D2R2 is something special. I'd often heard stories but you never know a thing until you are part of it.
I went into this past weekend after long awaiting to do the D2R2 but really had put no effort into researching what I had committed to. As the time of the ride approached the numbers started to sink in, 15,000 ft or more of climbing, 112 miles if you don't make any mistakes, 70% are dirt. I switched out the wheels on my IF to my all around amazing Easton ea90s I've been racing on all year now shod with Conti Gatorskin 25s and strapped a pump to my front fork for that randonee look. I was ready to go.
We started about 7 am for the 170k with a loose group of 15 or so people. I had resigned my self to riding with the group because I was originally very intimidated by the many page cue sheet we were given at the start. My understanding, up until about 5 min before we rolled off, was that the course was marked and I was totally unprepared to ride off the cue sheet. No problem with the big group though - we had 2 GPS's with the ride programed in and a bunch of people who had ridden the course before. Maybe half an hour into the ride we had the group's first flat, as we slowed to a stop I looked at the herd of riders on the side of the road. I've been feeling pretty solitary lately anyway and didn't want to pressure the group to go at a pace I felt challenging, so I made a quick decision to continue on solo. I had no GPS, no computer and had yet to look at the cue sheet. Over the next mile I got the paper cue sheets folded and organised in a plastic ziploc bag and stored them in my jersey pocket. I made a few turns correctly and was on my way.
It only took a few more miles before I missed my first turn. The road was unmarked and after going a mile or two out of my way without seeing the correct turn I knew I had missed it. I backtracked until I saw what I guessed must have been the turn and also a group of riders stopped questioning the same turn. I said I had 'scouted' the road ahead and this had to be it and turned in. It was confirmed 500 meters down the road where a street sign was finally placed.
The course was constantly surprising me with hills and roads that I would never think to explore had I the opportunity to come across them on my weekly rides. As I rode along I was in awe of the effort that went into stringing this course together. Equally as amazing were the fully staffed checkpoints offering up water and gatorade, bananas, fig newtons and local goodies of all kinds. Every one seemed so happy to be out there, helped I'm sure by the scenery of fields of sunflowers or covered bridges and and and...
My tally: off course three times (once for quite a long time) but I was always able to backtrack back onto the course and got it right on the second attempt every time. One flat on a scorching descent when my back wheel found a water bar hidden after a small crest in the road. Drank 9 or 10 bottles of water. Somewhere around 8 hours and 20 minutes for the course.
I'll definitely be back next year.
Meet up spot, The People's Pint in Greenfield
Dinner the night before of...
Thai noodles and carrots
This guy watched over me while I slept...
In this bed
There were also these folks
And this guy to be wary of.
The morning was wet and foggy
but seemed really fitting.
Our start group being watched over by Sandy
More of the group
Proper bagel transport method
Sunflowers on this hill
Ran into Pete Smith at the finish
Long ride complete. I am happy
Sweat and dust make mud
Off to dinner, which was awesome
Casualties : Lawney - Broken Collarbone
Shark bag - Broken straps. Nearly lost out on the roads