The 12th D2R2 of all revealed a new ride or adventure?? What so ever Py will find out -- having completed 9 consecutive D2R2 180k rides so far it seams just perfect to have a change and new challenge instead of near blindly following memories of the past.
Py been quite busy lately and on a few trips for work and cycling recently not really thinking in time about making a room reservation at the Red Roof Inn, also this year not having any one to share the room plus trying some thing new it just felt perfectly right to go for a camp site very conveniently right at the start next to that beloved River and Swimming hole. No reservation needed :)
Packing up a few more items including that old but still in good shape tent and a nice big cushion Thursday night. Putting on those custom CX wheels on that in the mean while 10 years old custom D2R2 modified MTB -- still proofing to be perfect. While all kind of new bikes designed for gravel and a like popping up besides the classic CX race bike or Randoneer Machines -- it still stands out with a flat handle bar, featuring a lightweight suspension fork and for sure hydraulic disc breaks which more and more getting standard in CX bikes these days. But it's getting old as well, few minor hiccups with the front derailleur just refusing to shift to the 3rd tiny ring at times, checked the limit screw, OK, cable -- loose at this position. It always needs a little manual push... little annoying, needs a quick stop. Some thing wrong with the spring action!??!
However getting on the 11am ferry on Friday, easy drive up to Deerfield. Signing in on site, pitching up the tent and moving in the new "D2R2 Hotel". Little test ride, finding a few new riding buddies and tent neighbors for the evening.
Dave from Georgia and two other ambitious pals sporting "kill your couch" on their kits... but all were in for the classic 180k.
Home cooked left over pasta dinner at tent site and a local grass fed beef burger and beer later at the D2R2 tent.
Checking on the river: Little low, very warm. But nice evening bath.
Meeting Dug the Artist and getting the D2R2 poster -- http://www.dugartwork.com/item/D2R2-Poster-84 .
Py's know Dug from a series of Tour of the Battenkill artwork.
Good to see him again!
Dinner at the tent...
Good night. Surprisingly late official 7:30am start for the Mystery -- part of the Mystery of due to rest stop organisations and timing?
... making it cozy comfy in the little new home ... a notch of new experience of our modern world - -plenty of light thanks to now over 12 year old still functional LED and LiPoly bike light technology featuring the "Stonebite" Triplefire ... and fast internet on near super computer powered smart phone with a 4G link into the world eventually providing even private WiFi to a notebook if needed ... it's that long this all did not existed since Py last put up his tent.
The Morning of the Mystery Ride to be revealed awakens Py. Breakfast at the tent, Py must have his own Muesli :) Complimenting at the D2R2 tent with some scrambled egg and Coffee. Then getting the mystery Q Sheet and (useless) map. Hanging out with other Mystery Riders at the start... A few known rider of past 180k's. Not sure where the "signed up" 190 rider all were hiding or starting early? Studying the map (just an overview) and trying to remember the first few turns, not really having a good Cue holder, so stuffing the paperwork in his pack.
Stage 1: Deerfield to Ed Clark (31 miles)
However 7:30am passed and nothing really happened, waiting for Sandy to say a few words of encouragements? Could not really understand from too far, then slowly a few rider and small groups rolled out for the mystery to come. Taking it easy at the start, no point to rise here -- lesson learned. And no one even tried. Nice. Little odd, kind of starting out on the 180k in reverse for a little bit before deviating on "new" beautiful roads and new dirt. Kind of in a group of six. Passing up on a few head starters shortly.
So far been a nice ride and fine roads. One early water stop as we briefly hit a short section of the 180k route, kind of useless (for us), no one stopped. The first so defined MTB section approaching while entering Catamount State Forest.
