You don’t have to go far into the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula until you come across some mining equipment, often times a machine that takes large rocks and crushes them into small ones. Every year there’s a portion of the route that: a) could use a mining crusher to pulverize the gravel to more rideable conditions, and b) provides soul crushingly stout terrain about two thirds of the way in.
Riding it for the first time, the name just made sense. “Crusher” was a natural choice.
The early years had riders exploring the Huron Mountains to the northwest of Marquette. Think miles of dirt, gravel and sand. Crushingly fast (and frequently well graded) downhill. Back then the official name for the event was “The Huron Mountain Crusher.”
The ride cut across the Huron Mountain highlands and down a screamingly, crushingly fast (and frequently well graded) downhill on County Road 510. The ride then rolls up and over a spine of the Huron Mountains for a second, less well maintained descent. Serious terrain features, sometimes over aggregate the size of footballs (and larger!) Sections with gnarly gravel, on steep grades, mixed in with sand, mud, swampy gulches and brushy workarounds if a rider doesn’t want to get their feet wet.
When we expanded beyond the Huron Mountains and ran a checkpoint event we called it, for a brief time, The HAMR (Huron Adventure Mountain Race). But everyone still calls it The Crusher. Distances vary each year, with options for a shorter route that will take riders all day, to a longer route that may take riders two days to complete. This year’s long race has an option for a new 225-mile route from Copper Harbor to Marquette. Rain or shine. Self-supported. There’s a reason that a snorkel is on the required gear list.