Your Time: The Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee, Franklin County

Thursday, September 18, 2014
‘No matter how many times you do it, it’s always a shock.”

That’s how Keith Cardoza of Jamaica Plain, a five-time veteran of the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnée, sums up the back-roads distance cycling event known more simply as the D2R2.

A classic randonnée — which is not a race, but a challenge — requires the cyclist to be self-sufficient. This means carrying the food, water, clothing and repair items needed for the duration of the ride. However, the D2R2, in its 10th year as a benefit for the Franklin Land Trust, is a little more relaxed in that it offers three catered meals and several water stops along six routes, ranging from 20 to 110 miles, in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont.

This year, organizers and the 1,200 participants had a new challenge. The covered bridge spanning the Green River in Guilford, Vermont — the traditional lunch site and crossroads for all six routes — was closed for repairs in July. After some quick planning and route changes, lunch sites were created on both sides of the bridge, though many cyclists opted to ford the stream at a low spot rather than backtrack on dry land. Portaging a bike is not part of the classic randonnée tradition, but it does meet the definition of challenge. After losing her footing — and control of her bike — Barbara Lagana of Connecticut emerged from the fastest part of the stream with arms raised in mock victory.

To suggest a subject for Your Time, email Suzanne Wilson at swilson@gazettenet.com.