“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.” Doug Donaldson
Kristin asked me a familiar question as we lay in bed, summoning the courage to peak our heads out from under the blanket to sample the world. “How do your legs feel,” she inquired, expecting to get a quick answer and one of the several she had heard countless times before.
Rest days are my least favorite, and the over 40,000 miles I’ve ridden in the last three years haven’t included many, or miles outdoors on the road. It is novel stress to battle the swirling wind, brave the fluctuating temps, maintain steely focus when a momentary lapse will find you in a ditch, and VERY BIG TRUCKS!
It had taken a toll on my legs, and I had no response. Not because I didn’t feel them, but rather it was a denial of the truth.
My fingers and toes, I knew exactly why I couldn’t feel them—40 F and crisp as I rolled off to chase the warming sun.
My thoughts turned to absorb the abundant stimuli, with buffalo grazing and the red rocks blazing in my view. The landscape was changing before my eyes, and it was brilliant.
As I lay awake, envisioning the ideals of my cross-country journey, rides like this filled my mind’s eye. I would have pinched myself if the seam between my chamois and the saddle hadn’t done it for me. The scenery cramped my neck from looking upward and swiveling side to side.
Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden gem, and I had the privilege to enjoy it on a bike for twenty miles. It was stunning, and each bend in the road was like Christmas morning for a cyclist with a dream. The ride was effortless and I didn’t feel my legs for a good reason.
Petroglyphs, pictographs, and rock art figures created by ancient Native Americans adorn the stone canyons of several places in Capitol Reef National Park. Historians and archaeologists attribute them to the Fremont Culture, which existed in areas of Utah from approximately AD 600 to 1300.
As I rode from the park, the terrain changed and was no less stunning. The ride was a wealth of riches that kept on giving. Today was the day that made you want to ride a bicycle then and continue long into the then.
Flash flooding in this part of the country is no joke, and the frequent swaths carved in the desert floor were a constant reminder. Just how serious I wasn’t aware until I engaged the cashier in the convenience store of our overnight destination wearing a “Hanksville Strong” tee-shirt.
She went on to explain that in September of 2021, flash floods swept through parts of southern Utah, including their small town of Hanksville, where the 6-foot surge inundated homes, businesses, farms, and cars. Thankfully, no lives were lost.
Hanksville is an eccentric oasis in an ultra-traditionalist Southern Utah stronghold. I wish I knew what goes on at the BLM office.
Duke’s RV park is one of the better ones, with suitable amenities, and Dan, the attentive and witty maintenance man. The shower reminded me of a few of my college “girlfriends” with frequent mood swings, hot to cold and back, and it was nice while it lasted, but when our time is up, I won’t be upset to find a new place to park my RV.
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Thirteen—Michael Connors
Here is what Michael had to say—”DIRT has helped keep me sane during this rough patch with our family. My mother-in-law passed very suddenly last year just after Easter and then shortly after we got my son’s terminal diagnosis (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/infantile-neuroaxonal-dystrophy). Without the Discord group, I would have lost my mind a few times, I’m still riding and training for a triathlon but unfortunately not able to make many DIRT events. Knowing how difficult these times can be, my wife and I try and help other families out whenever and however we can”
Amount Raised to Date—$3,161
Thank you, Michael!
Now off to Green River, UT!
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!