So this was my 2nd year riding the D2R2 with Mark, but this year we opted for the 180km versus the 160km we did last year. One thing that is great about the D2R2 is that the 180km route isn't just the same as the 160km with an extra 20km tacked on at the end -- it is almost a totally different route. While there is overlap on these two routes, mostly you're riding those overlapping sections in a different direction.
We arrived at the start around 5:45 am (pre-sunrise) and the farms in Deerfield look incredible in the dawn twilight with the fog still covering the fields.
I'm not sure which route I liked better. Part of the attraction of the 160km route it that it has a fewer riders (and its own lunch stop which isn't shared with the various shorter routes).
|Hitting first dirt on Hoosac Road|
The lunch stop at the Green River bridge in Guilford, VT was really crowded this year compared to lunch last year. But the setting is beautiful and there was even a guy wading into the river in his bib shorts to cool off.
At lunch, you also have the opportunity to check out the 100s of different bikes being ridden. As I normally ride a Cannondale, I enjoy checking out all the obscure frames and/or custom bikes that you see.
|Climbing Bug Hill Road|
What the 180 km had in abundance was a lot of serious climbs (and fast descents). I like to print out the elevation profile for these long rides and clip it to my handlebars (instead of a cue sheet). I think there are Garmin devices that could give me the same information about the duration and steepness ofthe climbs (in real time no less) -- but I find having the paper version prepares me mentally for what is ahead. Here is what the 180 km profile looks like:
I thought that Archambo Road (approx. mile 45) was the hardest climb -- partly because there were lots of cyclists walking the incredibly steep bottom portion that you had to navigate through. Lots of riders think Patten Road (approx. mile 97) is harder -- but (for me) just knowing that it is the last climb of the day and that there is a food stop at the top takes the edge off it. NB: The watermelon at that last food stop is incredible!
I'm already looking forward to D2R2 next year!
-- William Mansfield, NYC, NY
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