The Tour de Donut bicycle race is known as “The Sweetest Ride in Ohio.”
By Calli Whaley
Nauseating and contradicting, yes, but the more doughnuts the better. This is the suspense and amusement of the Tour de Donut. For every doughnut eaten and kept down five minutes are deducted from the rider’s time.
But the Tour de Donut is not just about competition. Organizer Roger Bowersock, the “Head Donut,” says the event is all about fun. Cycling is thought to be healthy and doughnuts are not. That contradiction is the point of the whole event.
“You’re riding for doughnuts,” says Roger. “That giggle is what it’s all about.”
This year, the 11th annual Tour de Donut will have its biggest turnout. “We are over 100 percent where we were at this time last year” for registered riders, says Roger. In previous years registration was capped at 2,000 racers. This year the number of racers has been increased to 3,000.
The increase in the number of riders this year is because the event has moved to the city of Troy. For nine years the race was conducted in the village of Arcanum. “We outgrew that village,” says Bowersock’s wife, Christina, who claims to be the “real Head Donut.” Christina says, “We doubled the village population with racers and vendors and everyone else last year.”
Roger is excited about the growth of the race. “It’s going to be epic,” he says. His hopes are for the race to one day be a multiday event with the race, doughnuts, beer and live music.
This year the event is getting more help from the doughnut vendor. The doughnuts for 2017 are coming from Schuler’s Bakery in Springfield. Roger says, “They have the capability to do it and they have excellent doughnuts.” It takes a lot to produce thousands of dozens of doughnuts. However, Schuler’s is going beyond that. It will handle, deliver and even distribute the doughnuts. This, according to Christina, means for the doughnuts, “They’re going to be super fresh.”
This year the race includes a touch of Troy. Every summer the city of Troy hosts the Strawberry Festival, which attracts people from all over the region. At the last stop of the Tour de Donut the “Glazer Stop” will feature the festival’s signature strawberry doughnut.
Racers of every sort come for the Tour de Donut—experienced cyclists, amateurs, runners, newbies and doughnut lovers. Race lengths accommodate each type of person—the mini is 16 miles, full is 32 miles and the “Double D Challenge” is 64 miles—with plenty of doughnuts for each length.
Roger says that people hear about the event, like the idea and thus they race. He’s even received testimonials from people who say the Tour de Donut helped spark a healthier lifestyle for them.
Events start Friday, Sept. 15, with musical performances by Cory Breth at 5:45 p.m. and The Floorwalkers at 7 p.m. For the race on Saturday, Sept. 16, packet pickup starts at 5:30 a.m. and ends at 8. The kids event starts at 8 a.m. and the official race starts at 11 N. Market St. at 8:30 a.m. Parking for the event is at Troy Junior High and High School.
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