Life Without Lupus - Wheels for a Life without Lupus: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lots of miles, but wait...we Rang the Bell for Lupus!

Astonishing. Humbling. Invigorating. Inspirational.

How else can I possibly describe the experience my daughter and I had of being in two different worlds but taking part in the ringing of the bell at the NY Stock Exchange on Wall Street for 'The Ride for Life without Lupus?' I'm certainly not a Wall Street titan, but I was there, "ringing" (actually...pushing a little green button) it with CNBC, Fox, CNN all aiming their cameras toward the podium. That's the LWL crew on the stage with me (and Elise, a world-class friend and business associate). My daughter was in my heart and soul as I thought about how great this would be for her and all of the Lupus patients around the world. For 10 seconds while I held the button down, the ride to Daytona seemed like a breeze. And, the market opened up that day, big-time. When the market is down 400 points, I'll bet others don't ring the bell and clap and smile as much as we did! 120 million people watch the opening every day. Imagine! The NYSE put on the Ritz for us: we got the inside tour, a killer breakfast, commemorative medallions and a history lesson. How can I ever thank Chris at the Exchange who called me at 345pm the day before to ask if we'd be interested in doing it? And, to my brother in-law who's a cop there and went on his own personal mission to get us in. And, to the people who visited the site and donated at nearly 75% more than the day before! Go Lupus, go!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Coach used to call them that. One in the morning, and one at night. With one more week of early and late light, I thought I'd get a few extra rides in, and what a morning today was. Wow. Along Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove, Bayville, Long Island, it was a spectacular and cool morning along the shores. And, no wind. Great riding day. I read about two world-class, US Olympic bike racers, Juli Furtado (Mountain Biking) and Dr. Christine Thorburn (Road, Time Trial), who have lupus in their lives. Juli is a former national champion who had to retire because of the fatigue associated with it, and Dr. Thorburn is a rheumatologist who doesn't have the disease but is working in the field of Lupus to find new treatments and a cure. Hopefully, we can track them down and rally the cause!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lost in Jersey, Six Flags, a flat and a Peach...

Answer: My Ride on Saturday! After cranking about 23 miles with a tailwind at my back, I was flying. But, I lost my train of thought and was so giddy about the ride that I ended up at...Six Flags! What? I really had no idea how I got there, but I kept on going thinking I could circle around, back to where I came from. Then came a sharp rock under the rear tire and, '..ssssss.' 20 minutes later (not bad timing for a guy that hasn't changed a tube out in over 20 years), and I headed back the other direction but, this time, with the marvelous wind that pushed me an average of 23 mph for an hour now was holding me back to 18. About the time I was looking for an eastward diversion, a farmstand with peaches appeared. A tasty giant peach, two bottles full of cold water, some directions (another 9 miles to go), I made it back to a very anxious family wondering where I went. As my mother used to say, 'don't think I wanna know what I don't wanna know.' I'd say.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A quick diversion...gettin' the levels checked!

I've moved my training to Rochester, Minnesota for a couple of days in order to check these bike legs into the Mayo Clinic just to be sure they're in tip-top shape. Nothing like a nose-to-toes checkup to be sure my machine is working. I'm just not sure how these Minnesotans feel about a nutty biker thrashing the bike machines in the gym all the while singing Dean Martin's, 'A Kick in the Head'! Since they're a client too, I'll catch some business time too, but it's all good for the soul, mind and legs!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Brad Coleman's blog notes - A NASCAR follow-up

Here's some thoughts from Brad, our formerly known as Nationwide driver, who just today qualified for Sunday's race in Michigan (first time, ever)...

"I really love driving racecars. I am more comfortable at 200 mph than I am sitting on the couch. Every now and then though, you get into situations like I was in at Watkins Glen. It was a good re-start and the two cars in front of me split in different directions. When they did I found myself launching off the No. 9 car. Next thing I know I am eight feet in the air and that is not where you are supposed to be in a racecar. Two wheels came down and finally all four hit the ground. My car appeared to be toast but believe it or not, it was still drivable. We had to come into the pits and fix some of the bent up sheet metal and parts of my car were totally gone. While I as in the pits getting the car fixed, I thought about those who have to fight Lupus. Kind of like in the race, I had to keep going regardless of what was in front of me. We came back with only a partial car, worked our way through the field, and brought the No. 27 Carino’s/Lupus car to a top 10 finish! Never, never give up out there, no matter what you face in your life!! I am lucky to get to race for a living, and I am also fortunate to be able to have the chance to help others like we did this weekend.”

Caponata and Leg Mush

If you've ever wondered whether caponata (eggplant and sorted other veggies/spices) is packed with carbs and if you could carbo-load with it, the answer is NO! Mom in-law, as a treat for getting ready for my Friday ride, made a killer dish, let me tell ya'. Unfortunately, it turns spinning bike legs to mush, blah, mud. I convinced myself I was peddling. Hah! I thought. The darn bike computer speed said I was slowing down. No more of that! Back to pasta. We had a great blog sign-up week and...raised money. Unbelievable. Thank you to you all. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I experimented with a few tweaks to the bike and spent more time stretching and...voil'a! Stoked some steam up the hills this morning, finally. As summer starts to wind down, the early summer flower smells are starting to fade and new ones are taking over: clove, dry grass and that early morning dampness. Some local folks are starting to wonder who this guy is in the dark with the flashing tailight and headlight - I'm thinking I'll start to wear a Life without Lupus jersey, but I'll need to flash a light on it so it can be seen! We're going to stir the local news pot a bit to see if we can get some stories out there. We're aiming for a 100 total Ride sign-ups this week, and we're about halfway there. Rheumatology test results back today for a good friend of mine who was just diagnosed with Lupus...fingers x-d!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Netherlands, Australia -?!!

