I don't even like donuts, but I do like winning, and as a slower rider, this is pretty much my only chance at a podium finish. Indeed, last year I was 2nd in my age group for donut adjusted time. I had to eat 11 donuts to do it, but it was worth it. This year, I planned to repeat the feat. In fact, with a road bike instead of a hybrid, I was really hoping to take first. My goal was 12 donuts and an age group win.
This year's Tour had 1,600+ registered riders, and I felt like I knew half of them. My tri club was well-represented (including fellow bloggers Chuck, Mike, Patrick, Robin, and Wade), my sister-in-law was riding for her first time, and three of the Team Virtus guys made the trip from Jefferson City to race. This was a welcome change from the previous two years, when I knew myself, my son, and his stepmom/my friend who came to take pictures for us. This was Kristy's first bike race, and she was both excited and nervous. Luckily, she got to work out some of her nervous energy airing up her bike tires.
|What happens when you have more pounds of air in your tires than your body.|
|The view behind me|
|Ready to ride!|
|Photo credit: Ron Jennings|
If you look carefully, you can see me kind of in the middle in the yellow jersey
The next ten miles weren't as enjoyable as the first. My stomach was not happy with me, but eventually it settled down. This is a fairly hilly route, and it definitely showed me that I have a lot of work to do before I'm a good hill climber. I kept seeing the same guy in this Curious George jersey. I'd pass him on flats and on downhills, and by the top of each hill he'd be cruising past me. It just looks like so much less work for some people.
|My nemesis...nemesii? What's the plural of nemesis?|
I had remembered the final leg of the race as being flatter, but my memory was faulty. My stomach was rebelling, my butt hurt, and I really wanted to take it easy. You didn't eat 9 freaking donuts to come in 4th place, I reminded myself, and kept pushing. I got behind a guy and drafted for a little bit and then decided he was going too slow. I passed him and was immediately reminded of the benefits of drafting. He passed me back again pretty quickly.
On the final stretch into town, I passed several people, including two ladies who looked to be about my age. I was dismayed, though, to cross the finish line and see 2:13:xx on the clock. I'd hoped to be significantly faster than that. My chip time was 2:10, but a friend of mine who rides at a similar pace to me and didn't stop for donuts finished in 1:44, so I lost a lot of time on donuts. Granted, my 9 donuts (NINE donuts) gave me a donut-adjusted time that was 45 minutes left, but my potential victory depended on how many other women ate.
In the end, it just wasn't enough. What's worse than eating 9 donuts? Eating 9 donuts and not placing in your age group. What's worse than that? Eating 12 donuts and not placing, which is what happened to another aquaintance. The girl who won donut-adjusted for my age group ate 18 donuts. Unbelievable. And I would have had to eat an additional 3 donuts (in no additional time) to place. I couldn't have done it. I'm at peace with that.
|Photo credit: Patrick Albert|
Sheer misery afterwards
Chip time: 2:10:46
Overall finish: 522/1372 finishers
Age group: 18/81
Donut adjusted time: 1:30:46 **I'm just noticing that I got screwed out of 5 minutes for my 9th donut
Overall finish: 197/1372
Age group: 6/81 **my missing 5 minutes would have put me in 5th place. Oh, well...no medal for that.
New donut eating record: a guy ate FORTY donuts. These aren't little cake donuts. These are big, thick, glazed donuts. Forty donuts is insane.