2016 Crusher in the Tushar: A Tale of Many Women, Part 0

10.27.2016 | 5:12 am

If you are a cyclist, you have a lot of fun. Like, way more fun than you can even hold in your head. This is cycling’s greatest truth. 

This is also cycling’s curse.

The fact is, as a cyclist, all your memories of the fun you have is going to start piling up, getting jumbled in your head, and spilling over. Eventually, you wind up with a general recollection of having had a lot of fun, but a mild sense of confusion over specifically when or where you had fun, or why you remember some ride as being fun when you can recall suffering a lot, but can’t recall many moments that were…fun.

This is the main reason I write: to get the memories down while they’re fresh, so I can look back and read about the fun I had. Or remind my future self that sometimes I wasn’t having that much fun at all, and maybe find a lesson there.

But there’s a problem here: if you have too much fun, your fun outpaces your ability to keep up with it in writing. Sooner or later, you find yourself facing the reality that you’re going to have to write a race report about a race that you remember more as an amalgamation of several years’-worth of moments, rather than a distinct event.

That’s where I am now, with my report of the 2016 Crusher in the Tushar. Which happened back in July, for pity’s sake. 

I want to write a race report about my race…but I just don’t know what I’d say about my individual effort. After all, I didn’t go my fastest, not even close. I didn’t get on the podium.

But I did have a lot of fun. (At least, my general impression is that I seem to remember having a lot of fun).

More than the fun I had, though, is my recollection that several women I know really impressed me, each in different ways.

Over the course of the next few posts, I’m going to write about my thoughts on their races.

But first, one not-about-women memory.

David and the Not-Disappearing Backpack

This David H, of Marin. He comments on my blog from time to time, is a really good guy, and is a big WBR supporter.


I remember talking with David before the race. I don’t remember what we were talking about (almost certainly unimportant pre-race course condition chatter), but I do remember that he was carrying one of those cheapo nylon bags they give you at race packet pickup. 

You know how you can wear those as a backpack, if you don’t mind the cords cutting into your shoulders? That’s how he was carrying it.

“Is that your drop bag?” I asked. 

“Yeah, I need to drop it off,” he said. And then we kept talking.

Before long, of course, it was time to line up — me in the 50+ age group, him in the 60+ age group, which started before my age group. 

As I did my best to hang with the lead pack in my group and bridge from bunch to bunch, I saw Dave, riding ahead of me.

And as I got closer, I noticed: he still had that nylon bag on his back. 

I couldn’t help but laugh: I knew exactly what had happened. He’d forgotten it was there. My best guess — correct, I’d find out later — was that he’d remembered it the moment the race had started and it was too late to do anything about it.

I raced seventy miles that day. Hard racing at my very limit, in a beautiful area. On pavement on dirt. I talked and raced with a lot of people.

But for whatever reason, the image that sticks with me for the 2016 Crusher in the Tushar is ten minutes into the race, seeing David, starting a big day of riding…with a cheapo nylon backpack full of stuff he didn’t want to have until the end of the race.


  1. Comment by Corrine | 10.27.2016 | 9:36 am

    Yay! Love race reports and was wondering if we were going to hear about this race or not. Can’t wait to get David H’s take on this. Also, I have a huge dilemma that I need FoF to weigh in on. Do I do my 100MoN ride this weekend when the weather looks okay and I might even be able to do it on my mountain bike instead of my fat bike or do I wait until the actual date when it will definitely be colder and darker (and hopefully snowier) but may make for a more adventurous (a.k.a more arduous) and therefore possibly a better story? What to do? I was going to wait but since even Fatty is doing his early, should I, too?

  2. Comment by AKChick | 10.27.2016 | 9:47 am

    I have to vouch for David H. He is one of the nicest, funniest, funnest and most stand-up guys you’ll ever meet. He was kind enough to carry me along when Livestrong still had the Dave, CA charity ride. He made my day a whole lot better because I had someone to ride with and chat with (actually two people because he rides tandem a lot of the time). His wife is also super duper amazeballs. I love those two tons! :) They are good people.

    Received notice from DNA that my MoN stuff is on it’s way to Alaska! :)

    @Corrinne – I vote for snowier! :)

  3. Comment by MikeL | 10.27.2016 | 10:30 am

    @Corrinne. I think the main thing would be to do it when it would be best for you. Early, late, whatever.

  4. Comment by Welnic | 10.27.2016 | 10:32 am


    Do one now and one later and write up the better one.

  5. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 10.27.2016 | 11:11 am

    @Corrine, please don’t listen to @MikeL. *I* think the main thing would be to do it when it would be best for US. To @Welnic’s point, of course, that means do both. Or, if only one, snowier.

  6. Comment by owen | 10.27.2016 | 12:35 pm

    that is awesome. Its like seeing your budy come out of bathroom with toilet paper on his shoe. Pre-race jitters can make a person do and think some unusual things. Took a drop bag to a point to point race start once with temps in low 30’s. I find out the drop bag shuttle truck was a couple miles back at parking area. So tossed it under a tree and started the race. At the finish I froze and waited for my wife to finish then took the shuttle back to the start to retrieve bag only to find out they brought it to the finish – FAIL

  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.27.2016 | 12:45 pm

    @Corrine I think @Welnic has an awesomeFattyesque idea. An effort like this would put you in the upper eschelons of folks like The Noodleator, or that guy in his driveway.

    @AKChick thank you for the kind words, I hope when Elden finally organizes his Alpine Fatty Round-up for ??? I’m still around and we can all get together.

