D2R2: The Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee

This weekend I set out for Deerfield, Massachusetts with my friend Jonathan to take part in another great riding adventure: D2R2 2015. If you are not familiar with D2R2, their website has a pretty apt description:

“The Deerfield Dirt-Road Randonnee was conceived in the 1990’s as just a favorite dirt-road loop in the hilltowns of Franklin County, Massachusetts.  Since its birth as an organized event in 2005, many have hailed D2R2 as the hardest, most beautiful, most fun, most traffic-free, most unique, and overall best ride that they have ever done.” – Franklin Land Trust D2R2.

D2R2 is definitely all of those things, but it is also an important fundraiser for the Franklin Land Trust’s land conservation efforts in the region. Currently there are a number of route options (2015 map) including 180k, 160k, 115k, and 100k courses, as well as a 40-mile Green River Tour and a 20-mile family ride.

IMG_9008D2R2 draws a huge crowd of cycling enthusiasts, who tackle the challenging terrain of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont on a plethora of amazing, dominantly randonneuring-style bikes. This year we had our sights set on the 160 km route, albeit with one variation to the norm: somewhere along the line we got the idea that we should leave our rando bikes at home and attempt to do this on true fat tires!

The idea to roll on rubber greater than 38c was spawned by a number of factors, including a new dynamo setup on my Surly Krampus Ops that needed a solid field test, and, more importantly, the fact that Jonathan recently became the proud owner of a custom Wiseman Frameworks fatbike that was built for NAHBS this year. As you will see in the pictures below, it is a true beauty that was calling for participation this sort of a crazy adventure!
Details of the ride can be found along with the photos below, but suffice it to say that the day turned out to be some of the best and most challenging riding I have ever done in my life. In taking the fatties, we were perhaps a bit optimistic about the pace we could keep; consequently, we did end up making a modification to our route about midway through the day in the interest of time. At the end of the day we had covered 120 km and climbed over 4000 feet of vertical – a bit short of our intended goal but an effort that I was more than happy about as we crossed the finish line back in Deerfield.

D2R2 turned out to be everything I had hoped for: perfect backcountry dirt and gravel roads, epic climbs and singletrack descents, and riding through some of the most beautiful and remote country in Massachusetts and Vermont. Of course I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the great community of cyclists out here and time spent with good friends that really make these types of events meaningful. I am definitely looking forward to D2R2 next year, where I think Jonathan and I both agreed the fattest tires we will be rolling are 38c!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *