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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tour de Donut: DNF


Those are the most disappointing letters for a cyclist, whether it be in the Tour de France or, in my case, the Tour de Donut.

Because of a defective tire on my sister's tandem bike that we were unable to repair, my nephew, Julius Parod, and I had to abandon this year's 20th annual Tour de Donut in Staunton, Ill. We ate 12 donuts between us -- a half-dozen each at the Prairietown donut stop -- before the tire disaster struck.

Just before we were set to turn off Prairietown Road onto Possom Hill Road, we noticed the rear tire was starting to go flat. I tried to put a new tube into tire, but I found a way to break the stem as I was inflating the tire. Fortunately for us, the support vehicle from The Cyclery bicycle shop in Edwardsville pulled up.

While the mechanical installed the near rear tube, I tried to inflate the front tire, which also seemed a bit low. In a matter of seconds after I removed the pump, the front tube blew ... another job for the mechanic!

Julius and I were now at the back of the race, but as we took off, we noticed a sickening thump in the front tire. I was able to deflate the tube before we lost another tube, but we knew our day was done. The sidewall of the tire had given out. With great disappointment, we accepted a ride back to Staunton.

Our goal was to eat at least 24 donuts today, but as things turned out, that wouldn't have been enough to win. John Casper and Kyle Jones, both of Springfield, Ill., won the tandem division by eating 31 donuts between them. With the 5-minute time bonus given for each donut eaten, they had a adjusted time of negative-23 minutes!

Steven Meinke successfully defended his Tour de Donut title in the men's under-40 division by eating 33 donuts, six more than last year! I didn't catch who won the women's divisions or the other men's divisions.

Steven was the man who appeared in the documentary about the ride, "Tour de Donut: Gluttons for Punishment," and said the classic line "this is disgusting ... disgustingly beautiful" while jamming three donuts together and swallowing them.

Because of the huge number of registrants -- more than 950 people signed up for this year's Tour de Donut and more than 920 people actually started the race -- the Boeing Employee's Bicycle Club decided to create under-40, 40-49 and 50-and-older divisions for men and women. The number of registrants set an event record, more than 200 people above the previous record.

Other than the tire disaster, it was a glorious day for the Tour de Donut! As a founding father of the ride -- along with Mark Pace, Joe Booth and Ed Taylor -- I'm still amazed that the ride is still around and still growing!

By the way, the Boeing club hopes to have the full results posted on the ride's Web site sometime next week.


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Roger 1 comments links to this post 3:07 PM


Saw you there, but I was stuck in a registration line so I didn't get to say hi. Sorry to hear about your DNF!!!

I hope I land in the top 10 of the Women Under 40 category. My computer said 1h 39m when I was done. Ate zero donuts!

Better luck next year.

PS a note to pass along to organizers -- for the 25th anniversary of the TdD, they ought to offer silver 25th anniversary jerseys for pre-order with one's online registration.
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