Note: 2020 is year of EX, or “Extra-Enhanced” gravel riding. Between the Ericksen parents and their three high energy male children, my spouse and brood were preoccupied enough to forget about the possible me-dying thing. There are a million ways things can go wrong out there. All that work earlier in the day started to catch up to me. I worried about my headlamp’s ability to help me navigate, and ability to see the blazes on the trees. Checkpoint selfies will be required with your ride file to verify completion of your CrusherEX event. we had to do was stay on this road until we find it. Once that was achieved Josh and I settled in for the night. Chicago Steve is now Super Steve because the guy still had amazing power. I know to get myself to the front of these situations and was able to bomb it with another rider leaving the group behind. It was getting late and my brain was starting to feel the effects of the day’s effort. This it. “Sure. The x-axis is time and the y-axis is miles covered. For the past two summers, I’ve trained and mentally prepped myself for the 906 Adventure Team’s Marji Gesick mountain bike race in Marquette, MI. When the race started, that was exactly what I did. And that’s when I got lost inside the Beaver Dam. I kept going forward, on trail that I had already navigated, the whole time trying not to lose my shit about having done all of this now THREE TIMES – two times forward and one time backwards. She told me, when asked, that I was the last runner, and that I was two hours behind the runners in front of me. The constant inhalation of insects and getting them in my eyes, mouth, and even breathing them in two weeks prior had led to a state of “panic running,” running constantly and without thought, leading me to miss trail cues and abandon what Tom had called earlier in the day “trail sense.” In the netting, I knew I would be able to slow down, run steady and look for trail cues, consult my navigation, and pace myself much better. The only one I found was a muddy trickle of creek, but it was clear enough to see to the bottom and I was desperate. Pulling myself across, carefully and painstakingly, I made it onto solid ground. I had to stop and put the suit on again. I caught the first of two shuttles arriving in Copper Harbor about 3:30. (Todd, I have some suggestions on how to reduce the suffering a bit to without challenging your #dohardthings ethos if you’re open to some input). Steve and I set out with another rider from our group named Tyler. And he wasn’t the only one, by the way. They added tons of chassis stiffening measures. They gave me their names which I tried hard to remember (Kevin? That shit needs a full-on mountain bike with suspension to ride it. Get lost. An Enhanced Gravel Loop beginning and ending at the Forestville Basecamp. At this point, we are a full 30 minutes off the scheduled 5:30 start. From the start to around Mile 16.5, the race is on the technical terrain of the NCT. Sure as shit there it is. And I knew that I would finish dehydrated. I’d like to give him credit, but I lost his name. My light was starting to fade and lacking front suspension, I decided to take it easy down the dark double track. The Fireworm Queen sought help from the gang and when they arrived, they attempt to catch it with bolas. My friend Lisa Thompson was running the show here and did an awesome job making sure all of the riders were topped off. Complete the longest distance in all three of our events and get invited to a private weekend of riding and fun. and Super Chicago Steve for the pace all day. Wearing his headlamp, he led me onto a grassy and unmarked section of trail, newly made and poorly “ridden in.” Without his guidance I would have wandered around that trailhead forever! Finally I reached the plateau, the canyon, and the wooden steps. On closer inspection, I realized I was right! Yes, he would keep watching. With varying mild degrees of insect bites and no serious injuries. And so, I kept moving forward. home. The end of this section dumped us along Lac La Belle on a long stretch of blacktop. Nice job on that 12th place finish dude! I’m not sure that everyone was swarmed the same way that I was. Go for top 10? some stories and to keep the mood high as we rode through the night in search You will be provided a booklet in lieu of a number plate. Press on or let them bridge up so we have a stronger group. Chicago Steve took the first pull. The Crusher. Thus his nickname. There is literally no cell service up there, so I just had to ride around to find him and our accommodations. All Rights Reserved. There are three major challenges of The Crusher Ultra – insects, navigation, and the one that would prove to be my downfall, the entirely self-supported nature of the race. You’ll receive a passport in place of a name plate, be required to prove you did the course by collecting checkpoint selfies along the way, and experience a race start best described as “chill”. Ride/Run file: Email your ride file to us upon completion of your CrusherEX event.