“The weather is nature’s disruptor of human plans and busybodies. Of all the things on earth, nature’s disruption is what we know we can depend on, as it is essentially uncontrolled by men.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
The day started at 0400 like the 44 before, and just like those, I was looking forward with eager anticipation. A DIRT member was cutting his Michigan lakeside couples vacation short to ride with me, and he and his wife were about to begin the 90-minute drive.
They pulled up as I was making last-minute preparations, and that’s when I noticed a tap on the RV’s metal roof. Jokingly I greeted him with a “Did you bring the rain from Michigan with you?” Little did I know, it was no joke.
As we buckled our shoes and clicked our helmets, the skies erupted in a brilliantly violent light show with deafening cracks and horizontal rain. The weather radar looked favorable for a passing storm, so we ran to the hotel lobby to wait it out over breakfast.
Things only got worse from there, and when two full garbage cans whipped across the parking lot driven by the swirling winds, I had an idea it wouldn’t pass anytime soon. I held out hope that “We’d be riding. I don’t think the heavy stuff’s going to come down for quite a while.”
Kyle Bazur-Persing is a father of three who works as a pipeline engineer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Even though he is new to DIRT, he’s found a place in the 5:05 group with Ann Schlenker, Peter McKenzie, Dave Thompson, and the gang. Kyle raced bikes at Purdue and turned his focus to ultradistance running while starting his family.
The red blob on my weather app map continued to grow off to the west as the storm intensified. Kristin was momentarily stuck in the elevator when the hotel lost power, and just as she arrived at our table, Kyle’s wife Jenna awoke from her car ride to join us.
We sat and joked for over an hour like we’d known each other for years. That’s the way it felt to me. There’s nothing worse than waiting for anything, especially at the beginning of a 5-plus-hour bike ride, and it was getting to me.
If you believe things happen for a reason like me, this was a good one. The time we spent with Kyle and Jenna was a delightful trip highlight we won’t forget. We were sad to say goodbye to our new forever friends when Kyle’s available time was up, and the couple had to get their children from camp an hour away.
Left alone with my thoughts, I agonized over the decision. Ideally, the journey across the country wouldn’t include any time spent advancing in the Schwenk Tank, but it would be foolish to compromise my safety, comfort, and fun. After much deliberation and trying to find the silver lining, we devised an alternative plan.
Before setting off on this adventure over five weeks ago, I worked closely with the representative from a cycling merchandise and apparel company for the DIRT Dad Fund. I’ve alluded to the exciting news, and if you’ve seen pictures of the striped kit and the bag that’s been essential gear for me, you probably have an idea.
I knew he lived nearby, and we hoped to get together to ride, but his wife’s ER physician schedule made it impossible. Since Mother Nature had other plans, I decided to make a formal introduction possible.
Michael Souers is enjoying his second career as a stay-at-home DIRT Dad to two little ones who live in the Fort Wayne area. Micheal has an accomplished cycling career across all disciplines and attended college on a cycling scholarship alongside his lifelong friend and long-time DIRT, Johnathan Freter. Now he gives back to the sport he loves through youth development and his volunteer role as a rep for Pedal Industries.
We charted a course for a town near his home, and when we arrived, as you can tell, I still held out hope of getting on the bike. My coach in the sky insisted that I needed a rest day. I threw in the towel and took full advantage of the relaxing lunch with Michael.
He is as humble and easy-going in person as he is to work with from my desk at home. We had a wonderful time, and when we weren’t learning about each other’s lives and the area’s history, we nailed down a few DIRT Dad Fund Store details. It’s going to be great!
A bit about the exciting partnership between Pedal Industries and the DIRT Dad Fund!
Pedal Industries is a US-based cycling outfitter offering a wide range of products from kits to bags to popup tents, all of which can be custom designed. Pedal Industries fabricates everything in their California-based factory, allowing a zero minimum order on every item but socks and gloves. Owner Todd Brown’s goal is to keep developing new and exciting products and try to improve them.
When you order from the Pedal Industries DIRT Dad Fund Store, every custom item will ship to your door in 3 to 5 weeks, and in-stock items the very next day. Most other brands are 6 to 9 weeks, and the store never closes. A significant portion of the sales will directly support the DIRT Dad Fund.
Pedal Industries are best known for their Race day bags (see picture below). They’re an innovative way to always have what you need for a ride. The bags come in three sizes and have dedicated labeled pockets with additional room to add your own.
- The CLASSIC is 16.5x10x11—It’s great for a single day!
- The XL is 20x13x13.5—The XL comes with padded, backpack-style straps. Perfect for a multi-day event or full-face helmet and pads.
- The PRO—Same as the XL with two additional pockets. One pocket is on the bottom for wet/dirty gear that’s big enough for a wetsuit and includes a giant Ziploc bag. The other pocket is inside the shoe panel and holds three water bottles.
We’ve also added men’s and women’s road kits and MTB jerseys to the store, as well as an awesome tech tee and hoodie for after your ride.
We are in the final stages of prototyping a custom base layer with the same fabric as the tech tee that will be perfect for indoor specialists.
Their in-house designer will make the possibility for design innovations and one-offs a realistic and timely possibility.
The good folks at Pedal Industries are super excited to partner with the DIRT Dad Fund, support the mission, and want to help in any way they can.
We cut our loses by finding an overnight destination nearby. There are big plans for tomorrow!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Forty-Five—Kyle Bazur-Persing
It was devastating that Kyle and Jenna drove all that way to ride with me, and it didn’t happen. All in all, it worked out for the best. We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to become friends like we did if we were on the bike. Things sometimes happen for a reason.
Here is what Kyle had to say—”It’s all good!”
Amount Raised to Date—$9,069
Thank you, Kyle!
Now off to the home of the DIRT Grandfather, Monroeville, OH!
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!