DIRT Dad Fundo Across America- Day Eleven

Mt. Carmel to Kingston, Utah

“There’s No F**King Drug In The World That Could Give You A High Like That” – Shaun Palmer

When they handed out handiness genes, I was at the back of the line, and inventory was low. Electronic shifting is the best upgrade I have ever made—great when it works and is ordinarily reliable. Solving the problem stretches my ingenuity ability and patience to the elastic limit when it doesn’t.

I rolled out of Mt. Carmel, intent on putting the first 22 miles and 2,000 ft of vert behind me so I could enjoy the rest of the day. A few hundred meters down the road and it started happening again. My shifting was wonky, and Father’s Day wasn’t beginning as I had hoped.


I had to change the brake lever shifters when they failed me, leaving me dead in the water on Day 9, and I  fully charged the other batteries last night. It had to be a connection issue. I stopped and found a rock that most closely resembled a piece of sandpaper and did my best.


It worked for a few hundred meters and then nothing! I’ve admittedly enjoyed a bunch of great IPAs on this trip. Not enough to be indoctrinated into the fixxy clan. My support crew was enjoying a much needed break on the golf course. I was on my own.


Then, almost as if I had an out-of-body experience, or the spirit of the handy embodied me, and a lightbulb went off. I surgically dissected a small piece of my Cliff Bar wrapper and, with Macgyver-like precision, folded it to create a mini-fulcrum to bridge the derailleur connection gap. I was good to go! Ask me how? I don’t know!  

The climbing was a pleasure, and I went over the top and down the other side, rolling to a stop after two hours and 35 miles. It may not be everyone’s idea of a Father’s Day breakfast. It was all I could ask for on this day, almost.

Satisfied in more ways than one, I settled back into the saddle. Fifteen minutes down the road, a sensation I hadn’t felt in many years jogged my memory. I’ve ridden my bike a lot in the last few years, but I had to find where I hid my rear wheel when packing for this trip.


The bounce turned into a click that quickly became a loud knock. It was bound to happen, and after 800 miles, now was the time. I surprised myself when I unseated the tire and placed the tube with ease. CO2 cartridge engaged and then, hiss!


The second tube didn’t go in as easily and my handiness quota was almost filled. CO2 engaged and then, hiss! Could it be? Apparently tire tubes have a shelf life and mine had expired. As I stood next to the pieces of my bike and a pile of rubber I was left with no other options.


I reluctantly called the Sag Wagon. I didn’t want to interrupt their much-deserved round of golf relaxation. Several passing motorists stopped to check on me as I waited. The Schwenk Tank rolled up with my stock of young tubes. I was on my way!

Something magical happened during my moments of despair. When I clipped in and began to roll, it struck me that something was different. Pedaling was effortless, and I was floating down the road.


The cars and trucks were cordial. The road surface was buttery smooth. The plan was for 50 miles, but as I rolled up to our destination in Panguitch, UT, I wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t. I had found what I had been seeking for years, maybe decades.


I rolled past the childhood home of Butch Cassidy in excess of 30 mph, feeling like I should stop to take a look. I wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t. I broke the speed limit as I flew through the village of Circleville.


When I came back to earth, my 50-mile plan turned into an 80-mile dream. On this day, I found the elusive gem every cyclist seeks—the perfect ride! It was bliss.  

We spent the rest of the day exploring Bryce Canyon National Park. It was the perfect way to complete a day I’ll never forget. Bryce Canyon—No words!

Paradise RV Park in Panguitch, UT was our destination for the night. We have hit a new low.

Johnny's American IPA and Rocket Bike American Lager, Moab Brewery, Moab, UT
JOHNNY'S AMERICAN IPA An American-style IPA, golden in color with light malt hues and strong hop characteristics. Its vibrant citrus aromas and bitterness are created by four bold American hops. Our dry hopping gives this beer its distinct and aggressive hop finish. IBU 60 • 5% ABV
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Eleven—Dave Hardenberger

When I founded The DIRT Dad Fund and began spreading the word Dave Hardenberger was the first to offer his assistance. We devised a plan to share what the fund has to offer to his loyal Family Values ride following.


Dave is generous, supportive, and selfless, and I thought of him as I flew down the road with the 2,000-acre Left Fork fire blazing in my gaze. He is one of those guys who run into danger when everyone else runs out. Thank you for your service!



Here is what Dave Hardenberger had to say—”My introduction to cycling came in an unconventional way… I joined my crew in the fire station riding in Zwift with a Wal Mart bike and an Elite smart trainer and found that I really enjoyed the platform and the exercise.  I thought it was so awesome that we could ride with people around the world in events or just cruising our favorite Zwift routes.  


I upgraded bikes and trainers until I ended up with a Kickr Bike at home and at the Fire Station.  I found the DIRT Team early in my Zwift experience and really enjoyed the camaraderie and the events they were doing.  Jason Stern approached me about leading a Group Ride back in 2018 and the Family Values Ride was born.  We’ve built such a great rider group and support Team for the Family Values Ride… it’s been a really great experience being a part of it.  And since the DIRT Dad Fund started, it has been our ride focus.  


Every ride we chat about the Fund to bring awareness to the cause.  We have contests and give aways to bring the Fund message to Zwifters.  And recently, one of our own Teammates became a recipient of assistance from the Fund.  So I gladly support the Fund and my friend Chris on this epic adventure!”


Amount Raised to Date—$2,693


Thank you, Dave!


Now off to Loa, UT!

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. 

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Drew Maier
Drew Maier
1 year ago

Such an awesome story of determination, ingenuity, and perseverance! Way to go Chris, and congrats on experiencing the perfect ride! Ride on brother!

Brandon Peterson
Brandon Peterson
1 year ago

Really enjoying following your adventures, Chris. Super inspiring!!! Keep it up!

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