So, I went on and on about the D2R2 for a long time and on Saturday I got up at 4:30 to drive up with my old Stumpjumper to Deerfield and partake.
I registered, got my cue sheet and other attendant documents, ate some bagel stuff and set out around 6:20. The morning was still nice and cool and these were seeming pretty pleasant. The first 30-something miles to the first checkpoint were rolling and pretty. There was a tough 15% climb up to checkpoint, but at the top was a very pretty field of sunflowers. I ate some more bagel stuff and put some water in my camelbak and continued on.
Things were still pretty good. Royer Rd. was a fun little diversion and I cleared the 27% climb on Archambo Rd. The climb right after that was pretty difficult and I actually ended up walking a few hundred feet. Things went up and down for awhile, with one pretty fast hill (that I'm told claimed a collarbone and caused at least one bad crash) eventually bringing me to the 60 mile lunch checkpoint at the Green River. I ate a cheese sandwich and some trail mix and got more water.
Meeting up with the river, there was this very pretty and pleasantly flat four miles.
After that, there were switchbacks coming out of the valley. Heading up, several people were cramping up. I felt bad for their plight, but soon realized it was contagious because by the end of the first switchback I was cramping, too. I paused, grimaced, walked it off and got back on the bike. There was a bunch more climbing and near the top, I started to cramp again. I drank a bunch more water. Ever since around 10:00, it had been pretty hot, so I had done some considerable sweating, but I had been good about drinking water. In fact, I'd probably consumed like a gallon or so at that point. I rode & walked some more up and until the conclusion of the hill and was hurting a bit, but I was also at like mile 90 at that point. Only 20 more to go and I was certain I could push through. Climbs were starting to get pretty tough, but flats weren't too bad. This area dropped back down into a valley again in Colrain. Up ahead was the hideousness of Patten Hill, but it was pretty flat up until there. Those flats, however, were starting to put a strain on me. I knew that I'd probably be walking almost all if not all of Patten Hill.
It was true, I arrived, clipped out of my pedals and started walking. It seemed that there were still a lot of people behind me, because suddenly all these people materialized behind me and rode passed me. It was only at about 2mph faster than me, but they at least remained on their bikes. I tried getting back on, but the cramps would over take my legs. I think it's about 3 miles to the summit and I walked almost the entire thing. I have no idea how long it took, probably over an hour or something and I was totally defeated at the top and collapsed on the side of the road. A very pleasant guy on a Cross Check gave me some shot blocks along the way. I had devoured them, but no cramp cessation. The checkpoint was maybe 200 yards away and it was totally flat. I remounted and could barely pedal, but made it. I was done. I ate some food and salt and some more electrolyte stuff, but I was cramping everywhere: legs, hands, chin and feet. I got some encouragement, because there was only ten more miles and I thought that I'd be an idiot for giving up with ten miles to go and it was almost all down hill. But, I got back on the bike, I locked up and knew I was done. Norman, a volunteer and owner of Flye Cycles (of Sunderland, MA), gave me a ride back to the start/finish. My cramps subsided as I was driving home.
So, I learned a valuable lesson about these things called electrolytes. I ate well and drank well, but sweated all the salt out of my body. The race organizers put out tons of things that I should have been eating and drinking, but I made poor decisions and I had to scratch with 10 miles left, but with 15,000' of climbing done. I'm pretty disappointed in myself.
In terms of bike selection, I'm still wondering if a mountain bike was the best choice. Most people were on 'cross bikes or touring bikes. I was able to bomb down hills and pass everyone (not that it was a race, but it was a much more confident descender), but I was always passed on flats and most climbs. I only saw like two other mountain bikes.
In other news about scratching long rides, happily, fatcyclist seems to be ok after crashing out of the Leadville 100.
Here's a cool map of the whole thing.