ARCANUM – With 2,000 riders, 960 dozen doughnuts and a new course, the ninth annual Tour de Donut was the largest in event history and a huge success.
Bicyclists from across the nation – some serious riders and others just enjoying the unique race – competed in Saturday’s Tour de Donut, which began in downtown Arcanum and had stops at Gordon United Methodist Church, Lewisburg Community Park and Kennedy Winery. During the stops riders ate doughnuts – 960 dozen of them – to earn time deductions from their bike riding times.
“Everybody had a good time,” Head Donut Roger Bowersock said. “Nobody got severely injured or anything. That’s all I care about, I guess.”
One rider was taken by CareFlight to Dayton Children’s Hospital after crashing her bike. The initial fear was that she broke her leg or a hip, but she only had a severe bruise. She went home Saturday afternoon and attended school on Monday.
“She was home from the hospital before we got home from the ride,” Bowersock said.
Safety was an emphasis for this year’s Tour de Donut and a new course was used to increase the safety of riders.
“Great,” Bowersock said of the new course. “Very well received. Very popular. It’s a little hillier down south there, but it’s really pretty country.”
The new course eliminated that traditional stop at Bear’s Mill, which was disappointing for many people, Bowersock said. However, by going south this year’s race – with 16-mile, 32-mile and 64-mile routes – avoided crossing Ohio 49 and made it much safer.
“We were fortunate to never have an accident going (to Bear’s Mill). It was gonna happen sooner or later,” Bowersock said. “It’s better to eliminate that as a possibility.”
Along with the new course and a record number of doughnuts and riders, there were several other milestones achieved in the 2015 Tour do Donut.
Kyle Hanner from Wood River, Illinois, became the first individual in the nine-year history of the Tour de Donut to finish the 16-mile Mini Donut with a negative time. He finished the race in 1:09:41.9 and ate 18 doughnuts for a 90-minute time deduction to give him an adjusted time of -20:18.1.
Yasir Salem, who is ranked No. 10 in the world by Major League Eating, defended his championship in the 64-mile Double D. He finished in 4:16:51.7 and ate 44 doughnuts – four fewer than the record he set last year – for a time deduction of 3:40:00.0 and an adjusted time of 36:51.7.
“He was able to get us some nice press nationally throughout the year by talking about the ride,” Bowersock said of the New York City-based competitive eater. “He still ate 44 doughnuts, which is pretty crazy.”
While no one else came close to matching Salem’s doughnut consumption, many joined the ranks of the Dozen Club by eating 12 or more doughnuts, which were supplied by Sutton’s Foods in Arcanum.
Twenty-four men ate a dozen or more doughnuts during the Double D including Matt Bond from Bellbrook, who ate 22. Diane LeMay from Hebron ate 15 doughnuts during the Double D to lead the women, four of whom ate 12 or more doughnuts during the 64-mile race. One tandem pair, Gary and Michelle Cohee from Greenville, ate a dozen doughnuts during the Double D.
Cecelia Orr from Villa Hills, Kentucky, was the lone girl in the 18 and younger division to eat 12 doughnuts during the 32-mile course. Six women accomplished the feat, led by Jolene DeFrank from Flat Rock, Michigan, consuming 15.
Four boys in the 18 and younger division ate 12 or more doughnuts during the full 32-mile race, including Zachary Pearson of Stow, who ate 14. Sixty-nine men ate a dozen or more during the 32-mile course with Chris Marks of Brookville leading the way with 22 consumed.
Eight men ate a dozen or more doughnuts during the 16-mile Mini Donut, led by Hanner’s 18.
Even tandem pairs ate a dozen or more doughnuts during the 32-mile ride. Three tandem pairs ate a dozen or more during the 16-mile race.
With the 2015 Tour de Donut complete, Bowersock and Rocketship Sports Management now are turning their attention to the second annual Grand Lake Marathon on Sept. 26 along Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer and Auglaize counties.
“We’re trying to scramble to get all that stuff put together for that event,” Bowersock said.
After the marathon, organizers will be able to begin preparations for the 10th annual Tour de Donut in 2016. Registration for the race will open on Jan. 1 on http://thetourdedonut.com/.
Rocketship Sports Management will look at possibly expanding the Tour de Donut after turning away about 200 people in the week leading up to this year’s event.
“Who knows how many people were behind the scenes wanting to register and didn’t,” Bowersock said.
The challenge for Bowersock and his team lies in balancing the number of riders with the resources available.
“We want the ride to continue to grow,” he said. “It’s grown every year.”
For complete results from the Tour de Donut, visit its website at http://thetourdedonut.com/.