New format this week… The whole family rode D2R2 (a bike ride, not a dyslexic robot) again this year – including Gordo of course – and as usual it was wonderful and we had so much fun and we wanna do it again tomorrow and we’re gonna gush about it now.
D2R2 stands for Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, and it is an annual benefit ride for the Franklin Land Trust. If I heard correctly from a visiting German who was swimming in the river with us, this is the 9th year they’ve held the event.
Essentially you go camp in a big empty field, get up Saturday, and ride one of 4 routes. You can choose a gentle 44 mile loop which runs mostly along the Green River, a 100 kilometer loop, a 115k, or a 180k. The longer loops tend to be much more hilly and race-like, where as the 44 mile route is a lot more mellow and gentle. The event organizers provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner Saturday. Proceeds go to farming out there, and to keep the land beautiful. It’s a lot of fun, and for a great cause.
Again this year our car-having, bike-riding, craft-beer-loving, lifestyle-encouraging friends Jon and Jess drove us out. This is our second year in a row coming out with both The Girl and Gordo on our bikes for the Green River route. Last year, Gordo and Nico were the only dogs we saw on the ride, and this year it was just Gordo. We also didn’t see any other children attached to their parents’ bikes, though there were some older kids riding their own bikes (and haulin’ butt in a few cases… some of those girls were QUICK.)
Gordo enjoys this stuff, and as always I love to bring him out with us. I sometimes wish he’d sit the hell down and be still, because when he gets excited about something, he dances around a little. 30 pounds of pug shifting around on the front rack is a lot to deal with. Imagine a full case of beer on your handlebars that grunts, snorts, sneezes, and shifts around left and right everytime you go fast down a hill.
We stopped anytime we felt like it, and cut a slow pace all day. She Handler was a little under the weather and had much less moxie than usual, but still soldiered on with The Girl on the back of our old 80’s Maruishi. Cough drops and liberal doses of m&m’s helped.
Lunch has been cleverly located at a small park by a gorgeous covered bridge, and all but the longest of the routes has been designed to overlap at this spot at the same time. So it gets crowded, but you get to see your friends who are on a different route and compare notes.
The experience of doing the ride with a 3 year old and a pug is wonderful. The other riders almost unanimously gave us thumbs up, asked to take Gordo’s picture, and generally encouraged us. The day was one long stream of “oh hey a PUG!” and “now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about” as people whizzed past on dirt roads. It’s one of the most uplifting, positive weekends we have every year, and I am growing to cherish it.
When he sneezes at full speed, you can actually see the spray in the sunlight just before you feel it blow back against your forearms. I wish to god I didn’t know that.
Eventually, we were done. If you ride as slowly as we did and take breaks, then the 44 mile loop takes something like 7 hours. And at that pace, your heart rate never really gets up, so really it’s saddle fatigue or ergonomic issues you have to worry about, not muscles or nutrition / hydration. If you’ve got a bike that you’re “all day” comfortable on, then there’s really no reason you couldn’t do this ride.
If you’re thinking that this looks like fun, but you’ve got doubts about whether you could do 44 miles, stop thinking about the mileage. Speaking from experience, mileage always sounds worse than it really feels. What matters most is your pace, and the hills. And in this case, there are only gentle hills to climb once in awhile, and you can set your own pace all day — there’s plenty of time.
Every year new people decide to try the ride out and fall in love with it. Gordo would love to meet you here next year.
So if you see him, come say hi. He digs it.