New routes means higher visibility for 2011 LSRFA

Even though Event Manager Jerry Calumn was told routing riders through Dallas and Fort Worth wasn’t possible, he refused to take ‘can’t’ for an answer

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When he took over as the new event manager of Lone Star RideFighting AIDS, Jerry Calumn started hearing about a number of things he “couldn’t do.”

For instance, LSRFA cyclists said they wanted people to come out and cheer them on. But the route the last few years has been mostly rural, and getting groups out was something Calumn “couldn’t do,” he was told.

Riders told him they wanted to ride where people would see them.

“Riders felt disconnected from the cities we serve,” Rider Retention

Co-Chair Michael Wilkesen said.

But changing the route was something Calumn was told he “couldn’t do,” because permits and other obstacles would make it too expensive and logistics would make it too hard.

But Calumn wasn’t willing to settle for “couldn’t do.” So through the summer, he worked quietly with Wilkesen, mapping out a new route and making plans to get people out to cheer on the riders.

The ride begins and ends again this year at the American Airlines

Training and Conference Center in North Arlington, as it has for the past few years. The difference this year is that instead of making loops northwest of the center on Saturday and southeast on Sunday through suburban and rural terrain, this year’s routes move through Fort Worth on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday.

“And you know what it cost us?” Calumn said. “Nothing. Not one damn penny.”

Calumn encouraged the community to come and cheer for riders and suggested some of the best times and places to do that.

The routes

Pit stops and lunch stops for the riders are great places for supporters to gather and cheer them on.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Pit Stop 2 will be at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth. Riders are expected through there between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Pit 3 is the lunch stop. That takes place at the Pour House on 7th Street between downtown Fort Worth and the Cultural District. Riders attempting the 100-mile “century” route to Eagle Mountain Lake must leave lunch by 11:30 a.m. Other riders may linger here until 2:30 p.m.

One of the highlights of the Fort Worth route will be 22 miles along the Trinity Trail. That scenic system of trails follows the Trinity River as it winds through the city. Riders will pick up the trail near Texas Christian University after the Rainbow Lounge pit stop, detour off the trail for about a mile for the lunch stop and then pick it back up for the ride around the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Wilkesen said that unfortunately the ride cannot go through the Stockyards because of the bike-unfriendly cobblestones in the area.

Day 2 takes riders through Irving to Dallas, then back to the American Airlines training center for closing ceremonies.

The first stop is the new Irving Convention Center.

“It’s an architectural gem sitting in the middle of Las Colinas,” Calumn said.

He said that Irving was excited about the ride coming through the city and was very helpful. Riders travel through Irving both in the morning and afternoon.

A highlight of the Sunday route will be riding through Oak Lawn. This will be the first time the ride has traveled down Cedar Springs Road.

Pit Stop 2 will be at Station 4. Most bike riders will pass Cathedral of Hope between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The church promised a cheering section as riders pass.

From there the route turns north on Turtle Creek Boulevard and crosses Highland Park before heading north to Webb Chapel Park.

The ride through Irving will be on the Campion Trail. “Irving invested well in its park system and it shows,” Calumn said.

He called the highlight of the afternoon the stop in North Lake Ranch Park, located on one of the highest points in north Dallas County and with a panoramic view of the area. Of course, for riders, that’s a mixed blessing: To get to the highest point means riding up hill. And the uphill ride comes in the afternoon after they have already pedalled more than 40 miles.

But once there, the ride back to base camp for closing ceremonies is mostly down hill.

Both Calumn and Wilkeson said they believe that the higher visibility of the routes this year will help with organizers’ ongoing efforts to grow the ride.

“With more visibility, we’ll get more riders,” Wilkesen said.

In a battle of Dallas vs. Fort Worth, Wilkesen suggested Irving wins as the city most aggressively interested in bringing the ride through town. He said the city even mapped a safe and scenic route for him, saving him a lot of time.

Calumn said Fort Worth has the most sophisticated plan to host groups like this. In Dallas he met with police, parks and events separately. He complimented each department for its cooperation.

But, he said, Fort Worth held one meeting with him that also included the health department.

“That way, police can talk to streets,” he said. “It’s very helpful.”

Closing ceremonies take place at the AATCC at 5 p.m. The Riderless Bike leads the procession as riders return and complete a year of fundraising that is expected to bring the total raised in event history to more than $2 million.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS closing ceremonies, American Airlines Training and Conference Center, 4501 Highway 360 South, Fort Worth (just south of DFW Airport). 5 p.m. Everyone welcome.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSRFA announces new route

Poz Pedalers will lead the LSR parade entry and wheel the riderless bike down Cedar Springs Road

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Just a week before the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, Event Manager Jerry Calumn has revealed the new route for the ride.

