Have you ever had something happen to you that made you think it wasn’t a coincidence? It happens during rides a lot. A false flat in your favor, an unanticipated change in the wind direction when you need it most, or a line that takes your wheel just clear of a pothole, and you don’t know how or why. What if it happens too frequently to ignore?
With a shorter route ahead, I enjoyed a lazy morning and the opportunity to take in the sunrise. It was a nice way to start the day, and as the temps and winds were increasing already, my internal alarm bells rang, and it was time to get in the saddle.
The ride out of St. George was tedious and slow. Remember those traffic lights? I found more than I asked for, but it did allow a moment to admire one last bit of St. George street art and the view from the outskirts of town.
It is official! The turn towards Zion National Park signified that I had entered the land of real climbs. Sharp, steep, and they feel like they go on forever. Unfortunately, it also seems like I’ve joined the land of cars don’t care if you’re there, and I had way too many close calls for my liking. The climbs are challenging, and it saps your energy more when you have to brace yourself every time a truck buzzes you at 6″.
Oh yeah, my shifting was wonky from the start of the ride and getting worse as the REAL climbing was still ahead.
After 20 miles of frustration, I made it to the town of Hurricane when I finally gave up. I was about to begin a stretch of over 15 miles of serious climbing, and I would need more than one gear. Thankfully the Schwenk Tank of support rolled up at the exact moment. Coincidence number one!
As I was fiddling with the laggy gearing, I troubleshot the problem and determined it was the batteries in my etap brake lever shifters. I knew I had a spare set, but in our haste, I couldn’t seem to locate them in the RV.
Just then, Uncle Rudy says, “Do you know that we’re stopped right in front of a bike shop?” Unbeknownst to me, I was dead in the water directly beside Over The Edge Sports, Hurricane, UT. Coincidence number two!
Quinton and his crew were busy getting the shop ready for the day. He handed me a set of batteries and a tiny screwdriver and propped my bike on a stand out of their way. I swapped the batteries and was on my way.
The route was shorter than most, but the climbing was fierce. Steep categorized climbs accentuate a series of long drags. The drivers were getting less accommodating, as were the rising temps and driving headwinds. It touched 90F when I left Hurricane at around 9 am, and the winds were stiff and in my face—again!
Before leaving St. George, I had reached out to Zion Bicycles to schedule a chain swap and tune-up. I was nearing 1,000 miles, and the sand and grit of the desert scrub were an unforgiving strain on my drivetrain.
I arrived late for the appointment. Today’s ride was shorter but not more leisurely and took longer than I had anticipated. The tech invited me and my bike with open arms and had the work deftly completed before we were through touring the park.
When we returned to retrieve the bike, the tech, Emily, took me aside to ask, “Do you know Dave?” She noticed the #RideLikeDave sticker on my bike and, as a native of Connecticut, was familiar with the story.
Dave Hoyle was a good friend and the director of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program—the premier youth development program in the country. Dave lost his life at an early age doing the thing he loved, riding his bike.
I miss Dave, and the encounter with Emily reminded me to stop and remember the relationships that make us who we are. Dave would have been wholeheartedly supporting me with his trademark quiet assuredness. Coincidence number three!
Zion National Park is one of nature’s great wonders! My words lack the eloquence to describe the grandeur of its beauty. No words!
Yup, that’s a Tiny Home! Cool as S! As I’ve mentioned, the trip is all about experiences and making memories. Uncle Rudy thought staying in a Tiny Home would be special for Kristin, and he couldn’t have been more right. It was fun. We all loved it!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Nine—Hannah Peters
I haven’t had the pleasure of formally virtually meeting Hannah. From what I’ve heard she’s one of the guys and a solid rider, too. I admire female cyclists for their strength and the ability to juggle family, work, and sport. To me it’s like having three jobs and that’s a lot for anyone.
Here is what Hannah had to say—”I’m a 53yr old MIRT, 3 kids (G,G,B) affiliated to Eat DIRT. I’ve been cycling for about 8 years and Zwifting since 2018. I compete regularly on Thursday’s TTT and ZRL. I even had a stab at the virtual duathlon series back in February. Finding DIRT (and especially Eat DIRT) has been life-changing. I’ve made some amazing friendships! Ride on!”
Amount Raised to Date—$2,243
Thank you, Hannah!
Now off to Carmel, UT and the Grand Canyon, AZ!!
To support Chris in his effort to raise awareness of The DIRT Dad Fund, the non-profit he created to assist members of the worldwide cycling community, check out this link to learn more.
Find out where you can pledge a donation and subscribe to The ZOMs newsletter to follow along on the journey.
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!