Crusher Culture

The Crusher now offers three options for adventure: Mass Start (07.16.2022), EX (07.01.2022 – 09.30.2022), and Bikepack (07.01.2022 – 09.30.2022).

The Crusher welcomes all riders to explore U.P. gravel, two-tracks, and wilderness at their own pace. Some will come to race. Others will come for the adventure, and a chance to put a green dot next to their name.

The Crusher is a self-supported enhanced gravel event intended to test you in ways traditional events can’t or are afraid to try. You are on your own. No one is out there to save you. GPS is required. There are no aid stations. You must carry the recommended gear. In an emergency you will dial 911.

The Crusher features “checkpoints”. Checkpoints require an additional level of preparation and awareness. Checkpoints level the playing field. You can go fast, eh? That’s cool. Can you find the checkpoints while you go fast? All Crusher events (EX, MS) require checkpoints. If you fail to collect all of the checkpoints – you will be disqualified. We’re not kidding. It’s the rules. If you don’t like the rules – that’s cool. Stay home.

The Crusher strives for equal representation. We do not offer categories, age groups, or labels. The field is open to men, women, and children. We do not offer youth categories. It’s easier to bring people together by removing the barriers between them. It’s pretty simple – work together, focus on what you have in common, respect each other.

We can’t forget where we came from.” – Todd Poquette, Director, The Crusher

Prior to 2020 The Crusher and its enhanced gravel were already hard enough for most people – taking your average gravel racer waaaay out of his or her comfort zone. It was a gravel event but was a gravel bike really the best bike for it? No, not really, but it could be done. You could also bring a mountain bike or a fat bike. The most commonly asked question in the Facebook group is “What’s the right bike for Crusher”. Ya… it was already challenging before we rode straight into the headwinds of a pandemic, and then it got harder. You can blame me (Todd) for that. Events were canceled. All of them. We had to make a decision: cancel or adapt. We chose the latter. I made a couple of videos to announce the change – “We’re announcing Crusher-EX, fully self-supported, this is not a drill. We’ve been telling you for five years you’re on your own, this year it’s for real. No mass gathering, no mass start, it’s just you against the course, and it’s gonna be extra hard, because everything else will be this year (2020).”

Out of respect for your time I’ll cut to the chase. Creation of the EX format was and has been great. It’s given people more options and opened the event up to a new group of people, those who don’t like to race but love adventure.

It also opened up a door to becoming what we strive not to be – exclusive. While we have continued to maintain diversity among participants (men, women, children), the courses have become increasingly harder and began to threaten the opportunity to reach people who aren’t ready for the intensity and difficulty of EX courses. When I started to hear and see comments (not many, some) about not “dumbing” Crusher down or “going soft” it was an indication we’d started down a road we don’t want to be on.

The Crusher is an opportunity, not a judgment. The event has always been intended to welcome riders of all abilities so we can help them discover new abilities, do things they didn’t know they could do. By making it too hard we create a barrier of entry and risk behavior that is inconsistent with our non-profit mission (empowering people to discover the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure).

So I want to be clear – we can’t forget where we came from. We can’t forget why we’re here. We need to evolve and this year we will.

EX will continue to be the EX you’ve come to love and hate. That’s really all I need to say about it. It’s not changing. Well, the routes did, but the difficulty did not. If anything it might be a touch harder this year. You’ll get your monies worth.

MS will follow the same self-supported ethos, checkpoints, Crusher culture, and FUn, but in a more civilized manner. MS events will be stepping stones (we hope) for people to eventually try one of the EX events in order to further expand their “discomfort zone”. MS events will offer the community a chance to gather (Otter Lake Campground), ride together, share stories, and create new connections. EX and MS events will continue to be what the other is not – providing a spectrum of FUn opportunities throughout the year.

Now I have to run… we have a lot of shit to do between now and July 1… and July 16. If you have questions… call me, but I think it’s pretty straightforward. We’re evolving. We’re pumping the brakes and being deliberate about how we offer and curate the event formats.

Ah, one more thing… the Bikepack. You know what… I’ll do a seperate post on that soon.

Stay Tuned.

The Crusher