The object? Consume as many donuts as you can during the "stages" to gain a time bonus. The final stage is a staggered start hill climb up the notorious Torrey Pines Hill. Each donut consumed is worth 30 seconds on the clock during the hill climb and first person to the top wins the jersey the title "Gluttonous Champion" and bragging rights for a full year. Ex: Bob eats the most (10 donuts) while Jim eats only 9. In this case, Bob starts the hill climb first and Jim starts 30 seconds after him. Get it?
There are a few caveats:
1) If you vomit at any time prior to the start of the hill climb, your donut count gets cut in half. Vomiting during the hill climb or after is encouraged.
2) Riding between "stages" is neutral, though pushing the pace and causing your opponent to vomit is totally legal.
3) You have 15 minutes at every "stage" to consume as many donuts as you can. Time starts after every competitor has arrived.
This year a KOM (King of the Mountains) was added and first person to the top would get a donut added to his or her tally. This would turn out to be crucial in the overall victory.
My strategy would be to eat as many donuts as I could at every stop without "pushing" myself and see if I could pick people off during the hill climb that had eaten a whole bunch.
Stage 1: Winchell's Donut House. Somewhere near Mira Mar...
I've never seen people eat so many donuts so fast. It was like that scene from Jurassic Park where they feed the Velociraptors. Scary. Unofficial donut count eaten here was approx 5 dozen. Last year's champion, Chris Burnham, would retain the polka dot jersey by eating 5 donuts here. I managed to get three down before I started feeling odd. Stage 2: Donut Touch in Sorrento Mesa? Again, horrific donut carnage. People still chowing down donuts like mad, but with less impetus than stage 1.
Stage 2 podium. The jersey would go to Phoon (?) who had consumed 8 donuts by this point. Kevin and Chris tied with 7. I ate 2 more for a total of 5. Stage 3: Donut Stop. I've totally lost track of distance and time by this point. The looks we got from the locals as all 40 of us rolled in was priceless. Elvis would have gotten equally strange looks...More carnage. By now I'm not feeling so great. The route had placed the "stages" very close together such that we got very little time to digest. I only managed to eat one donut, bringing my total to 6. The leaders were beyond double digits at this point and I was clearly outmatched.
Stage 3 podium. Kevin in 3rd (left), Karl in second (right) and Phoon still in the lead (center). No idea how many donuts they had eaten by this point, but it was a lot...
Stage 4. P.Q. Donuts. This would be the 4th stop in 14 miles. Total ride time to here? A whopping 45 minutes. I knew that the distance between stage 4 and 5 was a fairly decent ride, so I pushed myself here and ate 2 more donuts, upping my count to 8.
Adam Bickett from the cycling team would pull into the lead at stage 4. The leaders were somewhere in the 12 donut range. Ugh...
Stage 4 podium. Third: Chris Burnham (left), second: Karl, first: Adam. I recall there being a tie, but since Adam had consumed the most donuts during the stage, he was declared the GC leader.
The KOM was between stage 4 and 5, which Adam would win, making him the outright leader. As I mentioned earlier, this would prove to be crucial in the time trial.
Stage 5: Solana Donuts in Solana Beach. I had managed to recover a little at this point thanks to waiting for someone fixing a flat between stages 4 and 5. I managed to eat 2 more to bring my total to 10. I was considering a third, but took too long deciding and ran out of time. My indecision would cost me in the GC...
The leaders wound up in a 3-way tie at 16 (!) donuts each between Chris, Karl and Adam, though Adam ate 15, he was awarded an extra donut for his KOM victory. Kevin held second by himself with 13 donuts. In third were Adam Strobl and Phoon. I would start 4th with Trevor, Jake and Mike.
The hill climb: If you've ever ridden the hill up Torrey Pines, you know it's steep and long. Try eating a bunch of donuts and then hammering up it as fast as you can.
Trevor and Jake are experienced road racers and both managed to outfox me on the climb. I thought the hill ended sooner than it did and went too early. Mike got dropped early and I shot past Trevor and Jake near the middle. Trevor went with me and, when he made his move, I tried to go with him, but didn't have the legs. Jake rallied and passed me with about 400 meters to the line. I have no idea where I wound up overall.
Your GC winner? Adam Bickett. I told you his KOM victory would prove to be crucial!
Fortunately, no one vomited! A few of us certainly felt like it, but we all managed to keep our donuts down.
Overall, a fun event, though every burp for the rest of the day tasted like donuts; even a Stone IPA couldn't mask it.