The Zommunique logo June '23


DIRT Dad Fundo Across America—Day Fifty

“Their roar is around me. I am on the brink Of the great waters—and their anthem voice Goes up amid the rainbow and the mist.” —Grenville Mellen

Each day the rides get a little harder, and today, it took about 30 miles before my legs remembered how to pedal in some facsimile of circles. That’s also when cycling circumstances reminded me of how fortunate I’ve been with weather and mechanicals.

The electronic shifting has been finicky, and the hack that worked for several thousand miles finally realized that I’m not MacGyver. So did I, and when my frustration met its max, I continued with only two gears, the big ring and the small ring.  


When the Schwenk Tank rolled up on me, I had made it ten more miles. A detour to Walmart to purchase a tent delayed them. More on that later.


We replaced the shift lever batteries and found the perfect princess and the pea position for the rear derailleur battery after what seemed like a zillion tries in our makeshift roadside repair shop.


A raindrop rolled off my cheek that I confused with a tear of joy and thought nothing of it—I was finally back on the road.

The conditions worsened fast, and I had no choice but to pay attention. The drops felt like quarters pelting my face, and the ponding pools obscured the potholes lurking beneath. Despite the urging of the crew on the first sign of lightning, I kept going. It didn’t continue, and I’d come this far, “What’re another twenty miles?” I thought.

The answer is borderline safety and sure misery. A tornado touched down ten miles away, unbeknownst to the crew and me, and I finally did at our overnight destination in East Aurora, NY. My TSS (Totally Stupid Score) had reached a new PB. Today wasn’t supposed to be about the ride.

Kristin and I hadn’t seen our daughter in seven weeks. Kayla and our son, Conor, flew into Rochester, and a friend drove them to meet us in Lewiston, NY. The tent is for them.


The Schwenk Tank says it will accommodate seven. I’m sure that isn’t accounting for one being a cyclist that gets up a 0400 to arrange and re-arrange his things. They can all vote for who gets the tent and away from me.  

They elected for a jetboat tour of the Niagara river, and I opted for a salmon burger and a bench to put my legs up. Guess what? The pilot powered them right into the storm that had chased us all day.


It also got me, again. No, I didn’t get wet. I was looking forward to a meeting with a friend and fellow ZOM collaborator Adam Upshaw, years in the making. The border traffic was at a dead stop, and there was no way.

The first time I had something significantly impacting to write about, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. He didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him, yet Adam was selfless with his time and trusting with his knowledge. From that time forth, there’s no one I can count on more for loyal support and friendship.


Adam Upshaw has a Ph.D. in Exercise Metabolism and an MSc. in Exercise Physiology, and he lets me know it when necessary. He lives in Toronto with his wife and is a proud DIRT Dad to four children. Triathlon is his thing, and he is currently hard at training for the next big one.


It’s been several years since I wrote those articles on extreme dieting in virtual cycling, and we speak on a routine basis. I’m disappointed that the storm got in the way, but I know it would have been like we’d seen each other yesterday.

Water comes in many forms. It is soft, and we can mold it to any shape we wish, yet its force is undeniably unrelenting and beauty undeniable. I’ll happily deal with being drenched if this is what I get in return.

Special thank you to Ken and Carol Jones for their hospitality. They opened their home, and their driveway, to the Schwenk Tank and the kid’s tent, and were sincerely enthralled in the tales of our adventure. The generosity and interest extended to their children, one of which hosted our party at their East Aurora restaurant—Arriba Tortilla. By far the best Tex-Mex food and atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. If you’re anywhere near the area, it’s a no brainer!

About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Fifty—Adam Upshaw

Here is what Adam had to say—”I’m sitting in crazy traffic at the border buddy in a torrential downpour. I’ve moved 500m in the last 15 minutes. I’m so sorry!”


No worries, Friend! We’ll do it again.


Amount Raised to Date—$9,379


Thank you, Adam!


Now off to Rochester, NY!

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.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Zommuniqué

Virtual Velo Podcast logo final
Check out Episode Thirty here!

The Zommunique’ Community gets 10% off at with coupon code “TheZomm gives 10% off”   

The DIRT Dad Fund

Contribute to a great cause!

The DIRT Dad Fund

Share the power of The DIRT Effect

Jaclyn Long, MFT

Certified Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher

Marriage & Family Therapist in CA

Sports Anxiety Therapy

Drink Coffee and Do Good!  

What could be better than that?

Click the Image and Shop now!

Related Articles

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x