D2R2 is short for Deerfield Dirt Road Randonneur. It's unique in that it's neither a road nor a mountain bike ride. The organizer simply pick the "narrowest, most twisted, unpaved roads that are still officially a road".

It's not a race so all sort of folks show up to do it. And most first year rookies would finish (or not finish) were shocked at what kind of ride this is. Namely, how hard the course is, AND how hard you can push yourself and strangely, ENJOY the punishment!

Having done the shorter distance of the tour several times, but lacking the fitness to do the longer variations, I started mixing and matching different legs of the various courses to "roll my own" course". This year, there's an added twist...

The covered bridge over the Greenfield River was under renovation and not passable to anything that doesn't float!

Normal routes of the ride have riders coming in from either side of the river and converge on the west bank for lunch. But since the bridge is out, the organizer scramble to re-route some of the courses so they don't have to cross the river. So a week prior to the ride, a little known e-mail came out with subject line "please read". Yeah, right...

Fortunately for me, a buddy was also riding, albeit a different distance, and he DID read the e-mail. He alerted me that there's significant route changes! With only a week to go, I decided I'll splurge on a Garmin! Fortunately for me again, I picked a unit that my buddy also uses so learning to use it only took one ride.

Looking carefully at the re-routed portion, I was actually glad for it. It means I get to ride some roads not on previous years route! Moreover, if I connect the 115K with the 100K, I get to hit ALL of the new roads. So I loaded both courses into my Garmin and set off to do a combo course of 1/2 115K with 1/2 of 100K route. I was most looking forward to the stretches I've never been on before.

The morning segment went as expected. Actually, a little easier than the previous year route. I got to lunch relatively early. Knowing I had a shorter return leg, I took my time eating, drinking and just admiring the beautiful scenery.

That's when I noticed several riders huddled over the course map and having an animated discussion. Curious, I asked what course they were doing "100K!" was the answer. Ouho...

They should have been having lunch on the OTHER side of the river!

And there's no bridge!!!



So apparently, they missed their turn and ended up where I was by mistake. By then, they've realized their mistake, and were trying to figure out what to do. The trouble was, they were really in a bad spot there. As sternly as he could, the organizer had warned the 100K riders: "if you miss that turn, you're in for 1800' of additional climbing".

BTW, they've already done about 4000' of climbing and would have had another 3000' to go. So that's 1800' ADDITIONAL to the 7000 they originally signed up for.

I also notice those few were all first year rookies. So I suspect they were a little shell shocked at the amount of climbing they had to endure up to that point. So were rightly horrified at the thought of adding another additional 1800'!

OK, so there IS a way to get back to the 100K course, if one had planned on it. But it wasn't on the cue sheet and it involves a stretch of sketchy double track with occasional rock gardens. Some of the guys were on road bikes, while the rest were at least on cyclecross. It would be interesting to tackle that stretch. (I've asked the organizer specifically about that stretch, and he warned me I might have to walk a couple of the rock gardens even on my cyclecross tires "if you're on street tires, you will NOT be happy AT ALL").

So, I gave the guys the bad news: they can either follow me on that sketchy stretch, or add the 1800' additional climbing! Oh yes, they could also choose to wade across the river with their bike!!! Ultimately, that's what a few of them chose to do:



Some of the others decided they'd rather tackle rocky double tracks than doing a duathlon.

I wasn't 100% sure about the turn we needed to take. So was glad I have a few extra pairs of eyes helping to spot it. We found it with little trouble. And the riders were pretty happy to continue on with dry feet and very little extra climbing.

As we cruise along the river ON THE CORRECT SIDE, we came across several other spots where the wayward riders made attempt to cross, similar to the above picture.

All in all, a beautiful day and a challenging but enjoyable course. This year, there was that added challenge to stay on course, or a bit of tricky maneuver to get back to the correct course. That last bit made me chuckle.