by Molly Hurford
DEERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS – Western Massachusetts has been a cyclocrosser destination and landing pad for years; arguably, since Adam Myerson started attending U Mass. Amherst and turned their local MTB race into a cyclocross course that eventually grew into the event that we know today as Cycle-Smart International. Western Massachusetts is currently the homestead of racers like Jeremy Powers, Justin Lindine, Jeremy Durrin, Gabby Day (temporarily), and a whole host of JAM Fund elite racers. So it makes sense that a “fun” ride with tons of dirt climbs and descents would attract riders from the area getting ready for cyclocross season, as well as a whole bevy of riders coming in from all points, from Boston to Georgia.
This year’s Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee (D2R2) took place under some of the sunniest skies and nicest temperatures imaginable. Even while grinding up some of the steepest hills, riders could be heard making small talk about the perfect weather for the day. And despite the some of the steepest dirt climbs in New England, followed by some of the fastest dirt descents, everyone participating seemed to be having a blast, even after 100 to 180 kilometers of riding. And who could blame them? With an event that’s been happening and growing since the 90s, D2R2 organizers are clearly doing something right, with their lunch stop, aid stations, dinner at the ride’s end, and free pints of beer for participants.
D2R2 manages to retain a low-key vibe despite its surging growth over the years, and participants appreciate the food, the fun, and the friendships that spring from the day. The event is a fundraiser for the Franklin Land Trust, a local non-profit that works with landowners to protect farms, forests, and other natural resources in the region.