Monday, September 7, 2009

The end of an era

Donut Derby 2009- the recap

While I felt good and confident about this years Donut Derby, there was something inside of me that had its doubt. Maybe it was all of the training I've been doing for the Ironman next year. I've also been watching what I eat for a while, so maybe those doubts were simply a gut feeling that I really shouldn't be eating 25+ donuts in the middle of training for the craziest day of my life. This is not an excuse for the story I'm about to tell.

This years team consisted of Me (donut eater, and 2x defending champ), Johnny (my top tactical guy), and Jack (hired gun, there to set the pace, no matter how crazy things got.) We arrived at the Velodrome with plenty of time to spare for warming up, etc. When we went over to the tent to check in, I was pleasantly surprised that the race organizers held aside the #1 for me (as last years winner). I figured at the least, this would be a very good souvenir for my basement wall, and I promptly pinned it on and wore it with pride during my warmups.

I knew this year was going to be different. I wasn't about to sneak up on anyone. These people knew who I was, and they were out to take me down. I can't blame them, I would have tried to do the same thing. The SPARE TIRE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT is nothing to sneeze at, and I found out how bad some of these guys wanted it.

At the starting line, I lined up next to a guy named Frank, who I remembered from last year. His time total was comparable to mine, except for the fact that he ate 10 fewer donuts. I knew that he would be stiff competition, and he pretty much told me he had the legs to beat me. When the gun sounded, the (unnecessarily arrogant) guys from Monmouth University Cycling set the pace, and set it fast. The first group was going 30+ easy on the flats, and eventually I was dropped. Jack stayed up with those guys until the first stop. I ended up left out on my own, since John was dropped by my group. I was riding with a few people around me, and this one guy, Jim, told me to grab his wheel. He ended up pulling me to the first rest stop, and I made sure to keep him close by so I could introduce him to the other guys from my team.

At the first stop, the plan was for 8-10 donuts, and I met that goal. Try not to fill up...I've learned that first rest stop lesson in the past. Fill up too early, and you're busted by the end of the race..sweating out the sugar, stomach issues, etc. SO, stick to the plan from last year. I smashed down two stacks of (5) donuts, for 10 total, and was back out on the course.

Johnny (who caught up while I was eating), Jack, Jim, and I started on the second leg. In a completely unfortunate act of God, Jim blew out the sidewall of his tire about a mile in, and his race was over for the day. Too bad, because he was a nice guy, and it would have been better to have numbers. Johnny quickly fell of the back, due to his lack of riding since the ACS ride in July. (I forgive him, he's been working a lot and has a baby). So that left Jack and I. Jack was a monster, pulling me into a crazy headwind for most of the second leg, and got me back in perfect position to go for win number 3.

When I checked in, I had my first stack of 4 in my hand when Frank came by. I must have beaten him to the second checkpoint, but he at 12 at the first stop, and quickly grabbed a 4 stacker. I pretty much remained 2 donuts behind him for a bit, but he was looking strong. No sign of slowing down. I had to make a run. He had 24, and I had 18. I grabbed 7 donuts and stacked em high, smushed em down, and started on them. I was really struggling at this point, and barely making progress. Frank finished his 4, and went for 2 more...which made 26 for him. Since I was struggling, and facing the thought of LOSING the Donut Derby title for the first time in 3 years, I decided to concede. I went to the race officials and told them I wasn't going to finish the 7 stack...and then I threw the donuts and the sticks in the trash. I ended up with 19 donuts, and figured I'd head out and try to make a run at a top 3 finish.

Jack pulled me the rest of the way home, and I finished up feeling ok. Frank ended up winning the overall title for Donuts AND time, even breaking my record from last year on the time total. His winning adjusted time was 52: something, which was better than the 54: something I put up last year. My 28 donut record is still intact though.

I wasn't sure what to expect when they were announcing the winners. He called me up for the 30-39 category, and I got a 3rd place medal. They even asked me to stick around so I could present Frank with his championship belt, which I thought was an honor. The bottom line is that Frank beat me today. We had this sort of one on one thing going at the second donut stop, and I came up on the wrong side. I just didn't have it, for some reason. Maybe its for the better, who knows.

Anyway, on a positive note, NPR was there doing a story that will air next weekend on a show called ONLY A GAME(?) I think. The reporter interviewed me for several minutes, asking about strategy, etc..and I gave him the type of answers you guys would expect of me.

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