How on earth our Lupus friends from the hinterlands found us is exactly why I decided to launch this Ride with a NASCAR connection. I know there are more out there from the people my daughter and I spoke with at the Race on Saturday. With 15 weeks to go until the Ride begins, the energy behind the people I'm meeting is building tremendous interest. Sign up with the other 50 people that have are already checking in to keep up. My goal is 1,000 sign-ups by racetime. And, we haven't even started buzzing in NY or along the route I'm taking (I know, I know, the map will be done soon!).

Much to do for our Lupus friends to connect them with answers and help. Oh, and I found those hills I was looking for on Sunday - the legs carried a nice long burn all day. I spun it out a bit this morning and, by tomorrow, there will be new hills and roads to climb, and Sunday's memories will be buried with new energy, for sure. Weird - I was sitting at a traffic light on Friday night around 930pm with my bike all lit up and some guy stopped to tell me that he was on the board of the bike company that owns the bike I'm riding (Serotta). Small world.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday's "Wheels for a Life Without Lupus" Kick-off at Watkins Glen, NY

Brad's on the left, I'm on the right, with my daughter, son and the "Life Without Lupus" logo in the center!

Photos Courtesy of Phil Cavali

And check out this action on the track --
Brad takes racing to new heights!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

We have Lift Off!

What an amazing day for Lupus and Brad Coleman Racing. My daughter and I met many people touched by Lupus, today. People in the NASCAR world, people outside of it, standing at the fence chatting it up with the drivers and even with sponsors like us. For those of you out there today, thank you, thank you! You inspired my daughter, son and me all day so we could take the Lupus message to a bigger audience. We succeeded thanks to Brad Coleman, his racing team, ESPN, all of the NASCAR press, and all of those people that we connected with today.

Brad finished 10th in one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-yanking, motivational runs I've ever seen. He got popped up in the air by another driver, shredding his front left hood and quarterpanel, got blinded for an agonizing amount of time by a ball of tape used to patch the damage, and he pounded that car through holes that no one else saw to finish in a place right up there with the big boys. This young hot-shot has arrived, and the Lupus community was part of it. And, he never scratched the Life without Lupus logos! We're definitely going to swing through Charlotte, North Carolina on our way to Daytona to see Brad in his hometown. Watch for photos from this awe-inspiring day. Coming soon.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Exciting News for Brad

Just announced: Brad Coleman is joining the Sprint Cup Series!
Hall of Fame Racing Makes Driver Change

Brad Coleman to make Sprint Cup Series Debut in No. 96 DLP® HDTV Toyota Next Week at Michigan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2008) – Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Wednesday that NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brad Coleman, who has been under contract as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, will make his Sprint Cup Series debut by piloting the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry in the Aug. 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

It's Dark out There!

Brad's NASCAR race is Saturday - can't wait! The Lupus community is starting to find out about the race and the Ride, so we're making progress. I heard of a couple of bicycle groups who might want to ride with me in a few places, so lots to do there, but in the meantime, I'm pounding the miles. Early and long days at the office leaves early, early and dark nights now for training. Long Island at night is very different than in the morning. While still pretty quiet, people are a lot less careful. I think I'll trade in my mini-headlight/tailight combo for a beacon strapped to my back. As Fall starts to crawl in and there is less morning and evening light, it'll take a traveling Mardi Gras to create a stir. Regardless, I had a great ride last night. I found some extra hills to ride on - they are much easier to climb when it's dark!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome to the Wheels for a Life Without Lupus Blog

Do I call this Day 1 or Day 34? For now, I think I'll count the days (made on my wife's birthday, July 4th!) since I made the decision to ride my bike to Daytona. Why am I doing this? For everyone suffering from Lupus, a nasty disease my daughter and 1.5 million other Americans have. Why now? Because I've had it with waiting and have to do something. So, I'm going to ride, rabblerouse my way through the backroads of the eastern US and end up at Daytona, Florida, home of the Daytona 500. And, so that I can raise some money as well as some noise, my family decided to sponsor a couple of rear quarterpanels on Brad Coleman's NASCAR at Watkins Glen this weekend. Pretty cool. We'll launch and introduce the Ride and Lupus to NASCAR. Fans who love racing and love NASCAR are the best. They care. They're real. And, they get hardship. Heading to the Glen on Saturday to fire up this gig. Bringing my daughter with me. To get ready for this Life without Lupus Ride at the end of November, I'm banking 200 miles/week but need to double that by the Ride. Early, dark mornings are the rage to train right now. So quiet. My legs aren't screaming anymore, so the training is more enjoyable although I need to find more hills. It's tough getting up, but I think about Brad's race this weekend and take a look at my Life without Lupus orange bracelet and know exactly why I'm doing this.