“Some folks like to get away Take a holiday from the neighborhood. Hop a flight to Miami Beach Or to Hollywood But I’m taking a (bike) On the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. I’m in a New York state of mind.” –- Billy Joel and me
Someone called it a logistical miracle. Somehow we managed to get three people, an RV, and a bike across the whole country safe and sound with a cozy place to stay and a hot meal each night, and it was the experience of a lifetime. I guess it’s true, but it didn’t feel like it to me. All I had to do was ride my bike.
Whenever anyone mentioned otherwise, my only justifiable thought was, “They work much harder than me!” I rolled most days at the crack of dawn, meaning their day started well before then.
While I made the last-minute personal preparations, Kristin made the bottles and food, and then we sat to finalize the route, turn by turn. A picture, a hug, and I was on my way to find the adventure for the day.
Uncle Rudy was usually in the shower then, and when he returned, the route was his to make the mileage calculations and develop the SWAG support plan. He knew I didn’t like to see them before an hour passed, but Kristin couldn’t let me get more than ten miles away after that. When she was back from the bathhouse, the chase was on.
Sometimes I would sense them coming up behind me, and other times they would be around the corner waiting. Every time it was all about me. “What do you need?” was always the question. Bottles and belly full, and we’ll see you in ten. With the precision of a Nascar pit crew, I was back on the road again.
When we couldn’t be ten miles away anymore, they went ahead to get it ready to run back the next day. Finding a store was often a chore, and then something for dinner, a local IPA, ice for the coolers (that held the overflowing beer from across the country), check-in to the campsite, park and hook up, and wait at the gate to greet me.
Kristin made some mean meals on the three-burner cook stove, and Uncle Rudy always had the Schwenk Tank there precisely when I needed it most. On top of that, dealing with me was the most challenging job of all.
It’s fitting that of all the days of the trip, tomorrow, the final day, will require the most logistical miracle work. We’re spending the night at Uncle Rudy and Aunt Faith’s house, thirty minutes from the trail where I left off today, and the Schwenk Tank isn’t welcome to stay. Once they valet the vehicles and drive me to the place to send me on my way, the work for the crew has only just begun.
Kristin will navigate the support vehicle with Aunt Faith at the controls, ensuring to stay within ten miles and get to the ferry with thirty minutes to spare. Uncle Rudy won’t be there, and it won’t be the same. He’s driving the RV around in time to meet me when I arrive. He’ll have plenty of time because another thirty miles awaits me on the other side of the ferry ride.
It may have been a logistical miracle, but not to us. It was all part of the adventure, the journey, and that’s what we were together to do. The experience wouldn’t have been as rich or fulfilling otherwise and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I don’t know how I will feel when I coast to a stop in my driveway tomorrow. I know it wouldn’t be the same, perhaps hollow, if we weren’t there together. It’s not a miracle, but it is an experience of a lifetime, and we shared it! All I had to do was ride my bike.
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Fifty-Seven—Carl Schwenker
I often say that my friends are the family I choose. More importantly, they decided to care and take the time to understand me; now, we’re closer than family. It took my brother Carl and me a while before we decided to take that time, but now we are like family should be, understanding each other’s flaws, accepting of our differences, and confident enough for it not to matter. His wife, Kelly, is the sister I got to choose, and together they are a big part of my family’s life. I felt the love all the way across the country! Thank you both for “getting” me and choosing to love us unconditionally, and meaning it.
Here is what my brother had to say—”Chris is my brother and my donation is support him on this incredible journey.”
Amount Raised to Date—$9,994
Thank you, Brother!
Next stop a 10:30 ferry reservation in Bridgeport, CT and then the home stretch from Port Jefferson to Jamesport, Long Island, 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.
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!
Congrats Chris! What an unbelievably remarkable accomplishment! It’s been so fun checking in on your rides everyday and your strength, positivity, and determination through all of the highs and lows that each day brought was amazing! Enjoy being in your own bed and give those legs some much needed rest 🙂
I felt the love from you and B! Thank you 🙏