Let's get the bad comedy and excuses out of the way first. As I said, the TdD was on Saturday, in Arcanum. When I got out of bed Friday morning, in Leo, Indiana, I didn't know if I was going or not. The reasons are somewhat complicated. Thursday afternoon, about two hours before I was due to depart for my part-time semi-unretirement job at the Home Depot up in Auburn, I was pushing the mower around the front yard, trying to simultaneously harvest the out-of-control grass and ease my conscience. As I was doing so, I mowed over a ground-wasp colony's front door, not suspecting it was there. The inhabitants came out and let me know of their displeasure by stinging me multiple times about the left eye, behind the right knee, and on the lower right ribs. It's funny how, in the space of just a few seconds, life can go from "situation normal" to "what the hell just HAPPENED?". The wasp stings were painful, but not life-threatening. However, the main way they hurt me was by inspiring an automatic, panicked, adrenaline-fueled jump and sprint across the yard, all the while trying to brush wasps away from my eye, resulting in the temporary loss of my glasses. You see, at my age, such a violent burst of speed, without any warmup, is more or less a guarantee of pulled muscles, and by the time I got to the house, my left hip and buttocks had me hobbling very slowly indeed. I got the stings calmed down a little, took some naproxen sodium (generic "Aleve"), and heroically went and worked my 6 hours at the Depot, where I got some odd looks, probably from my left eye being swollen near-shut. When I got up Friday morning, I thought I'd better climb aboard my bicycle and see if I could even ride it. I did so, and was agreeably surprised that, while walking was still difficult, cycling felt close to normal. It seemed reasonable to expect substantial further improvement by Saturday morning, so I decided to head over to Arcanum.
In past years, I've overnighted at the Methodist church downtown, where they offered a deal: sleeping bag space on the floor, plus a very good spaghetti supper, $25. This year, they apparently discontinued the deal, and no one had replied to my emails of inquiry during the past few months. Oh, well. My fallback plan was to sleep in the space available in the Arcanum Fieldhouse: no charge, no food, no air conditioning. I arrived there in late afternoon.
|Sign-in was in the gym; sleeping space in the hallway alongside.|
Having picked an unused bit of the hallway, I inflated my air mattress, deployed my sleeping bag, and had that warm, fuzzy feeling that I knew where I'd be putting my head down overnight. The remaining problem that we all had was that the building isn't air-conditioned, and the weather was hot and humid. I simply lay on top of the bag, and sweated. In the morning, I didn't roll it up and return it to its stuff bag, since I'd left it rather damp.
|One thing I didn't notice: I was across the hall from the entrance to the ladies' room. Bad planning. There was much traffic in and out through the night, and every time the door opened, the light spilled forth. I'll try to remember next time.|
|A young rider warms up for a two-block kids' race. Good fun seemed to be had by all.|
|As start time neared, I joined the flow of people into the street itself. We still had a while to wait there.|
I had vaguely planned to moderate my pace for the extended distance, but when the start came, that plan was out the window. I unthinkingly and automatically assumed "race pace" and tried to pass as many folks as possible, and be passed by as few as possible. Screw the strategy; let's GO! Of course, the Tour de Donut is a very odd sort of race. (For those who aren't familiar, the web site is here, and the basic idea is that for each documented donut that you consume at the two designated donut stops, five minutes are deducted from your time.) While you're actually riding, people treat it like a race and go as hard as they can. But, at the donut stops, everyone's pretty sociable and friendly and not in a big hurry, even though the clock's still running; the race aspect seems mostly forgotten. It is a lot of fun, though.
The first stop is at a place called Bear's Mill, about 12.5 miles in. Bear's Mill is an old water-powered grain mill, and they still grind some flour there, although it's mostly an artsy-craftsy-antique-y gift store. The donut stop is in a grassy area across the road from the mill itself. I revisited the place as I was leaving for home, after the race, and obtained my usual five-pound bag of hard red whole-wheat bread flour, and also a couple of smelly candles for my wife, who unaccountably likes that sort of thing.
This year, the other stop was at the Pitsburg Church of the Brethren. Being a member of the Agape Church of the Brethren, I thought that was kind of cool. In fact, on that not-quite-31-mile course, we ride by two Brethren churches, the other being the Painter Creek church. I mentioned this to our interim pastor, Phil Reynolds, at church the next day; he's from that area. "Yes," he said, "the Brethren are just thick as thieves around there." I got a chuckle out of that figure of speech.
|My bicycle leans against the sign at the second donut stop. I take a "professional" interest in such signs. One of my jobs at my church is keeping our road sign up to date.|
My wife graciously gave me a GPS bike computer for my birthday last month, which was how I knew that the race was shorter than the advertised 64 miles.
|I'm liking my new bike GPS quite well. Thanks, Deb!|
I think next year I'll drop back to the Full Donut. The 61.5 miles seems excessive to me, as a race distance. That's edging into endurance ride (or at least pleasure tour) sort of distance. That will be my plan for now, anyway.