Haley Smith powered to a win at Crusher in the Tushar on Saturday. The third event in Life Time’s new Grand Prix series, Crusher is a 112-km gravel race taking place high up in Utah’s Tushar mountain range.
The win, Smith’s first with her new Maxxis Factory Racing squad, was an emotional one for the Canadian. Smith was open about mental struggles she went through on the way to the postponed Tokyo Olympics, but also said that she was starting this season off on a much more positive note. With her ride Saturday, Smith continues the upward trajectory in 2022 that included a big sixth place finish at Unbound Gravel.
Now, Smith has landed a win.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to win a race again, ever,” Smith can be heard saying as she crosses the finish line in Utah.
Smith won Crusher in Tushar with a time of 4:56:23, the only woman to crack the five-hour mark. Emma Grant finished second in 5:05:02. Sarah Sturm followed close behind to claim the final posim spot in 5:05:42.
I’m nothing if not persistent. And the people + companies around me are nothing short of amazing.
Very happy to ride with guts at Crusher today and come away with the W! THANK YOU team for making this one possible.
📸: Kevin @ HyperThreads pic.twitter.com/lq0DU0MIID
— Haley Smith (@hale_smith) July 9, 2022
More than just a single victory, Saturday’s win brings Smith to within two points of curring Life Time GP leader Sofia Gomez Villafane in the race for the overall title.
Keegan Swenson won the men’s race at the Crusher in Tushar, finishing the 110-km race in 4:02:24. The win is Swenson’s second in three Life Time Grand Prix events so far this year. He also finished first at Sea Otter Fuego XC 80. At Unbound, the American was second – and top Life Time athlete – in a sprint finish with race winner Ivar Silk.
Canadians generally fared well at the Crusher. While only 110-km long, the gravel event squeezes 3,100-m of elevation gain, all taking place at, or above it’s starting elevation of 1,800 m.
Andrew L’Esperance just missed the extended podium, finishing sixth. Adam Roberge added a 10th place ahead of Rob Brittion in 13th. Cory Wallace followed in 28th.
Kegan Swenson has a perfect 90 points so far in the Life Time Grand Prix, But now Britton, L’Esperance and Roberge are all in position to fight for a high-dollar-value podium position in the new series.