“Bicycles are the indicator species of a community, like shellfish in a bay.” — P. Martin Scott
The suggested route looked exciting, and I was eager to find out but not nearly as much as I was looking forward to meeting up. We have rubbed elbows in countless virtual races, always finding ourselves at the same place at the same time.
Energized and excited, I made my way through the meshwork of beaten bike paths, urban roads, and water crossings. About twenty miles in, we were in the same place again, in Frankfurt, IN, and real life shoulder to shoulder.
Walt Flood is a high-rise construction engineer living in Chicago with his wife and two young children. Walt’s wife is a teacher in the school he walks the kids to each morning.
No stranger to adventure, Walt is an accomplished backcountry canoeist and has hitchhiked across New Zealand. I know Walt from the many eracing battles we’ve had as rival members of two of the many dominant Zwift DIRT “B” teams.
A nicer guy you will never meet, Walt was humble in his comparisons and forthright in his descriptions of the local scene throughout Chicago and its surrounding areas. Not to mention a super strong rider, as well!
Our connection took us within a few miles of a significant landmark in Walt’s eyes, and he felt it essential that we detoured. We stopped to pay our respects to a great American cyclist who didn’t get much in his time and not enough now. The meager stone in the middle of an unkempt memorial field is a step up from the unmarked grave he rested in for decades.
That’s where the morning with my new forever friend had to end. Work needed Walt on the 41st floor, and I needed to go further east. He escorted me back where we left off and went our separate ways.
Like veins in a leaf, the bike paths criss-cross the Illinois-Indiana border area. Though they are often slow-going to remain courteous and safe, it is nice to see active people and greet them with a “Mornin’!” The paths didn’t go on forever and seemed to spit me out in the wrong places to be during suburban Chicago rush hour. It was hot, my nerves had boiled over, and I knew where my first stop would be after rolling in.
I wanted to take a dip in Lake Michigan, but not that bad.
Thankfully we found a more leg-friendly alternative. It was the perfect cool-down after a rewarding and fulfilling day I will never forget!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Forty-Three—Peter DeFreitas
Here is what Peter had to say—”Joined the DIRT 5:05 ride led by Peter McKenzie, Dave Thompson, and Ann Schlenker in March 2022 and haven’t looked back. All the best to you on your ride. Have fun and stay safe!”
Amount Raised to Date—$8,913
Thank you, Peter!
Now off to Goshen, IN!
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!