|From left to right: Me, Zac, Mike, Scott, Mark, & Will
We had two new riders join the team, Zac and Mark, as we lined up to start. Since there was no 115K route offered this year, I am glad because last year it nearly killed me, we all signed up for the 105K which according to the good folks at Franklin Land Trust promised it to be a new challenging route which has over 7,000 feet of climbing. One other team member, the other Will, already headed out on the 160K by himself.
It was a little chilly when he departed and the overcast wasn't helping, either.
Mike and Zac on Reed's Bridge
RWGPS denoted 10 climbs on the route, my Garmin said there were 14 and Mike's Wahoo said there were 18.
The first significant climb was Newhall and Shellburne Falls Rd. It was paved but even so still tough and an eye opener for what was yet to come.
Leaving Shellburn Falls Road we started climbing again,
Didn't see any swine, though.
Having been off the bike for nearly three weeks I was just happy that I was riding (and climbing) again. Once at the top of the climb there was a turn and then I realized I was on East Road and I started bombing down hill. This is one of my favorite descents but I took it easy today and didn't do my usual drop like a rock ride. It was good that I was taking it easy because at one corner in the road there was a washboard and I saw someone's iPhone in the middle of the road. I was able to stop quickly and pick it up.
I caught up to Mike at the Monastery and we continued zooming down into Charlemont.
Crossing the Deerfield River I felt a little grab of my hamstrings and thought, uh oh, this might not be good.
I started cramping and hopped off the bike only to have my other leg seize up as well. I let it relax and tried to walk it off but then both quads seized up again. Scott was my savior, he gave me salt pills, and some high sodium content gel blocks. After taking a pill, eating a few blocks and emptying one water bottle I was able to start again.
Even with the stop I was able to keep sight of Scott and Mike
Looking over my shoulder I got the Riccola shot of Berkshire East.
I cramped one more time and had to stop and walk it off and then I got to the lunch stop. The first thing I did was yell out to the crowd in my best command voice to see if anyone lost a phone. Sure enough, the owner identified himself and the phone was repatriated.
At lunch I drank a coke, three shots of pickle juice, ate a banana, a really tasty wrap, and a bag of potato chips and then I was ready to roll. I had also caught up to the team and we were off once again.
Having ridden through this area for the last 11 years there was very little that I haven't ridden through but this causeway on Taylor Brook Road was a new one. In fact, after lunch, it was primarily all downhill to one of the most famous climbs at D2R2, Patten Hill.
Turning onto Patten Hill Road I was a little anxious because last year I cramped 3/4s of the way on the climb and after cramping earlier I was really nervous about having a repeat performance.
Will took off and I already lost sight of Mike and Todd but I liken this climb to Mt Riga Road back in Connecticut, which is not as steep but much more longer and more vert. If I can ride that I can ride this.
it had warmed up considerably
but climbing through here was much better than being in the sun.
Five minutes later Mike arrived and then came Scott. The third and final rest stop was close by and it was a welcomed refueling stop because there was still 12 miles to go. We also caught up to Zac here and then we all took off together. However, the (new) Mark was long gone.
The last 12 miles was mostly down hill with some bumps along the way but the descents were super fast and I am sure everyone was eager to back to the start.
Somewhere along the way I lost sight of Zac, Will, Mike and Todd. I caught up to Mike two miles out from the end.
As Mike and I pulled in I saw Will leaving. At the rest stop he learned that he had to be back home sooner than he anticipated and that was the last I saw of him.
Scott, Mike and I had our celebratory beer. Then the guy whose phone I found gave me another beer ticket and some other guys that didn't want to drink before driving home gave us more tickets which made for a really happy ending.
I ran into a lot of people that I have met through this event and through social media in relation to riding.
I look forward to seeing what surprises await us for next year's D2R2.