The Tour de Donut held this past Saturday, July 12 in Staunton, Illinois was one of the funnest races I’ve ever participated in. I was really excited about this race and felt like a kid on Christmas morning when the race first started out and we rode through the main street in Staunton where the ribfest was taking place that day and thousands of people lined the streets to cheer everyone on.
I think I passed out more smiles per mile in this race than any other I’ve been in. The competitive racers led off the pack of about 1400 riders followed by us non-competitive riders 🙂 I watched the beginning of the race by the starting line and simply waited until the end of the pack caught up to me then fired up my Sports Tracker app and got some tunes playing in my ears and headed out 🙂 There was a gentleman at the end of the pack I took off with who was riding one of those recumbent bikes with three wheels and we chatted for a bit at the beginning and both liked the fact that nobody could pass us (because there was no one behind us) but we could still pass a lot of people 🙂
Shortly after getting out of town we encountered a couple short, steep hills and the first minor accident I witnessed when a car was coming towards us and everyone had to slam on our brakes right after speeding down the hill. One young lady lost it and fell off her bike. I wasn’t able to pedal fast enough to downshift to an easier gear and had to gut it out to make it to the top.
Around mile 25 I came upon an ambulance which had one of our riders in a stretcher, there was a sharp right hand turn in the road and some guy crashed pretty badly and had to be taken to the hospital. Towards the end of the race, around mile 30, there was another ambulance that I saw pulling away from the scene of another crash.
I have a Trek 4500 Mountain bike I used for this race with big knobby tires but the serious riders had tires no wider than my thumb. Even with my clunky type bike I managed to hit top speeds of 41 mph so I’m guessing the serious riders were going even faster.
I saw the cyclery van a few times along the route and they helped out riders with flat tires and other mechanical issues.
After the race was over, riders tore off the bottom part of their bibs which contained hash marks for every donut that was eaten and this data was used to help determine our Tour de Donut winners since 5 minutes was taken off our final time for every donut eaten. 🙂
The first donut stop was in Mt Olive, Illinois and, at the time, I was thinking 8 miles is a pretty good distance for a race 🙂 I was feeling a little bit intimidated that there was another 16 miles to ride after that stop before the next donut stop. I ate 6 donuts at that stop and washed it down with a bottle of water.
There was a very nice straight, stretch of road right after the first donut stop a little over 5 miles long. That was my fastest section in terms of average speed which was in the 18 mph range.
The second donut stop was in the vicinity of Gilespie and Bneld Illinois. I had 3 donuts at the second stop and 6 bottles of water 🙂 I think any time I may have saved from eating the donuts was easily offset by how long I stopped. I probably spent a good 20 or 30 minutes at the second stop and I was much, much hotter than I was at my first stop.
There were a total of 6,500 donuts available to be eaten at this race and a little over 2,000 bottles of water. The time adjusted winner of the Tour de Donut ate 26 donuts for a time adjusted race duration of 36 seconds! The winner for the most donuts eaten was 36! OMG! The ladies didn’t eat as much as the men and there was a tie for the most donuts eaten by a lady which was 12.
I remember I was excited at the beginning of the race and a little more stoic between the first and second donut stops but, I got excited again during the last 2 or 3 miles of the race. I thought about my brother who loaned me a cushioned bike seat to put over my stock bike seat. Without that cushion rides of 10-15 miles end up impairing nerves in the groin region and there’s a lot of tingling & numbness down in areas where there simply should not be numbness! But, that extra seat cushion worked out great and totally alleviated that problem.
As I got closer to the end, I thought about my parents and the fact that they came up to the Ozarks last weekend to surprise me for my birthday. I was feeling grateful. There are times during my races, this bike race as well as others, when I feel a bit like Forest Gump when he takes off and runs across the country for a few years. The points in the movie when he’s passing gorgeous scenery. There was some very nice scenery along this route and some very picturesque moments.
According to my Sports Tracker I finished the race in 2 hours 45 minutes and I think the tracker paused when I was at my donut stops so that would have been actual riding time. I crossed the finish line at about 3h38min after the start of the race.
I spent most of my time in Staunton at the Rib Festival.
I got myself a beer at one end of the festival and slowly worked my way to the other end.
I learned the eating portion of the festival didn’t start until 5 p.m. so I had some time to kill.
In the middle of the festival were a couple live bands which were pretty darned good. During sets there were a lot of people dancing in the middle of the street.
There were a couple young pageant winners who were kept busy throughout the day. They were present at the awards ceremony for the Tour de Donut and again, pictured below, they did the drawing to become a judge. Unfortunately, my name wasn’t drawn 🙂
At the opposite end of the festival I came across a bunch of bikers that had ridden in from Panama, Florida! That’s a heck of a long ride. The bike pictured below has a 500 cubic inch V-8 engine!
I popped into Mr T’s Tavern to get out of the sun, have a couple beers and chat it up with the locals. I finally did get my plate of ribs but the battery on my phone was shot by then so no pics of some really awesome ribs 🙂
This was a really fun ride. A few years back, when I was still in school, I did some riding and learned my maximum riding limit was about 30 miles but, I ended up putting in a little sprint towards the end of this 35 mile race and could have easily kept going so I was pretty excited about that and feel much more confident about the 50 mile Half Century ride I have coming up in September.