Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 D2R2, a Goldilocks day of Gravel Grinding!

Recently, I started riding with a colleague from work, Keven, who is training for the VT 50 mountain bike race.  It's something that I have always wanted to do and perhaps next year I am going to try it, on a singlespeed of course!  

Panoramic view, Mt Mondadock (NH) to the left
We opted for the 100K course being this was the first time for both of us but we threw in an extra 10 miles loop after lunch which brought our total miles to 77, which was more like 123K, a few more than the 115K ride.  I guess that means next year we need to pick a longer course.  The weather was perfect, not too hot but not too cold, just right! 

Starting out, this guy AJ asked if he could join us.  I warned him that we would be riding a strong pace and he was fine with that.  We dropped him on the first hill.  Then I dropped my chain, he caught up with us and we dropped him again on the next hill.  Came across him again at Apex Orchids.

Climbing up Cooper Lane

Paved portion of Cooper Lane

First rest stop on Patten Rd

After climbing 800 vertical feet it was good time to stop and re-energize

Then we got overtaken by this big group of riders on Rt 112 north of Colrain

I have come to understand that the person atop the Pink Bike is J.P. Weigel, a custom frame/Randoneur Bike builder from Mystic, CT.

"Like my banana?"

I was able to keep up with these guys, that is until we hit the next climb!

Franklin Hill Rd

This route took us into Vermont

It was brutal

I need to consider different gears for next year

Many sections were greenery tunnels like what you see above

At the Lunch stop!
Learned that pickles are a great electrolyte replinisher!
Also good are Fig Newtowns and Coca-cola

The lunch stop was at a covered bridge at the intersection of Green River Road and Jacksonville Stage Rd. Funny how the road names didn't change when crossing the state boundaries.  This point is where all the routes came together.

Keven and I went off to ride the Option 1 Loop which took us into the outskirts of Brattleboro, VT.  This loop had 3, one mile climbs on it and there was no one on them.  Some of the longer routes went through here but in the other direction.

At the top of the second climb there is a farm and of course it smelled like cow dung.  In fact, every where along the route, throughout the day, it smelled like cow dung!

Me and the Fredmobile, which performed beautifully!

Keven and his namesake, on the Option 1 Loop

Kind of looks like Austria

Back to the Lunch stop where I chatted up a woman who had Rock and Road tires on her Blackmountain Monstercrosser.  I should have taken a picture of the bike because it was sweet!

If you look at the profile, riding down along the Green River is nice gradual descent.

Only to have that descending euphoria killed by having to climb another 700 vertical feet

The view was worth it, though

That's Greenfield, MA

Photo Credit:  "AJ"

We ran into AJ at the top of this climb and he took a picture of me with Mt Mondadock in the background

This is the only bike Keven has at the moment but I think he might be getting a road or cross bike in the future.  While you can ride a mountain bike at D2R2, a road style frame has many more advantages.

Peaches and Pickles were served up at the last rest stop!
I chugged a bottle of Gatorade that helped me out immensely.

Back at the venue we waited in line.  BBC's Preservation Ale was being debuted and it was awesome!

They were also serving Steel Rail Pale Ale and a new brew called Stuck Mash that was OK but not my favorite (it fed the grass later).  The beer was great with dinner consisting of Pulled Pork, Mac & Cheese, and Burritos.

Next year I am definitely going to camp out!  Probably brink the canoe and do a little fishing on Friday, too.  Can't wait!  There will definitely be more Gravel Grinders in my future!  And who knows, maybe some road races, too!

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