The Crusher History

Crush (verb)
a :to suppress or overwhelm as if by pressure or weight
b: to oppress or burden grievously
C: to subdue completely.

The Crusher has been many things over the years, but we’ve always called it The Crusher. Originally a way for the riders of Marquette, MI to explore the hundreds of miles of barely-maintained gravel, two-track, and logging roads, The Crusher now takes riders from across the midwest to places that have a higher bear population than human.

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.

It’s all about community.

We asked you to #adapt in 2020, and you did. Now we’re asking you to join us and #forge ahead. 2021 is about doing what you do best, making the most of what you have, and getting better every day.

While a lot of races out there are run by for-profit companies, that’s not the case for Marji Gesick, Polar Roll and The Crusher. All of our events are productions of the 906 Adventure Team, a 501(c)3 whose mission is to empower people to become the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure. We don’t have a large staff of people (two, to be exact) or significant overhead, and that enables us to donate a significant portion of race revenues in two ways:

Since 2015, we’ve given back more than $141,000 to the trail-builders of RAMBA, NTN, Sisu Dirt Crews, WinMan and the DCNT. We also support youth adventure programs in three communities and have plans for that number to grow in the near future.

In 2021 we’re building a learning management system to train 150+ volunteer Adventure Leaders, and have our eyes on the future: planning to grow from 500 youth served to thousands. Together with your continued support and a network of dedicated partners, we will connect kids with each other, their communities, and give them a healthy alternative to time spent on devices.


Learn More

When you sign up for The Crusher mailing list