“When The Spirits Are Low, When The Day Appears Dark, When Work Becomes Monotonous, When Hope Hardly Seems Worth Having, Just Mount A Bicycle And Go Out For A Spin On The Road, Without Thought On Anything But The Ride You Are Taking” – Arthur Conan Doyle
A weird thing has started happening to my legs. When I’m trying to sleep and straighten my knees to change positions, they begin to shake, almost convulse, involuntarily. They eventually stop when I force them straight, but the soreness remains. Usually, that goes away, too.
This morning the soreness remained. My legs felt tired, and I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ if you know what I mean?
It would be one of those days if I couldn’t find a way around it.
On days like this, I search for a sign, a positive omen. Something to tell me it’s going to be a great ride, a good day, and everything is okay. Despite what, my legs, and mind, are trying to tell me otherwise.
With dust flying in my eyes from the dirt-lot-called-an-RV park where we spent the night, I searched for any indication. When construction immediately diverted my route, I searched for a positive way to start my day.
It wasn’t working out! Neither were my legs. I felt like I was pedaling hard but going nowhere.
The sun peaked out to burn the fog and reveal the glorious Sandhills scenery. Could this be the harbinger of good things to come? No!
The sunshine was short-lived. With the clouds came a building breeze that, when it wasn’t directly in my face, was crossing from my shoulder. Things were getting worse for me.
Okay, here goes! Why does the shoulder in your county have inch-wide cracks every 20 feet that act like a jackhammer trying to jam my saddle into my crack? Why does the wind come from the East when it’s not supposed to? Why do those semis pulling the trailers with the vents in the side smell so bad? Why am I still on the same road that I have been on for the last two days and will likely be on for the next few days? That is all for now!
The thing is, I wasn’t in a grumpy mood. As a cyclist, I’ve learned to accept that every day will not be my best, which is especially true of this journey.
I reminded myself that it was my idea, and then I was reminded of the family, friends, and fellow cyclists who have been so generous in their support along the way.
I clipped in and willed on, knowing that the Schwenk Tank crew was never more than a few miles down the road with whatever I needed. Which usually, and especially today, was little more than a, “You got this, Chris!”
I was so happy to see the sign for Stuart, NE, that I had to leave a breadcrumb on the spot. You probably have an idea why by now, and, oh yeah.
How do you make a not-so-great day worse? Start a heavy spitting wind-driven rain when you are twenty miles from where you’ve been willing yourself to for the last five hours.
Want to know another way? Get lost after making the only turn on the route and ride around the town aimlessly in the rain.
Here’s another. When you finally catch up with your family, you can tell by their faces that things weren’t great for them either. It seems our overnight destination was a poor excuse for a sandlot-called-an-RV park. It had nothing and what it did have didn’t work. No one was around there was no phone number to call.
Things were about to go from bad to worse when it happened.
While riding through Main street, Stuart, lost, I met a lovely couple. We shared a bit about ourselves and what brought us there. It was clear they were kind and gentle souls. Sympathetic to our plight, my new friends escorted us to the only RV park in town (the only other one) worth recommending, and they were right.
Ah, there it is! The sign I have been searching for all day!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Twenty-Nine—Anna Toth
Here is what Anna had to say—”I’m just the girlfriend of a DIRT dude (Jose Wence), but I know how much this community means to him and it’s really just amazing. I love the support that DIRT shows to each other, in good times AND bad. And I love that Jose has a group of really great men to shoot the shit with early in the morning. And let’s face it, you guys keep him sane, too!”
Amount Raised to Date—$6,852
Thank you, Anna!
Now off to Neligh, NE!
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!