I first rode D2R2 three-and-a-half years ago. I rode it on a Surly Crosscheck, because that’s what I had that seemed even vaguely appropriate. The next two years I rode it on a custom road bike with 28s, not because that’s the right thing to ride, but again, because that’s what I had. I have seen people ride that event on full-suspension 29ers and full-carbon road bikes with 23s. As far as I could tell, they all had fun (though some may have fixed more flats than others).
This year I will ride it on a purpose-built Ti bike with disc brakes, an off-road adventure machine with an all-day geometry and alust for roads that aren’t and never really were roads to begin with.
D2R2 has become, for me, a season defining ride, just as Dirty Kanza, Leadville, RAGBRAI, Battenkill, Levi’s King Ridge Granfondo, etc., etc. have become anchor points for others. It seems that almost anytime I’m out on the bike during the year I have the dirt roads of Southern Vermont in my mind. If I am climbing a seemingly endless hill anywhere in the world, I immediately think of Pennel Hill Rd. Everything is hard or not-hard in comparison.
In this way, it reminds me of Paris-Roubaix or the Tour, which are reference point races for many of the pros.
D2R2 is special, but it’s not the most or only special cycling event out there. Some season-defining rides aren’t even events. They’re just annual meet-ups with friends. Some are races. Some are just group rides, but they serve as our reference points all year long.
This week’s Group Ride asks what YOUR reference point is? What is the Ur-ride in your calendar? And what is it about that ride that has captured your imagination? Is it the terrain? The company? The difficulty?