Rather than travel though country roads making a loop to the north and west of the American Airlines Training and Conference Center on Saturday, and a loop to the south and east on Sunday, this year’s ride will travel through the Metroplex’s largest cities.

Riders on Saturday will make a loop through Fort Worth, including a pit stop at the Rainbow Lounge and one downtown at The Pour House on 7th Street.

The Sunday route will include a pass by Cathedral of Hope and then travel down Cedar Springs Road for the first time in the ride’s history.

Cathedral of Hope is planning a cheering section. A pit stop is scheduled along the route at Station 4.

The fastest riders should make it to Cedar Springs Road by 9 a.m. while slower pedallers will follow until about 11 a.m.

Calumn said that while last year’s route was scenic, riders wanted to interact with people along the way. With the mostly rural routes followed in recent years, that hasn’t happened.

At first, Calumn said, he thought the ride might stop by the Mustangs in Las Colinas. But another event was scheduled for the square that houses the statue. Instead, the city of Irving arranged for a stop at the new Irving Convention Center.

“Irving really wanted us,” Calumn said. “We’re thrilled to be stopping at the newest, greatest architecture in Irving.”

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Lone Star Ride held a pre-ride event at S4 to recognize those who had excelled in their fundraising.

In bicycling races, yellow is the color traditionally worn by the race leader. To recognize the top fundraisers, 45 yellow polos were awarded for those who had raised more than $1,000, and 27 yellow jerseys given to those who had collected more than $2,000.

This week, the ride topped the $2 million mark in collective fundraising over its 11 years. The money will be distributed to beneficiaries AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas.

Chance Browning is the participant fundraising chair of the LSRFA Council and has been working to find ways to help riders meet their fundraising goals.

He said he has been spending the past few weeks calling riders to give them fundraising suggestions, often recommending “a multi-pronged approach.”

Browning suggested riders send emails to friends, family and business associates, with links to the LSRFA website. The website provides a fundraising badge for riders to post on Facebook that links back to the rider’s page where donations can be made.

Also, Browning suggested, “Check your company to see if they offer matching funds.”

He said holding fundraising parties works for some people. But he said riders need to keep talking to people and asking for the money.

Browning said he rode for two years, but helping other people raise their money was his way of contributing this year.

In 2010, Dean Wilson was the development director for LSR and now is development associate for Resource Center Dallas. He said he’d be at the ride representing RCD, one of the beneficiaries. He’ll also be cheering on his partner.

“Last year was my partner’s first ride,” Wilson said. “We both had such an amazing time, we can’t wait til this year.”

To begin the final countdown to the 2011 LSRFA, a number of  ride participants will walk down Cedar Springs in the Pride parade on Sunday, Sept. 18. The Poz Pedalers — the team of HIV-positive riders and their supporters — will lead the group, walking the riderless bike, which memorializes those lost to AIDS, down the parade route.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place on Sept. 24 and 25. Riders will stay at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Arlington on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday late afternoon closing ceremonies, which will include a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale, will take place there at the training and conference center.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal:Pedalling — and padding — his way to Zen

Chef Kerry Chace says cycling is a great way to burn off calories and relax, as long as you’ve got the proper gear

Kerry-Chace.LSR-cutout
Kerry Chace

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

If you had told Kerry Chace a few years ago that cycling would one day become akin to a spiritual practice, he would’ve thought you were joking. But now, the joke’s on him.

This second-year Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS cyclist can’t imagine not spending his spare time pedalling for his body and mind as well as his community.

“I’m a corporate chef so I consume a lot of calories during the week, and I have to burn them off,” Chace grins. “So every weekend I’ve got to get on my bike and burn off as many doughnuts as possible.”

Chace came to LSRFA last year after he saw a Twitter post about it. When he signed up to participate, though, he had no time to do any of the fundraising required of each cyclist: It was already mid-September — just two weeks before the event.

But that didn’t stop him.

“I just wrote the check myself at registration,” Chace recalls. “And all of a sudden, I was in the Ride.”

The Calgary native was no stranger to charity cycling events and had participated in the 1998 Texas Tanqueray AIDS Ride. But once the TTAR was over, he didn’t saddle up for another 12 years.

On a whim, Chace finally rolled out his bicycle again in the spring of 2010 and decided to go around White Rock Lake.

“[One day], some guy came up beside me and said, ‘Dude, you need to get a better bike.’ [I suddenly became aware that] I was pushing big fat tires and an old bicycle.”

And, Chace said, that wasn’t his only sudden realization.

“What you see on a bike [is not what] you would see if you were in the car,” he says. “If you’re up by White Rock Lake, you can see the sailboats. It’s amazing what you become aware of and smell and see.”

To hear Chace talk, you would almost think that he is describing a spiritual experience. And in fact, he is: His lakeside outings helped him find inner tranquility and balance.

