Salt Lake City — An unusually large amount of snow has forced a decision to re-route the “Crusher in the Tushar,” race course, while two-time Olympic mountain bike racer Tinker Juarez is the latest renowned rider to sign up for the half dirt, half road race on July 16 in Southern Utah.
Race promoter Burke Swindlehurst said there was a “1 in 100 snow year” in the area, with roughly a 300 percent increase in total accumulation. The United States Forest Service made the final decision that a re-route was necessary due to the snowfall.
“Trust me, there's nobody who is more disappointed about the need to re-route the course, but Mother Nature has taken it out of my hands,” Swindlehurst said. “I received word from the U.S. Forest Service yesterday that it would not allow the event to go over Big John's Flat Road until they had cleaned the debris from a large avalanche on the backside of the course. Unfortunately, that's not something that can be done before the race.”
Still, Swindlehurst believes participants in the first-time event will be satisfied with the adjusted route.
“The alternate route I have is actually the first version of the race I drafted up,” Swindlehurst said. “It also maintains all the attributes that make this event a ‘Crusher.' It is 69 miles and has more than 10,000 feet of climbing. I rode it last weekend and it nearly broke me.”
Juarez joins an already diverse group of marquee riders that includes Canadian Olympic cyclist and speedskater Clara Hughes, two-time U.S. national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson and domestic road professionals Tyler Wren and Nick Frey (both of Jamis/Sutter Home) and Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling).
Juarez is a fan favorite whose 35-year professional cycling career includes Olympic appearances in 1996 and 2000, three cross-country national championships, a Pan American gold medal, and a Masters world championship in 2010. He said he signed up to race the course that fits his racing style and schedule perfectly.
“A friend recently called and asked if I'd heard about this crazy new race that Burke was putting on, so I checked out the website and and saw quickly that it was the perfect prep for Leadville,” Juarez said. “It looks like it has a ton of climbing at high elevations and it's exactly a month out from Leadville. The photos of the mountains look amazing and I can't wait to explore a beautiful new place on my bike.”
Wren said he also knew immediately he wanted to be a part of the first edition of the event.
“Burke and I have many similar tastes,” the Salt Lake City resident said. “Namely, we both love the Utah landscape, all kinds of bikes, and to suffer mightily on those bikes.”
Swindlehurst said Johnson, who raced 11 years professional on the road in addition to cyclocross, was the first big name to sign up. Swindlehurst, who is the BISSELL Pro Cycling assistant director sportif in addition to the Crusher race promoter, knows both Johnson and professional racing well.