DIRT Dad Chris Ostberg

DIRT Dad – Chris Ostberg: I have been an active bike rider most of my life.  I enjoyed MTB and crit racing growing up in the 1990’s and worked in bike shops during high school and college.

What’s your story leading you to zwift, how long have you been riding?

I have been an active bike rider most of my life.  I enjoyed MTB and crit racing growing up in the 1990’s and worked in bike shops during high school and college.  Sometime after college, my focus shifted away from fitness.  My life priorities were on my career and starting a family with my wife and my personal health unfortunately took a backseat.  In hindsight, it was probably the lack of free time.

In 2016, I was physically at an all time low.  My energy was not there, I was obese at 260 lbs and it was negatively impacting my health.  My joints hurt and my blood values were not where they should be.  I knew I needed to make changes for myself, and more importantly to be able to provide to my two children (10yo daughter, 4yo son).

When I was younger, I did some running but never enjoyed it like biking.  I knew getting back on the bike would be the key to getting back into shape.  After spring break, I vowed to my wife and myself that I would change.  Progress came relatively quick and I immediately saw the weight disappear.  It was incredibly motivating.  I’m a pretty competitive person, so finding Strava really added fuel to the fire.  Now I could see how slow I really was and how fast the fast guys were.  I had something to shoot for.

Finding Zwift was a natural progression.  I live in Michigan where we face tough winters, taking time “off” wasn’t an option.  I’m a tech/data oriented person and the whole concept of Zwift really appealed to me and served as a great motivator.  I love trying to improve my fitness metrics.  I love shooting for better segment and lap times.  I love Zwift racing.

What do you do for work and how has zwift helped family and work balance?

Both my wife and I are professionals in the car industry so we lead pretty busy lives trying to balance work and family.  I’m a powertrain engineer for a large automaker.  Obviously that goes hand in hand with being a bike data nerd.  I stare at my Training Peaks trying to improve my performance in the same way I stare at a vehicle data log trying to improve its performance.

Zwift allows me to maximize my training time and minimize time away from famliy duties.  I don’t need to drive anywhere to ride.  I can do it anytime day/night.  I don’t need to clean/service my bike after every ride.  The laundry impact is minimal (wife really appreciates this!)  I’ve found the only way I can meet my training goals is to get up before the rest of the family and get my workouts in before sunrise.  Then I can go upstairs and get the kids ready for school.

How did you first notice DIRT and why you decided to join? 

I think I first saw it on Facebook.  I instantly felt a connection to the idea, as there are many dads like me out there with similar struggles.  We’re all trying to better ourselves, have a little fun, but not detract from our roles as dads.  I always say I’m 70% fun/30% serious when it comes to cycling and I think DIRT follows that ratio well.  Sure, we want to win – but mostly we’re out for a good time and a few dad jokes.
I instantly recognized how positive this group is.  Everyone is supportive and the DIRT groups have far less of the typical “bickering” that plagues some of the other online Zwift oriented groups.  Y’all are good people, that’s what appealed to me the most.  Once I did a few Morning Grind Fondos, I was hooked.  The racing was great and the comrade and banter afterwards was magnificent.  And once you show up in one of Shawn McAfee’s brilliant race recap videos, there’s no turning back.

You said your journey is far from over.  What is your next goal in this journey?

Since 2016, I’ve been able to make steady gains in fitness and performance.  I have lost about 60 lbs, then put a few pounds of lean muscle back on.  I’ve brought my FTP from less than 200w to nearly 400w.  Last year I took 3rd in my age group in Expert class MTB, 2nd overall in short course gravel, and won the short course Fat Bike series here in Michigan.  There isn’t really an end game, but I will keep pushing and see how much further I can go.  My goal is 200 lbs, 10% body fat, 400w FTP and I’m nearly there.

What advice would you give to other Clydesdales out there just learning about Zwift?

1.)  Biking and Zwift can be a great tool to help reach your weight loss goals.I started losing weight with no diet changes.  Once the weight loss slowed, I slowly tweaked my diet which made further improvements.

2.)  Don’t underestimate your potential.  In Zwift racing with w/kg classes, bigger guys can have an advantage!  Learn what you’re good at and how to use your power and weight to your benefit.

3.)  Fasted morning rides are great!  It will help your weight loss and improve your resistance to bonking.

4.)  Feel free to reach out to me if you need any tips or advice, I’ve been there!

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4 Comments

  1. Shawn McAfee

    I love this guy. Hardcore competitor in any category he enters. Rock on Chris! Love hearing your story!

    Reply
  2. josewence

    Very cool, Chris! You’re the big, lovable bear of the A-squad and I’m thrilled to have you as a teammate. Great story! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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