“I’ve told others that maybe [the feeling comes] because I’m moving faster than my brain is working,” he explains. “It’s a very calm feeling I get when I’m riding, even though it could be 110 degrees and I’m going uphill.

“I just kind of lose myself, so I say that it’s yoga on wheels.”

He chuckles: “Some people think I’m absolutely crazy. But while I’m riding, my mind is clear; it’s really Zen.”

His cycling experiences have only been enhanced by participating in the LSRFA. Not only has the Dallas chef been able to indulge his newfound passion for “yoga on wheels,” he’s also been able to make many new friends while celebrating the lives of those he’s lost to the AIDS epidemic.

Chace says he has also gotten to know a lot about himself and the proper way to enjoy cycling.

“I remember when I first got my jersey and bike shorts. I didn’t think [the shorts] were very flattering; it was vanity, I guess. I’m like, ‘Wow, this doesn’t make my butt look very good.’ So I got some really cheap ones with very thin padding,” he recalls.

Chace now understands that to achieve a state of Zen bliss, he must be mindful of the choices he makes on the physical plane.

“You really want as much padding as you can back there,” he grins. “Get yourself a good pair of shorts or you will be looking for a pillow.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal: New friends and a new commitment

Ana-Maria Baker started out last year as a LSRFA cyclist because she saw it as another way to get fit. Then she made friends with riders who were HIV-positive, and her view of the ride changed

Ana-Maria Baker

M.M. ADJARIAN  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

The Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS may have been born in the Dallas-Fort Worth LGBT community. But as second-year cyclist Ana-Maria Baker well knows, the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects everyone — and you don’t have to be gay to care.

Baker, a revenue management professional for Hilton Hotels, came to participate in LSRFA the same way that so many other people do: through the suggestion of a friend who happened to have been affiliated with the ride.

“He [the friend] knew that I was into fitness,” Baker says. “And I thought it would be a good challenge for me, so I signed up.”

Although Baker was a runner and a regular at her local gym, she was totally new to cycling. But once in the saddle, she became happily addicted to the two-wheeled experience.

“It’s awesome!” she raves. “With working out, you can get bored because your body gets used to it. But every time [I go cycling], it’s something new.”

The fact that she was doing something she adored in service of a good cause made it that much easier for her to keep up with her newfound hobby. But it was the relationships she established along the way that made her want to commit to LSRFA long term.

“I made a particularly good set of friends last year,” recalls Baker. “On the morning before the ride, I noticed they all had the same jerseys on. And I said, ‘Hey, how come I didn’t get the message about the matching jerseys?’

“One of them made a joke and said, ‘Honey, you don’t want to wear this jersey,’” she continues. “[Then I found out] that the jersey stood for the Positive Pedaler team — my [new] friends were all HIV-positive.”

In the blink of an eye, what for Baker had just been a fitness event suddenly became much more personal.

“These were people I had gotten to know really well,” she says. “[But] I had [had] no idea that they were impacted by the disease. It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize what I was riding for.”

The event has now become a family affair. This year, Baker’s husband, a paramedic, will be serving on the LSRFA medical team.

“He’s gotten to know some of the friends I made last year, so he really wants to be part of it, too,” Baker says. “He wants to help out because he thinks the LSRFA is such a neat thing.”

As straight supporters of the ride, the Bakers know they are in the minority. But this fact doesn’t faze either one of them.

“Nobody makes you feel any different because [ultimately] you aren’t,” says the sophomore cyclist.

Her participation in LSRFA has also given Baker insights that have deepened her understanding of the friends and community on whose behalf she — and now her husband — volunteer.

“I feel that the gay community is a lot more accepting than the straight community,” Baker remarks. “And for them to be so accepting of me — well, it just makes me sad for the straight community and how we treat [LGBT people].”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Fashion’s Night Out at Willow Bend

Not your usual night at the mall
Neiman Marcus hosts this year’s Fashion’s Night Out, a swanky event with both men’s and women’s collections, light nibblies and a DJ. The night benefits Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

DEETS: The Shops at Willow Bend, 2201 Dallas Parkway, Plano. 6 p.m. $50–$100. Zvents.com.

—  Rich Lopez

LSR Journal: 2 of a kind — but different

Paul Cross and Jim McCoy were single when they each started volunteering for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS; now as a couple, their dedication is renewed

Paul Cross, left, and Jim McCoy

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

If ever two people exemplified the idea of “different strokes for different folks,” it’s longtime Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS supporters Paul Cross and Jim McCoy.

Each man loves to cycle, especially if he’s with the other. But as for the individual approaches Cross and McCoy take to bike riding — that’s another matter entirely.

Both men have either participated in or donated to the LSRFA since 2001, the year the ride began. In that inaugural ride, when both were still single, Cross served as a pit crew volunteer and McCoy cycled.

By 2003, however, the two bachelors had become life partners and rode together in LSRFA as a couple. Their commitment to each other took top priority after that.

