuesday and today on some hard rides getting my vert on. The first day was on pavement; Empire Pass, part of the final stage of the tour of Utah. I managed an hour climbing those 3200 feet. Today was another ride where the first 11 miles I'd climbed about the same distance. I actually set a Strava KOM on one impressive climb. And I honestly don't know how that could be... Strava, not to be trusted.

Anyhow, enough of that. After Empire pass I has to make some adjustments to an already unorthodox cross bike, if there is such a thing. I had already started out with a 1.95" wide Renegade tire up front and 1.8" of the same on the rear. The beauty of road wheels is that they're also 29ers wheels.... This changed the overall feel of the bike and the rocks and bumps started to disappear.

Next, the 12-28 gearing had to go. Empire was hard enough but pitches of 18% for extended periods are easier when racing fresh and on pavement. I'd need a true mountain cassette for a dirt road with sustained nastiness after mile 45 of the Crusher. So the Force rear der came off too because it can only handle a 28 tooth cassette.

Here's the trick I've been seeing: mountain derailleur with mountain cassette (11-36t) all the way home. My bike is SRAM and therefore I could use the x.0 type 2 rear derailleur which would help with the ruckus of the roads I'd be descending. The trick is the way Specialied designed the internal routing on their carbon Crux. Take a look. What is that thing?

The now antiquated Avid Rollamajig is in full function and really the only way to avoid a pigs-tail mess of cable and housing on the rear. Dumb luck I had that laying around! Otherwise I found 2 on eBay.

I also had to add a whole bunch of chain. Here's my bike with 2 master links and probably more chain than the Titanic anchor hoists held.

I tend to use a lot of water. Prepped for that. Also, a few weeks ago I wanted to lighten up my crank and get the gearing ready for the dirt roads I like around here where the grades maintain 8-17% on average. So I built it with the compact 34/50 tooth configuration which works perfect with that 11-36 cassette.

Waiting on a fresh Ksyrium from Mavic. Should be here just in time to get an evening warm up ride on it before the race. I'm excited as it will lighten the bike by at least a pound.

Meanwhile, feeling great and recovered from Rockwell. Tomorrow is July 4th and it's time for a little MTB action. Page 2 will get updated from camp the evening before the race. Thanks for following along!

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