Tushar Crusher | Pre Race
8 July, 2014
It's a tough thing getting psychologically ready for an event that seems staggeringly impossible. The task of the Crusher is so formidable that it seems near intangible. The conversations I have with racers, real cycling competitive athletes that return each year leave me a little daunted, searching deep inside whether or not I have the mettle for the epic race. I was a little anxious this year about racing the Rockwell Relay as rider #1 because I had the chore of so much climbing. I didn't do horribly, but nothing exceptional. Most of that anxiety swooped in the night before, as the race started to seem real. The Crusher? Well, so far all this week I've been a bit anxious about this undertaking.
I am completely confident in my rig. I've never had anything like this. Let me break it down: basically a road bike gone awry. You know when you see a lifted station wagon? Yeah, like that. Go anywhere, do near anything, but no business doing that. While this bike is constructed for the nastiness of off-road racing it has been so modified with parts that it no longer resembles the classification of a cyclocross bike. I call it my "gravel grinder" because it's best suited for that type of activity with those huge tires, for one. The feel I get while riding this thing is most similar to when Batman takes out the Tumbler in Batman Begins. It's like some kind of indestructible, armored tank.
In preparation of this event I'm taking a break from meat and most dairy, except some cheese (because I love it), and caffeine. I want my system running as clean as possible so that I can absorb the vital nutrients delivered via massive amounts of water during the sweltering heat of the second climb. Meat and dairy slow down my metabolism and digestive processes. Caffeine is great while in recovery and since I'm now beyond that and taking a rest, caffeine is only good for dehydrating the body. Not only does it help flush vital and pure H2O from your system, it takes with it scores of nutrients that help metabolic physiological functions and maybe even heat management (my own experience there). When active and a couple hours into intense activity it has a different effect. Anyhow, all this I am doing in hopes that somehow it helps on race day.
I've also been scouring the internet looking for video and stories about the Crusher. I've been going over the map of it day and night trying to envision my course and the elevation that I have to overcome. Please, take a look at the map: TusharCrusher Map. I've looked at the course on Google Earth and used elevation profiles to guess at grades of the second and nastiest climb. Based om distances and elevations available on Earth, I have determined that the grades aren't as bad as I thought. I was thinking sustained climbs of 14-18% for hours on end, but I was thankfully wrong.
Well my friends, thanks for following along with me. More to come from camp... I think.
10 July, 2014
Conversations of the Crusher persist, like some kind of pilgrimage that must be done. In the heart of every cyclist is the urge to go, to ride, to succumb, to search deep within, and to finally conquer. There are epic rides where with your best friends you hi-five and celebrate the awesomeness that are your lines, the roosts you threw, the drop you sent. And finally you reach a point in your riding career when there's more to discover. This is the fourth season of the Crusher and the 3rd season I've heard people say, "I'll never go back."
I've never spent so much time examining a course. I feel as though I'm headed to a place to be forever changed. That when I return I might be wiser.. that those I rode with will be friends for a lifetime because of the size of the struggle we'd shared. Then again, maybe that's all a little over-romanticized because the wild west is gone. My fascination with a wild frontier brings out that nostalgic pattern of thought. People talk of Butch Cassidy, like they know him. I studied that man for two years of my high school career. Now I'm going to ride my bike through his stomping grounds. He was the wild west. Our day would be different if he had not lived.