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How do I prepare for the crusher in the tushar?
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Lauren De Crescenzo's Podium at Crusher in the Tushar

Lauren is at the forefront of the women’s field in the Lifetime Grand Prix. She’s a true threat when it comes to long-distance days, but not without her own learning moments. In 2021, she was set to crush the Crusher…with a huge gap over the field. However, when the wheels came off she was forced to learn and adjust her approach to fueling for the coming races. Coming back in 2023, she was poised for a great day.

LDC: For context, I did this race in 2021 I was winning with a large gap over 2nd place and two-thirds into the race I totally blew up. It's still to this day the worst bonk and stomach distress I've ever experienced on the bike and it was the catalyst for me to take a hard look at my fueling protocol.

When coming up with a fueling protocol you need to consider the unique features of the race. Crusher is unique in that it's at a high altitude, in a very dry and hot climate, and there is a lot of climbing. All of these things not only make for a challenging day but mean that the right fueling strategy is even more important than in most races.

I started out my morning with my SwissRx Probiotic and Gut Health supplement. I've found that prepping my gut pre-ride makes a big difference in minimizing gut distress. Then I took the Sur Alt Red. I take it every day but it's even more crucial during high alpine racing.

During the race, I stuck to my tried and true NEVERSECOND protocol. This involves C30 Gels every 30 minutes. I brought two of the NEVERSECOND C30 Bars in my pocket for a little variety. In my bottles, I had three scoops of the C30 Drink Mix so approximately 90 carbs each in my liter bottles. I also brought a couple of the Margarita Flavored Clif Shot Bloks. I've found these to be good towards the end of the race when I've lost a lot of salt because who doesn't love to eat them and imagine they are sipping margaritas on an island somewhere instead of suffering up the Col de Crush.

I'm happy to report that I felt really great throughout the race and experienced zero gut distress. With the help of the knowledge of products I've gained from working with The Feed, I was able to go 40 minutes faster than I did in 2021 with a 30-watt increase in my overall power."

What did you adjust –in the bigger picture– of your training and preparation for Crusher this year?

Over the course of the season, I've been working hard at training my gut, which has been enhanced by partnering with the Feed. I'm able to experiment with different products, and with the help of their nutritionists, figure out which is best for my performance. My 2021 Crusher will forever go down as my greatest bonk of all time (before partnering with the Feed!), as I struggled to eat and drink at such a high altitude. That's one of the main reasons why I now aim to consume 100-120 grams of carbs per hour!

My teammate Holly (and LT Grand Prix athlete!) and I went "glamping" on the Crusher climb 2 weeks before the race in her sprinter van! We were able to spend ample time at altitude, and really take in the course, all while having a great time in Beaver!

Did you test anything new in your fueling strategy that made a difference?

A few products I added to my fueling strategy that made a difference at Crusher were Swiss RX -  Gut Defense, Swiss RX- Nitric Oxide, and Pillar.

Swiss RX Gut Defense helped me with fueling because as athletes, we put tremendous stress on our guts. Chronic dehydration,  gels and chews, and high caloric intake all wreak havoc on our digestive system. By adding the Swiss RX- Gut Defense I was able to consume more carbs per hour, without experiencing any type of gut distress!

The Swiss RX Nitric Oxide allowed me to boost my oxygen capacity for a full 5 hours by promoting endogenous nitric oxide production, allowing me to maintain peak levels of Nitric Oxide, critical to high-altitude performance.

I've added Pillar Performance Triple Magnesium Professional Recovery to my regimen as the magnesium promotes a better night's sleep, something I often struggle with especially at high altitude, as well as better muscle function the next day.

All eyes are on Leadville 100 – the next stop in the LTGP.

Avatar Carson Beckett

Carson Beckett / Wednesday, August 9, 2023