Catamount Mountain Bike Option (4 miles)
The gravel road quickly narrowed and turned into a rough Jeep trail reminding initially on the only one short section a like in the 180k, but it kept going and kept getting more interesting. Ridable a for a good part until hitting kind of a swamp with, well -- no advanced CX race would ever present such a mud puddle or section with broken wood planks, old pipe remainings and other unknown in the mud. One rider attempted it part through part stuck with muddy wet shoes and legs... The Fatty bike rider kind of made it though and had some fun. Py and other opted for some bush waking around the puddle -- still some miles to go, no need for a totally messed up bike drive train... Then some more mystery path finding. They spotted a few remains of caution tape hanging in a branch here and there -- not sure if that was random or meant to be part of the mystery as a guidance. Then after part remains of a few hundred yards of Jeep trail turned into a swamp again Py spotted a trail in the woods on the right seeming to led around it, or eventually bering off some where up a hilarious steep climb -- eventually ridable here and there, but no one could sustain power nor traction all the long way up. So some hike a bike for a while. That's not really the way to make up miles... riders eventually finding the way. Part way up checking on maps, the provided paper sheet/map kind of useless due to way to small to see any details. But thank to technology digital maps provide some detail, at least some hints where to aim for... still not sure if we where on right on track. No GPS track at hand. But eventually we found some top of the hill and regrouped to continue. The path slowly improved and at some point we gained back confidence.
Summary: the Catamount section of about 6km total took us nearly one full hour to get through.
Then looking out for the next MTB section, but some what irritated but possible little off Cue miles/differentials due to road/MTB mix up. Expecting a turn into Stetson Brothers and we thought we were already beyond the milage for that turn (that is the stupidity of Cue sheets, hate them -- once milage is not matching exactly, it's confusing like hell unless you have a day to study the map and cue, but on the fly... -- with that lack of a good map you can actually read and identify every turn and road name) we found the turn of the classic 180k route up on Hillman Rd and decking not to go forth seeking for it. [Now Py knows and found it would have been just 2km further up on Adamsville].
So what, climbing one known old and merging back on route on top -- pretty much the same, just can't tell about the road conditions on Stetson. Continuing on decent dirt roads finally. And the lunch about in reach.
Stage 2: Ed Clark to Lunch Stop at Ed Sadadda Rd [did any one the Speed Demon addition???]
Brief lunch and bike checkup as Py had a little low pressure in his rear tire, good for the rough, but less efficient and pinch fat risky -- topping off to 45psi. And checking on the front derailleur LI limit screw, some what not willing to drop the chain on the very little ring without a manual push on the chain. Seams OK, but some what the spring action is little too weak and the lower range at it's limit even the cable is loose -- no fix, oh well.
Stage 3: Sadadda Rd to Steady Lane Farm (31miles)
Heading on with Eric for a while who some what got the "road" version on his computer from the [you guys should not have done this] form a midnight [Py sleeping] Email. And no time in the morning to fiddle with network via phone in the tent... OK so we seeking for the next MTB section after a little "overshooting" on Rte 2 past Charlemont missing the turn onto 8A, but finding a decent alternative cut over on Tower road to get back on track. And then heading via Middle Rd onto Moody Spring in Dubuque Memorial State Forest and more MTB fun... in the mean while we happened to join the other six riders again. And the trail is going on and on -- running low on water while conserving already. More climbs and hikes... Seams we missed the "store" option for water, great. Some more dirt and MTB terrain. A "local" in our group looking also for water at some spring/rock, but kind of out of luck -- too dry, just a muddy hole withe barely any water running out of the rock.
Finally approaching Heath totally out of water. Some said there may have been a gas station, great... Is that supported?
A little line at the urgently needed water, swapping bottles, ... but that water melon felt as good if not better than a drink. Filling all up and finishing a whole bottle in addition plus a few snacks. Good to go with Eric. Finding ourself soon on a nice section
Stage 4: Steady Lane to Conway (13 miles) + Stage 5: to Deerfield
All water reserved replenished finally, moving on. Finding a nice know section of dirt from the 180k in reverse, fast fun descending and a pinch flat to be fixed quickly...
Then entering some more new rough terrain.
"follow the snowmobile track uphill"
we enjoyed the final fast and furious fun descent to the finish. A few final flat miles via corn fields to complete the awesome route and solve the Mystery.
Stage R=recovery: Beer and Dinner time...
Felt good to see the D2R2 tent after some serious hours of mystery and path seeking. Def. a next level of D2R2. Beer, Chocolate Mike, Dinner, ...
And the long awaited bath in the river and wrapping up the day with tent neighbors and another beer.
Here is my areal view of all that fun via Relive.cc:
And Py's actual ride -- all RaceWire numbers and times are irrelevant if there are road options, short cuts and other mysteries to be taking into account -- all what count, have a good day with good friends for a day:
All and more photos are here:
PS: Thanks again to all D2R2 volunteers and all the riders. A fun 12th D2R2. What next?