If you missed my updates on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, then you wouldn’t know I took part in the 2011 Tour De Donut (“the sweetest ride in Ohio”).
I’d been really looking forward to my first ever race. Really, I don’t recall ever being in any kind of race. The only sport I’ve ever played competitively aside from soccer as a kid and also softball is tennis. And my last competitive match was well over a decade ago.
The donut race was hardly a competition. It was a 30-mile race with two stops, where you could catch your breath and refuel on donuts. For each donut eaten, 5 minutes was deducted from the actual time. It was completely light-hearted and very fun. Of the wide variety of about 1,000 participants, none took it seriously.
There were cyclists who looked like they could vie for the Tour de France. And there were others who seemed to be in it just for the donuts. There were groups of friends who cycle only casually and some who probably ride the regional circuit. There were many tandems, including parent-child ones that inspired me to want to ride with my kids. There were seniors well into their 60s, men and women who appeared to be defying the effects of age. Most of them passed me up.
Not wanting to be that guy
Funny how adrenaline can get you going. Usually, I ride at a comfortable 12-13 mph. The first leg of the race, however, I was easily at 15-16 mph. The road was no more flat than my usual routes, though there wasn’t a hint of a breeze. I guess I just didn’t want to be that guy keeping up the rear. And I wasn’t. I finished at 2:55:05 (including stops), nearly 50 minutes ahead of the last guy, though a full 100 minutes behind the winner.
My actual riding time was 2:15:00, so I guess I took more time at the stops than I’d realized. I don’t usually rest as long; but then, I don’t usually eat donuts on my rides. Though, I only ate a rather disappointing two. While they were tasty, they were large and quite heavy. I normally pace myself with a single Clif bar, which is packed with healthy protein and carbs, so I didn’t want to be the one throwing up on the side of the road. The most donuts eaten was 16, which was not nearly as impressive as his riding time of 1:55:52, resulting in an adjusted and winning time of 0:35:52. Insane!
I’d like to do this race again and some others in the riding season next year, though I’d love some friends to join me. I sort of trained for it, and I think most anyone can. I took about a month slowly increasing my miles from about 8 to 30. I love it. I absolutely love being outside on the bike. I loved it when it was 65 on Saturday and when it’s been 95.
The Bigger Picture
Prior to my leaving for the race, Cindy prayed with me. She said something in her prayer that struck me and nearly brought me to tears. (I wonder if Lance Armstrong ever cried on race days.) She mentioned that this race was a culmination of sorts, a sprouting of the seeds planted years ago, seeds of the desire to get healthy and fit so that I can enjoy her and our children and grandchildren well into old age. She was right. Though there are others who can ride hundreds of miles up and down steep hills, 30 flat miles is nothing to scoff at.
I don’t plan to get too serious. Maybe 40 miles will be my goal next summer. Until then, 15-20 miles a couple times a week mixed in with some tennis will keep me healthy. I don’t know how many days have been numbered for me, but I want to live them in a way that honors God. Partly, that involves fitness and occasionally enjoying a 5-pound donut.