Matt Yankow wasn’t content sweepin away in the cozy confines of his Ohio basement and ventured into Coach Joy territory. He also wasn’t content allowing Joy to stay on his wheel. Here’s how it went.
In the words of the honorary MIRT Coach Joy Murphy, herself.
When I found out that Matt Yankow would be in Clermont, Florida (my home state), I knew I had to make a Meet-Up happen. I only had three weeks to arrange everything. Luckily, I am a fantastic party planner. (Almost as good as Angela from The Office).
Unfortunately, three weeks is not a lot of time to get a large group together. I often ride with a couple of cyclists locally, so I knew they would be up for the road trip, so I asked them first.
Robert agreed and drove down from Palatka, Fl. He is in fantastic shape right now after having a great ride at 6 Gap. Sidney and his wife Jessica also drove down from Jacksonville. They were both a huge help in putting this all together.
I then put the word out on the “Florida Man Does Zwift” Facebook page to see who I could get. As expected, October is a busy month, and everyone seemed to have a full calendar. I did manage to recruit Marc Boults and Graham Partain, both members of the Dirt team.
Sadly, after Graham arrived, Benny, his new puppy, decided he missed Graham too much and requested him to come home. Graham drove back home Friday night and missed the ride.
My next challenge was to get Matt a bike because he was flying in from Cleveland with no bike. I did not know anyone that was giraffe height of 6’4,” but Sidney was close at 6’1”.
We had to swap out the pedals and adjust the seat so Matt would have a good bike to ride. Sidney selflessly donated his road bike to Matt and rode his gravel bike instead. At the end of the ride, we decided Matt would be on the gravel bike next time. It’s the only thing we could think of to slow him down.
We planned a 74-mile route that started at Killarney Station, headed north towards Lake Dora, and over to Howey in the Hills. We had Jessica, Sidney’s equally selfless wife, as our fabulous support crew. She met us in Griffin Park at mile 44 with a cooler full of cold drinks and Twizzlers to help us reenergize.
I don’t think she planned on us being there so soon, but we had the Diggler’s pulling at high speeds. I know I had never been so grateful for a rest stop and a Redbull!
Back out on our journey, we head toward the legendary Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf is a short, very steep climb with a grade that reaches 16%. I may have encouraged a “race” up this climb to see who was the fastest.
Marc easily took the win, but we all had a second chance. We looped around to do it all over again. This time, Matt found his front chainring to make the race more interesting, but no one could beat Marc to the top.
Can anyone say KOM? (editor’s note: More like QOM!)
Thankfully, we had Jessica at the top for our final rest stop. I was a little concerned for Matt, who was dumping ice over himself, clearly not accustomed to the 98% humidity we Floridians take for granted. A little ice and a coke were all they needed to get going again, stronger and faster than ever.
As they rode back between 24-26mph, I spent some alone time thinking I needed slower friends. Digglers dropping me IRL | Ride | Strava
Back at Killarney Station, we looked to see our PR’s and achievements in Strava. Except for Matt, who forgot to start his Strava. I guess he will have to come back and do it all again.
For more great IRL meet-up stories and all other things DIRT check out the DIRT Zwift Team page on The ZOM!
How would you feel about having the honor of being dropped by Matt Yankow?
Comment below! Your fellow virtual cyclists want to know.
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!