2,160 calories

Today was the third time I've ridden in Staunton, Illinois's Tour de Donut bike race.  Kind of a spoof on the Tour de France, the race is about 32 miles, with 2 donut stops.  What doesn't go together like donuts and bicycling?  I know, I know...but the hook is that, for each donut you eat, 5 minutes is deducted from your finishing time. 

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.
Most of my tri club friends were lined up near the start, but I'm still not too comfortable with these mass starts and hung back closer to the middle.

The view behind me
Ready to ride!
Taking off wasn't as scary as it's been in past years, and it's maybe time for me to cowboy up and start closer to the front.  I felt like I got a pretty good pace going early though...usually it takes til I'm out of town.  The sponsoring club does a great job with the race.  Even with all the participants, check-in was very well organized, and there were tons of volunteers stopping traffic at intersections and cheering on riders.
Photo credit: Ron Jennings
If you look carefully, you can see me kind of in the middle in the yellow jersey
The first ten miles went great.  I kept up a pretty good pace and was passing people pretty regularly.  I hadn't eaten any breakfast, knowing that I'd be eating a lot of donuts, but I felt really strong.  The first donut stop was there before I knew it.  I grabbed 6 donuts, had a volunteer mark them on my bib, smooshed them flat (total fail: I had brought baby wipes to get the donut glaze off my hands, but I squished the donuts with my bike gloves on...NOT easy to get them clean), and started munching.  I have to say, I really enjoyed the first couple...but after that it wasn't so easy to get them down.  A photographer had his camera pointed right at me snapping away, and it's not so easy to try and look semi-attractive while wolfing down multiple donuts.  I'm truly afraid to see what those pictures look like. 

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?
The second donut stop was ugly.  I really didn't want to eat any more donuts, but I had to stick with the plan, so I took five donuts.  I remembered to take off my gloves before smashing them.  I started eating.  Ugh.  Ugh.  It was awful.  I can't do this.  Yes you can...eat the donuts!!  I can't do this. I'm going to be sick.  About 100 feet from me, two guys were throwing up.  I wasn't grossed out; I was jealous.  I resorted to pulling the flattened donuts apart and eating little bites at a time.  Eventually, I gave up.  I just couldn't do it.  I went over to one of the volunteers and asked him to cross off two of my donuts, then I choked down the others, washed my hands, and got back on my bike.

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
On the other hand, if I hadn't eaten donuts and came in at the same pace as the friend I referenced above, I'd have taken third in my age group for unadjusted time.  Oh, the irony.  The donuts I trusted to help me win actually doomed me.  Don't think that isn't going to sting for a while...especially every time I weigh myself for the next two weeks.  I think my donut-eating days are behind me. 


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.


  1. I will send you the "after" picture I took so you can add it to your report.

  2. Ha ha! You are hilarious. I would have puked! But it sounds like you had a great time.

  3. That is one crazy race! :) I can't believe you ate 9 donuts! I have a feeling you'll do great racing in the non-adjusted category. You've gotten so strong you don't need donuts to help you anymore! :)

  4. This is hilarious! I can't believe how many times you had to type "donut" in this story. I can't believe someone ate 40! I can't believe you at that many donuts and still didn't place.

    Good Effort, Girl!!

  5. Hey, great job out there and awesome race report! It was a fun race.

  6. I can't imagine eating 9 donuts let alone 40!! ughhhh...just the thought makes me think of a couple weekends ago when I ate two and thought I was gonna puke!!

    BUT you did finish and the counts for a lot. Congratulations and keep up the great work!

  7. My stomach hurts just from reading this!! I can't fathom eating 40 donuts.

  8. Hilarious, I am sorry for the wasted donuts, but this whole post just cracked me up!

  9. Great job! I know what you mean about the second stop being worse...did you notice that the doughnuts were a lot heavier this year and would not compress as well? Someone told me they were Walmart doughnuts, so a different supplier.

  10. Wow--that is such a crazy event! I am impressed that you did it and did well at it also. Next year again?

  11. 40 is insane?! I would think 10 gets that description. 40? Not sure what to call that?

    Sounds like a blast though. Crazy fun.

  12. These types of races have become very popular here in Salt Lake City. Why, just last Sunday there was one that involved eating hot dogs! Hot dogs of all things! Can you imagine burping that up on your ride for an hour or two. Nasty.

    Nice job???

  13. I LOVE doughnuts especially glazed and I think I could do pretty well at the eating part. Man would I like to try it. But 40? I don't think so. Too bad what you ate didn't get you the age group win. Sounds like a fun race regardless.

  14. I almost barfed just reading about your 9 donuts - and I LIKE donuts (though I don't eat them often, dangit!). Seriously, my stomach was revolting...all that grease and then ride?

    I'm so sorry you didn't get a placement by consuming 9, how unfair. And if 40 means winning, I think you're better off riding and eating none next year! Enjoy that race a little more without your stomach revolting - ha.

    I was working with a guy last summer who wanted to do this donut running race. Um, I had to put my foot down to that one ... he's a big Krispy Kreme-r and I knew he'd eat a couple dozen. Haha. But that race and this one you just did are the only donut races I've heard of. I bet there's more....

    Hope your stomach has calmed down by now. Kudos to you for trying, bless you!! :)

  15. What a funny kind race! I like Donuts ... but no more than one!
    Even if you "lost" the podium you made a very good job.
    Great pictures!

  16. 40 donuts? Wow, 200 minutes off is quite the edge!

    Seems like a race that sounds more fun than it actually is.

  17. Wow...I might probably bike for donuts. Maybe not 9, but I'd certainly think about it.

  18. Forgot to mention, I LOVE the pics. Your expression of sheer misery is the poster child for the Tour de Donut. How is your stomach today?

  19. Call me crazy but 9 donuts sounds kinda good to me about now. What a hilarious race! Sounds like some serious strategizing is required.

  20. Now this is something else! We have some beer races and even a pork chop race here but not a donut race as far as I know. We certainly don't have a race where time is adjusted for eating.:) You are brave and crazy at the same time. Well done!

  21. Great job, Kate... Regardless of not placing. I felt your pain at the second donut stop. I grabbed four, only ate two, and it took me 13 minutes. So I actually LOST time. Boo! It was great to see you at the race, though. Hope to see you soon!

  22. This is crazy talk!! 40 donuts....ugggh, I feel sick just thinking about what that would do to my tummy. bleck. Good job girl. You look great doing it too!! :)


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