The 2012 Tour de Donut was a blast. Goals were set, bets were made and dreams were shattered. I may or may not have forgotten to pre-regsiter for the race until it was too late, but Patrick Albert, (via Kate), totally saved my ass on that one. It would’ve totally sucked to drive all the way down there just to have to turn around and come home. I owe both of you, big time.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll try to keep the story short and let the pics/videos tell most of the tale. I’d also like to apologize in advance for the shitty quality of the videos; I’m new at this and don’t know how to edit them.
Early in the morning, the empty field where I’d slept was quickly transformed into a tightly-packed parking lot.
There were something like 1600 racers lined up, so it was pretty congested at first.
When the race started, the field of riders was slow to get moving. I’d say at least half the riders were the type who only ride a few times a year, so that was understandable. Better safe than dead. We were moving slooooooooww until the crowd thinned out.
Once we finally got going, the course lead us through town, where there would be a rib-cookoff later in the day. It smelled pretty awesome.
The first leg of the race was relatively flat, save for a rolling hill or two. Having started so far in the back, I was having to really put down an effort to get past some of the larger groups. Some of these folks were really having trouble riding in a straight line, and how we managed to not have a massive crash is a mystery to me.
Weaving my way through the crowd, I latched on with a speedy group and we started going through the gears. It didn’t take long before my 1×9 gravel bike was out of gears and I was spinning like a madman just to stay in the paceline. I was out of my comfort zone for sure, but it was really fun. I haven’t been on a road ride for years and I had forgotten how fun it can be. I hung with those guys for about 6 miles and finally let them go. The first donut stop was about 8 miles into the ride, so we got there pretty quick.
My plan was to eat light at this stop, then get serious at the next one. No sense in riding the entire course with a full belly when I could wait til the end, right? I put down 8 donuts, recorded my thoughts and took off. I couldn’t have been there for much more than 10-15 minutes. I still felt good and had lofty goals for the day, as you can see here.
8 Donuts down and back on my bike, you can see I was feeling a little bit cocky. This stretch of road was flat with zero traffic, so it was pretty enjoyable. The scenery on this section gave me a better understanding of why the WTFAR boys love Illinois so much..
I found myself riding along with some pretty cool fellas from Springfield, and noticed that one of them was rolling on a rear tire that was about 80% flat. They didn’t have a pump, so I charged them $20 to use mine. OK, that’s not true. Of note, the dude on the left was riding a bull-horned singlespeed with platform pedals. Pretty badass if you ask me.
I think I was about 5 miles from the 2nd donut stop when I rolled up on Rocky, one of the dudes I had camped with the night before.
Rocky had a flat tire, no spare tube and no pump. BUT, he had given me free beers the night before the race and that makes us buddies. Despite our best efforts, though, Rocky was going to have to wait for someone to bring him a new tube. The good news is that he flatted at the top of a rather large hill where we got to see people really suffer.
It was only a few miles down the road before we reached the 2nd and final donut stop. With 18 to go, I decided I’d knock them out in 2 groups of 9. I stacked them up on an empty box, then made way to sit in the grass and get to business. At least 3 times, people confused me with some other guy that had apparently been gorging himself and throwing up in the field….very flattering.
I was nearly done with the first “stack” when things started to go bad. They still tasted pretty good, but my body was done with this shit. Mentally I was fine, I wasn’t really feeling all that full. I fought it as long as I could, but that old familiar feeling of pending spewage swept over me, and despite my most concentrated efforts…I vomited approximately 3 donuts.
With that, my donut quest came to an end. Sadly, there’s no video of the actual purge, but my thoughts afterward may be found here. The final 9-ish miles to the finish line were quite hilly and I did a lot of burping and dry-heaving. That part really wasn’t any fun at all, especially since noone was around to see it. I did get lucky and make some more friends though, when I crossed paths with yet another rider with a flat.
This guy also had no pump, tube or patch kit. I gave him my last one and you would’ve thought he’d won the lottery. He was a happy man. We got back on the bikes and he totally dropped my ass, but he was waiting for me when I finished. Pretty cool guy. I talked with Kate for a few minutes after the race, then went to lay in my truck and dry heave some more.
So, despite my failure and earned obligation to be the fattest man to ever wear a speedo at the Thunder Rolls, I had an outstanding time. I’m sure it would’ve been more fun if I’d known more people, but I did get to talk briefly with Allie and Stephen, who were at the CAC this year with Justin. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the TDD was Allie’s longest race. She looked pretty happy when I saw her, so my guess is that she did well.
I’d really like to go back and do this race next year, but I think I’d rather do it like Kate did, turning in a solid time and only eating a donut or 2 when I’m hungry. I still can’t believe I lost this bet.