Second year doing the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnée (D2R2 – not to be confused with R2D2), and I hope I’ll get to do it for many years to come. This is the best kind of bike events: one that brings people of all riding backgrounds and abilities together to enjoy a challenging, beautiful, but extremely fun day on two wheels. And your registration fee goes to support land conservation in Western Massachusetts and Vermont. What’s not to love?!

Last year, my friend Paul had convinced me at the last minute to sign up for this 180k epic along dirt roads and up steep hills in the heart of the Berkshires. Without thinking (and without a functioning bike), I had agreed, and though my haphazardly re-assembled Motobecane nearly didn’t survive the day, it stood out as my favorite day on the bike of the whole season.

Camping and tough morning wake up.

Without hesitating, I signed up for this year’s edition. Paul wasn’t able to attend, so I roped in a whole slew of Community Bike Racing folks to join me. The idea was to “party bus” it once again - take our time, enjoy the views, rest at the rest stops, and make this a challenging, but above all - fun - adventure.

With a 6am start and a foggy morning, it took a while to fully wake up.

And fun it was! The weekend started on Friday, with myself and Alex being the only two brave enough to camp. The rest went off to stay in local motels, but something about the communal camping next to other bike adventurers added to the adventure. Setting up a tent in a big field, prepping your bike by headlight, watching the full moon rise over the Berkshires…

Forest roads, partners in crime, and roadside friends.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the day, save that it was challenging, it was long, but it was an amazing time, just as promised. Alex broke his wheel 60 miles in, but Travis, Jarvis, Pat, and myself completed the 110mi epic in about 8.5 hours. We ate plenty at each stop, grimaced up many climbs, and laughed down many descents. And then met back up with all our friends for food, beer, and to swap tales about our day.

Beautiful day with beautiful people.

Events like these are why I love cycling and the bike community so much. Bringing people together, taking them on crazy adventures, and sharing stories over food. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I hope this wasn’t my last D2R2.

The whole crew cleaned up after a dip in the Deerfield River.