    @Fatty one day you’ll be like me… leaving the car windows down in the rain. Looking up and down trying to find your cycling gloves…they’re in your jersey pocket. One thing I will not forget is FUN on a bicycle.

    I blame Elden for my inability to complete the Italy story.
    But there’s a problem here: if you have too much fun, your fun outpaces your ability to keep up with it in writing.

    I have forgotten nothing about that trip, but his continuing inspiration to adventure more has one adventure after another holding me back…yeah, that’s the reason…sure…’cause I’m writing so much.

    So I promise both Fatty and Wife#1 I’ll finish a story about Italy and World Bicycle Relief for a good winter read. But first I need to go hang a door in my son’s room.

    Now where did I put those hinges down?

  8. Comment by leroy | 10.27.2016 | 1:04 pm

    My dog informs me that no matter what they say he’s done, he ain’t never had too much fun.

    I have a feeling I know what’s on the playlist for karaoke night this evening.

  9. Comment by PNP | 10.27.2016 | 4:43 pm

    @davidh: Re: your Italy and WBR story.

    I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only one here who’s noticed that your “good winter read” doesn’t specify which winter.

    The door can wait. :-)

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.27.2016 | 6:00 pm

    @PNP busted! touche.

  11. Comment by MikeL | 10.27.2016 | 8:02 pm

    OK. @JeffD. The world will be waiting for an epic one from you. ;=}

  12. Comment by Corrine | 10.27.2016 | 9:59 pm

    Ha! You guys must have mistaken me for an uber athlete or something! I SHOULD do it twice and I have to admit I thought about that for about 2 seconds but then my rational brain took over. I think I am going to do it on the official day instead of this weekend. If it’s -20F I’m blaming you guys. I may be miserable but it will make for a good race report. No matter what, I plan to win my division!
    @Davidh, I have wondered about your Italy report but wasn’t going to bring it up. . . but since you did, yes write it up so we can read all about it.

  13. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.27.2016 | 10:33 pm

    Sorry @Corrine you ARE an Uber Athelete. Some old readers..ok, me…remember your adventures after knee replacement surgery.

  14. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 10.28.2016 | 7:45 am

    @MikeL, Boston Carlos and I have put together a 100 MoN plan that’s not so much epic as it is eclectic. We posted the details in the Comments section of the Don B post, but will repeat them here.

    Okay, here’s the plan. I pile all of my bikes into/onto my Sport Utility Van (aka 2007 Toyota Sienna minivan, which, no offense to the Honda Ridgeline, is THE best bike vehicle this side of a Sprinter van). I drive from my undisclosed location to Carlos’ undisclosed location, which is conveniently near urban/suburban streets, some riverfront, and a large wooded park.

    We then make various semi-random short excursions from Carlos’ undisclosed location to points nearby via road bike, CX bike, CX pit bike, mountain bike, fat bike, folding bike, beach cruiser, a Hubway if we can score one, and anything else I’m forgetting.

    We won’t have to carry much, since we’ll use Carlos’ undisclosed location as home base. (Think REALLY eclectic pit at a CX race, but without the trained wrenches.)

    Total mileage will definitely reach 100 [we'll insert unit of distance of our choice here later] of Nowhere. We may choose to add miles for consumption of Stroop Waffles, Ted King Untapped products, Gu, and the work product of the many fine craft breweries in not-too-distant proximity to Carlos’ undisclosed location.

    We may hit up our friends for donations. Carlos and I haven’t discussed this last part, but my proposal is to split the proceeds equally between Camp Kesem and World Bicycle Relief. Also, I have a college junior to finish paying for.

    And, any Boston Fatties are welcome to join–let us know.

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.28.2016 | 11:25 am

    As for the ‘drop bag’, this racing thing is something I’m not very good at, obviously.

    I thought I was supposed to carry it till I ‘dropped’ someone and then ‘hand it back’, Sadly that never happened.

  16. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 10.28.2016 | 11:44 am

    @DavidH, ROTFLMAO!

  17. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.28.2016 | 12:34 pm

    @Jeff I’m old, I get it. I had to ‘goggle’ that, and you can guess what that got me.

    David, I think you’ll be glad to know that my 100MoN writeup features me forgetting something obvious and essential as an important plot point. – FC

  18. Comment by Kel | 10.28.2016 | 2:49 pm

    I can relate to David’s story with the backpack! Earlier this year we hiked a Grand Canyon trail down to the CO River and back up in one day. We left very early in the morning and checked out of the hotel. To save carrying all of our bags, my husband stuffed his bag of toiletries/shaving kit into his hydration pack. We got about an hour into the hike and he took a look into his pack and realized he was still carrying his toiletries (electric shaver, comb, toothpaste, etc.) He was ready to throw it over the canyon or hide it behind a bush, but he figured carrying it was proper punishment. Ha!

  19. Comment by Triflefat | 10.30.2016 | 5:14 pm


    I remember the mental anguish you went through trying to settle on a bike for a previous incarnation of the Crusher.

    And now we find that you have a bike in your stable that is apparently so close to the perfect bike for the Crusher it’s not funny.

    So was the previous post about your (nearly) perfect bike a softener-upper for the Crusher report?

    This is in fact that bike. And it is the bike I rode for the Crusher. And I’ll ride it for the Crusher again in 2017 too. – FC

  20. Comment by Mary | 11.10.2016 | 12:54 am

    I like to cycling with my friends and i love the reading


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