Mary and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Tushar mountains for the Crusher in the Tushar bike race. We're hooked. The fine scenery, the super hard, well organized race, the cool, high altitude air all keep us coming back.
This was my third go. Click here for my description of the 2013 event - which was nothing short of magical.
Thursday before the race Mary and I took a little spin to check out conditions.
Conditions were perfect!
In fact delightfully perfect!
Saturday was race day. Oddly, I wasn't nervous. I trained well, my body felt good, and I knew what lay ahead.
I stayed nicely tucked in the main pack all the way to the beginning of the steep parts of the first climb. I rolled over the top feeling like a Paris Roubaix champ. I then bombed down the descent of the Col 'd Crush, only slowing a bit after seeing a seriously messed up guy sitting by the side of the road.
I got into a decent little group on Highway 89 and rolled into Circleville feeling fine. The challenging "Sarlacc Pit" went down steady and smoothly.
Then the Col 'd Crush absolutely crushed me! Maybe I had a little hunger knock. I definitely had a stiff back, and the legs were starting to quiver. Three times I dismounted to regroup, which seemed to help as my power #s would improve for a while only to gradually dwindle again.
I arrived at the main aid station an absolute zombie, but I ate more, drank more, stretched for a few seconds and remounted. Slowly, but surely life returned to my body and the steady stream of riders passing me slowed to a trickle.
At last I rolled onto pavement and made the final push to the finish line. "Sprinting" from the drops.
and collapsing on the tarmac!
Thanks to Mary, my sister Margaret, and race volunteers I was up and "with it" in no time.
A bit later we were all stoked to see my buddy Chris finish.
More smiles. Beer helps.
Back at camp it was all about Champagne and Bocce Ball.
and a glorious sunset to top it all off.