DIRT Dad Brad Hochstetler
Seven years ago we landed in Traverse City, Michigan after living the nomadic life of medical student, intern, Air Force flight surgeon, resident, and surgical fellow in the preceding 13 years.
I got a little emotional putting into words what DIRT means to me right now. Very early I found DIRT, during one of the very first Sprintapaloozas (there were 18 of us). I have loved watching it grow organically into an amazing group, attracting amazing people from all around the world. Quickly, I’ve come to look forward to seeing my DIRT brothers at each ride or race even though this is a virtual group of people I’ve never met. Yet somehow we share common purposes in the grand scheme of life — working to become better dads, better cyclists and better men.
DIRT is the group that exemplifies all the best potential of the Zwift community and the ripples this group has created are far-reaching. Thanks for becoming the band of brothers I never knew I was missing! Ride On!
I count myself incredibly lucky to have a healthy, active, loving and supportive family. We still feel like kids, but my lovely wife and I have been married 18 years. We have three amazing kids: two sons (14, 12) and a daughter (10) — they bike, run, swim and ski and are sure to keep me young for a long time. I am an ophthalmologist specializing in cornea transplants and cataract surgery. I’m privileged to have a profession that is enjoyable, challenging and rewarding. Many days I get to give sight back to people who have lost it. However, a busy job, busy family, 4+ months of barely usable weather, and northern latitude-limited daylight make it difficult to stay in shape as a cyclist.
Northern Michigan provides some amazing settings for road and mountain bike rides. We’re fortunate to have an enthusiastic cycling community in Traverse City. We also have great A-race events nearby (Iceman Cometh, Barry Roubaix). Every Saturday morning from April through October, I ride with a great group of guys — all dads, all busy professionals. We always ride at first light. A handful of local mountain bike races keep us motivated.
Once the weather turns, though, we go our separate ways for winter fitness. Some go towards nordic skiing, some to treadmills, some, like myself, to indoor spin and cycling classes. When I joined Zwift three years ago, it was a revolution for me in maintaining and building fitness in the 6 month “off-season” of Northern Michigan. Still, I missed that camaraderie, accountability and brotherhood every winter season — and then I found DIRT.