Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tour de Donut Recap

Today was the 23rd annual TDD in Staunton, IL. This fun and scenic race started out as kind of a riff on the Tour de France and has now grown to a 2000+ participant experience. The idea is to race 32 miles, stopping at two donut stations along the way and cramming your face full of the sweet stuff. For every one you eat, 5:00 minutes are deducted from your overall race time. This year we were really convinced we'd finish with the lead pack, and maybe we would have ... but due to some last minute bike adjustments we got to the start line way late and weren't able to ever catch them, even right off the mark. We did end up in the second big peloton though and were holding a pace between 23 - 27 mph most of the race, which is still cookin'. The lead pack was probably holding a 25 - 29 mph pace and if you're not with them at the start, you won't catch them.

Anyway, everything was going great for the first 25 miles, our group was a little sloppy in that nobody was really holding their line. Lots of cyclists meandering around in what was an effective but disorganized pack. Everyone was definitely focused on traveling fast though and that was our concern as well. Moving along and skipping donut stops our goal was to finish the 32 miles somewhere around the 1:20 mark (no-donut-eating, unadjusted time). Well, luckily it happened for my riding partner, Ryan. He finished 33rd out of 2000 (+?) riders today with a time of 1:24 and some change. I, however didn't fare as well...

At mile 25, after zooming down a large hill we bottomed out on a flat before another large climb. At this point things went crazy fast. Ryan was about three riders ahead of myself in the peloton so he never even knew what happened until i was trucked in to the finish line. This is all i remember: The man in front of me, who i was half a wheel's length behind looked to have had a major malfunction. I saw little bits of plastic and metal shoot out to the right from his front tire. Next thing i know, he's down in the fetal position sliding on the pavement in front of me and i have nowhere to go. The last thing i saw was my front tire hit him in the middle of the back at about 30 mph. BAM! I front flipped and landed on my helmet and left shoulder, doing an awesome version of a breakdancing head slide on the black top. I'm not sure how long i slid, probably not that far but i ended up catching friction and rolling out of it. I didn't get to lay on the ground and throw a pity party (was that link serious?) though for fear of being run over by the rest of the pack. I think i sort of hopped up and moved to the shoulder of the bridge we were on and just tried to get my bearings. The bike was too jacked to continue riding and that's a real bummer because i just dropped some coin on getting it overhauled so it was riding like a dream. Back to the shop i guess.

I ended up with road rash all up and down the left side of my body, i can't fully rotate my left arm yet ... hoping that's okay. My sunglasses lost a lens, never found that ... completely shredded a glove (pics are coming below ... they're not too gross i think) and will have to buy a new pair of those. That's fine because my naughty-dog had chewed them up before anyway. My sweet Twin Six jersey has an awesome hole in it from my roadway breakdancing move. The coolest destruction though, or lack thereof was on my helmet. I'm really convinced that it saved my from some very major injuries at the least today. It was chewed up and huge chunks of it (which would've been my scalp) were carved out from the pavement. I'm very glad i had it on. A nice local who's son was also racing that day threw the wreckage in the back of his truck and gave me a lift to the town the last 7 miles or so. I love Staunton because everyone comes out for this and the town is all about it while the races are happening.

Finally, i always advocate for wearing helmets, and encourage my friends to wear them too. I even bought one stubborn holdout friend of mine a helmet about a year ago. To each their own, there's no law in Missouri that says you have to wear a helmet. I get it, they can be hot and uncomfortable and sometimes i wish i wasn't wearing it, but i never take it off. These wrecks, i can attest to today can happen in the blink of an eye and smashing the road at any speed over 15 mph can be brutal. If you ride and don't wear one already ... consider doing it not for your own health but for your friends and family who will have to listen to you whine and complain about how bad your head hurts after you finally go down on it. Cycling can be a dangerous sport with things that happen outside of your own control, one head slam on the ground can alter your life in major ways. Okay, sorry, stepping down from soap-box ... and now ... some pictures (i apologize for the major farmer's tan, i call it a cyclist's tan so it sounds cooler ... it's not though) ~