By Tim Cary
Published 08/19/2012; Updated 10/29/2021

by Peter Crowley » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:31 pm
I know that it has now been around for a while and is considered to be a must do classic ride, but until yesterday I had never done the BIG (180k) D2R2. I did the “metric” (100k) version a couple of times and it really kicked my butt. The “short” version was a great ride, but neither time did I feel like getting back on the bike and riding for another …say 5 hours. Ok, I admit it, I was afraid of D2R2.
With the distance riding that I have done this year, I felt as ready as ever, but I still felt, …at least really tentative about it. The distance: 110 miles (long but manageable), the hills: 16,000 feet of climbing (this is getting pretty serious), the grades: up to 27% on dirt (you gotta be nuts), total ride time: 9-12 hours (OK, I really was scared).
I learned that the secret to distance riding isn’t really riding, it is eating, so I got up at 4 and had a good really big breakfast and headed to the start in Deerfield. They had a great spread there for breakfast, so I ate a bit more. At the start, I met up with Andrew, Todd, Todd, Jonathan OK, and Kevin. We rolled out together to be quickly joined by Paul Nyberg (and a few other fast wheels). I might have been able to hang with them, but I would not have had as good a day (OK, no way could I have kept up that pace for very long), so Jonathan, Kevin and I dropped back and stayed together for the rest of the day. Thanks guys, it was a great day!
What a freaking awesome ride. We started by going to Conway, but obviously not by the obvious way on Rt 116. The route was easier to follow that I had expected, if you were on pavement and came to a dirt road that went up you took the dirt road. I spent the whole day not far from places that I had been before, sometimes many times before, but rarely on roads that I had ridden before. I know that we live in a nice area, but D2R2 really showed how nice it is.
Ok, there were hills -lots of them, but I knew that going in, so I dialed it back a bit. It was long, so I careful to eat and drink. Which was really easy to do with all of the really good food at the rest stops.
We finished in under 11 hours total, with almost 2 hours of stops in between. That gave us a pretty respectable ride time of 9 hours. I guess that we could have cut the stops shorter and had a faster time, …but why? Did I mention the really good food?
I will be back next year, not looking for a faster time -just to have another chance to see how good the riding around here can be.

by Tim_Cary » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:08 pm
Thanks for the write-up Peter. I was just looking at Strava stats for this ride. Wow. I was unable to do this because of a conflict, but it seems would be something I’d enjoy, and your post confirms that. I’ll be there next year!

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Great ride report, Peter. You and Kevin were super companions to help me make it through this very tough day.

Todd H. says this ride is different every year, and I couldn’t agree more. My first 180K was in 2010, when I pushed it hard, and blew up around 80 miles in, barely making it to the finish. In 2011 my only goal was to ride slower than 2010, enjoy the ride, and take a bunch of pictures en-route. This year I wanted to find a good group to help pull me along, and couldn’t have found a better set of riding companions than Kevin and Peter. We traded pulls, where possible, all the way through, with Peter taking on the lion’s share of the workload.

For those that haven’t done this ride before, I really want to emphasize Peter’s point about how this ride showcases some of the hidden gems of the Pioneer Valley that are lurking right here in our own backyards.