Told in the words of Jon himself.
Hear the amazing story in his own words as he describes what it felt like to win!
I started cycling when I moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in August 2015. First for commuting only, then doing longer and longer trips on my cheap hybrid bike.
I was so insecure on the bike. It was a challenge. If I took ONE hand off of the handlebars, I was turning.
I Found Zwift in 2018
In April 2016, I got my first road bike and joined Zwift in October. I did my first race on the platform in September 2018, encouraged by the Zwift Academy.
I was never a competitive person. I did not think racing was for me, especially considering that I usually weigh around 100 kg. I joined DIRT in July 2020, as soon as my daughter Lauren was born.
I Joined DIRT in 2020 and Moved to Panama a Year Later
I knew about the club and couldn’t wait to join a group of Zwift-obsessed parents facing similar challenges. The club had such a positive approach and encouraged diversity in cycling. That was a big plus for me, as I am not exactly a fan of the macho culture often found in cycling and other sports.
In January 2021, we moved to Panamá. One of the advantages of being in a relatively small country is that I am in the top ten nationally, even as a C category rider. With a Zwiftpower racing score of 343.93, I can proudly say that I am ranked the fourth-best Zwift racer in the country right now!
I Owe a Lot to My Wife’s Support
Thanks to my wife’s support, I usually manage to find the time for 3 or 4 sessions of around 1 hour per week. I always race, even if it is not ideal from a performance perspective. I find training or freeriding too boring ever since I got addicted to racing.
A significant difference I found Zwifting in Europe is that my usual racing time spot (around 8 pm, after putting our daughter Lauren to sleep) is a lot emptier with less competition.
Surprise! I Took the W in First Zwift Cup in Panama
A few weeks ago, I learned that Wahoo and two of my local bike shops organized a Zwift cup in Panama. I immediately signed up, and last weekend, surprise! I won in my category “Master B.”
It was pretty special to take my daughter on the podium, even if it was a small-scale competition and not exactly the Tour de France. It’ll make a beautiful memory to share with her.
She turned one year old two weeks ago. She had a blast at the competition, listening to loud reggaeton on the speakers, dancing to the crowd, and playing with some friendly dogs that were there cheering on their humans.
The route was one lap of the 2015 UCI World Course Richmond. I attacked several times, and the successful one came on 23rd street. I was very close to getting caught on the final climb, but I still had the legs for a final acceleration and finished solo.
There is No Way I Would Have Done it Differently
One of the prizes was a signup for a big MTB event that crosses the whole isthmus from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific. Still, I am trying to get that exchanged for a road gran Fondo, as one of the disadvantages of taking up cycling at the age of 35 is that my bike handling skills are horrendous. There is no way I can ride in the Panamanian rainforest.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!