Photos by Cathy Fegan-Kim
For the past eight years, the second weekend of July has become a sort of cyclists’ pilgrimage to Beaver, Utah. Around 650 riders, the maximum number allowed in the race, make their way to the small southern Utah town that sits in the shadows of the mighty Tushar Mountains, all with the hope they have what it takes to manage the course challenges and ever-changing weather conditions that the Crusher In The Tushar serves up in spades.
In just 69 miles, the Crusher manages to pack in 10,000 feet of elevation gain, making it a “climber’s course” where those with good bike handling and a power to weight ratio that’s heavy on the power side, and light on the weight side, prevail. One of those such riders is Alex Grant, a Utah local, mountain bike pro, and now a winner of Crusher In The Tushar.
“This was my sixth year racing it and I finally cracked the code,” said Alex. “I’ve had flat tires two years, pretty bad bonks another two, and then last year I had a better go at it. It is awesome to finally put it together this time”.
Alex not only upped his game from a second-place ride last year, he did it against an all-star field that included a number of pro road racers, including National road champion Alex Howes of EF Education, and National criterium champion Travis McCabe of Floyd’s of Leadville.
“For starters, the Crusher is one of the hardest and cruelest races that I have done, but also one of the most awesome and fulfilling. There is something unique that keeps people coming back year after year despite the fact that it crushes us repeatedly. It’s an honor to win that one!”
As a Cannondale athlete, Alex was riding the recently launched Topstone gravel bike finished with an ENVE G23 wheelset and cockpit.
“I rode Cannondale’s new Topstone Carbon gravel bike with the Kingpin suspension in the rear stays that helps with vibration damping. Paired with that were ENVE G23 gravel wheels–the combination was perfect. The bike just floats over the small bumps at speed. The additional damping and pinch flat protection that the G23 wheels provide were all key.”
Frameset: Cannondale Topstone Carbon
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: Maxxis Velocita AR 700×40 with EXO & TR (35 psi front/ 38 psi rear)
Seatpost: Cannondale Save Carbon
Stem: ENVE Road Stem
Handlebar: ENVE Road Bar
Drivetrain: 1×11 setup with a 42t single ring on SRM cranks, SRAM XX1 10-42t cassette, Shimano Ultegra shifters, XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur, and Wolf Tooth Tanpan adapter (to adjust cable pull for road shifters with a MTB derailleur)
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Hydro
Cranks: Cannondale Hollowgram SL
Bar Tape: Lizard Skins 3mm
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace
Extras: Wolf Tooth chain guide and Bento Box