DIRT Dad Fundo Across America—Day Forty-Six

“Most good relationships are built on trust and respect.” —Mona Sutphen

His wife called them “his imaginary friends,” and I would have agreed. Now that I know, his impact on my life is genuine. We’ve cultivated a mutual friendship and respect virtually for years. Yesterday’s severe weather set me back significantly, and I rolled out before dawn for the anticipated day.

The solace of Ohio’s country roads was a welcome departure from recent days, and I enjoyed the easygoing. The fifty-mile meet-up stroll brought me through Bowling Green’s downtown, called the country’s best college town, past multiple historic buildings, and alongside the university that was his alma mater.


We met him and his wife at Mcdonald’s!

Doug Mastroianni is called the DIRT Grandfather, one of the founding members alongside Jason Stern and Ken “the Badger” Nowell. He raised his children in Monroeville, where he’s retired to begin a career as a real grandfather.


I respect few people more than Doug for his introspective and inquisitive nature, but mainly for his loyalty. His friendship challenges me, and I’ve become a better person for it over the years.

The second fifty miles of my catch-up day were a challenge, too. It was painfully evident that Coach Shane Gaffney had prepared Doug well for what he called a priority event. The guided tour was a quick lesson, and it felt like we were riding partners from way back.


Doug and Sharon are dedicated, successful parents of two, and his daughter and son have both received upper-level degrees from the country’s finest universities. The road leading into Monroeville honors them for their son’s momentous achievement.

The Mastroianni’s home is a breathtaking 1912 architectural beauty with manicured landscape and impeccable heritage estate furnishings and appointments. I wanted to see the real consequential spot in the home.  Doug’s second-story windowed workout area was where DIRT was born. We immediately felt at home with our gracious and humble hosts.

Doug and I took a long walk around town, the conversation flowed, and the smile never left my face. The easy association and shared interests and beliefs substantiated our long-distance bond.  


It might have been a coincidence, but it seemed Doug’s interests also influenced the local burger and ice cream shop. We had to show our support, and after ordering, we enjoyed the meal at Doug and Sharon’s home.

We laughed for hours while sharing the trip’s stories and learning of our gracious hosts’ diverse and exciting lives. Doug offered an alternate route to avoid Cleveland’s city streets, and we set a 0630 wake-up call.

The evening had to end, and it wasn’t long before we missed our new forever friends. Thankfully there is nothing imaginary about the virtual cycling community, and we will meet again soon. Kristin and I look forward to returning the favor in real life.

Commodore Perry IPA, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH

About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Forty-Six—Douglas Mastroianni

Here is what Doug had to say—”I’m 62. Not enough space for all that here :- ) Sunday and Monday are the highlight IRL rides of my summer! It’s not often I get to ride with a peer and do what I do best, pace it like a metronome-a deluxe domestique. It was really cool to settle into my endurance zone and not worry about dropping you. And not worry if we pick up the pace here and there. Super cool having an RV support crew popping up the road. You are very lucky to have such a dedicated team!


It was so nice to have you and your crew in Monroeville! While the riding was fine, your company was super. We can’t really talk much in line on the road, so it was great to spend time with you, Kristin, and Rudy! The experience was great for us! I think we permanently impacted each other’s lives in a positive way.


You are truly an inspiration to everyone in the DIRT community. We are living vicariously through your adventures😀

Safe Travels back to Long Island!!”


Amount Raised to Date—$9,129


Thank you, Doug!


Now off to Solon, 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.

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