“We had been meaning to get back to it [the ride] over the last three or four years,” says McCoy, a consultant in healthcare IT. “It’s just one of those things we had in common — our [desire to help] the community.”

Shared goals have made for a strong union between the two men. But it’s the differences that have kept their relationship consistently interesting. Take, for example, their divergent cycling styles.

“[After we got together,] people kind of laughed at us: They called us the Tortoise and the Hare,” McCoy says. “When I want to go fast, Paul goes slow. And then when Paul wants to go fast, I want to go slow.”

These differences in style translate into differences in perspective. If McCoy tends to be the one more eager to get from one point to another as quickly as possible, his partner takes special pleasure in smelling the proverbial roses along the way.

“I like to just ride and look around and just watch everything,” says Cross, a banker.

“But then when we get to a hill, I’m the one with the energy,” he adds with a certain smugness.

The behavior these 40-something partners display in the saddle could not be more dissimilar. Yet both men are alike in how they carry exceptionally painful memories of the devastation HIV/AIDS wrought in the gay community.

“One of the things I’ll remember throughout my life is when This Week in Texas came out and there were no obituaries to report,” says McCoy. “That was in the late 90s. For a long time [before that], you had pages and pages of obituaries.”

What they saw in the dangerous decades of the 1980s and ’90s has served as the impetus behind their participation not only in the LSRFA, but in other HIV/AIDS-related causes such as Cheer Dallas and the AIDS Life Walk.

“We’re not ‘going out’ people,” admits Cross.  “But where there’s a fundraiser or event, we’re definitely there.”

The Tortoise and the Hare still haven’t decided how many miles they’ll be doing together in this year’s Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS: Tortoise says 180 and Hare says 150. Regardless of how far they plan to pedal or the approach each will take to reach the finish line, both are united in their belief that they’re cycling for a cause that matters.

Says McCoy, “With the way the economy is, there are a lot of people who need a lot of assistance. Programs are constantly getting cut.”

“Everyone seems to have put [HIV/AIDS] on the back burner like it’s not out there anymore, but it is,” adds Cross. “And we still need to raise awareness.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Pedaling Olives: An Evening with Michael Godard

Rock star meets high art

Dallas Voice, Wisby – Smith Fine Art Gallery and Hudson Ferus Vodka present an extraordinary collection of works by Artist Michael Godard. Michael Godard, is known as the explosive “Rockstar of the Art World”, and global top selling artist!

His world of art invites us into his lighthearted perspective of life surrounding us, with animated olives, grapes and, dancing strawberries. His unique portrayal of fun is an exciting combination of imagination and subtle humor, which evoke the creative side in “Olive” us right down through our souls. He has redefined art as we know it with a new definition and of course a punch line. Come meet Michael Godard at this very special event and enjoy complimentary beverages.

The night is also a fundraiser. Ten percent of proceeds from art sales will benefit Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS!

DEETS: Wisby-Smith Fine Art Gallery, 500 Crescent Court. 6 p.m. For more information, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 08.12.11

Friday 08.12

Goth queen for days
Save for Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 Say You Will, Stevie Nicks has been a bit off the radar until this spring. Now she’s on tour in support of her newest album In Your Dreams. The feathered and frocked queen of classic rock maintains her goth flair but still manages an air of relevance.

DEETS: With Michael Grimm. Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m. $35–$250. Ticketmaster.com.

…………………

Saturday 08.13

Call him ‘Mister’
By now you may already be partaking in A Weekend of Leather, but one of the weekend highlights will be the crowning at the A.W.O.L. Leatherman Contest. Err wait, they probably don’t give a crown there. Visit the website for a schedule of all the events happening.

DEETS: Crowne Plaza Dallas, 7050 N. Stemmons Freeway. 8 p.m. LeatherKnights.org.

…………………

Thursday 08.18

Rock star meets high art
Artist Michael Godard previews Pedaling Olives where olives and cocktails are the stars. Proceeds from the show benefit Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS which really rocks.

DEETS: Wisby-Smith Fine Art Gallery, 500 Crescent Court. 6 p.m. Wisby-Smith.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

LSR Journal: Overcoming doubts to ride for others

James Cannata
James Cannata

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Cycling for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS ultimately means giving people with HIV and AIDS a chance at a better quality of life. But as Dallas IT professional James Cannata can attest, saddling up on behalf of others can also offer unexpected lessons in faith and self-confidence.

Cannata had known about the LSR for a number of years prior to his official entry into it this year. But overweight as he was, Cannata never thought he could become an event participant, let alone an LSR cyclist.

“When I got my bike last year, it was the first one I’d owned since I was a teenager,” a somewhat embarrassed Cannata admits. And his first efforts at a return to cycling were frankly halfhearted.

He estimates that in 2010, he rode no more than six or seven miles; and the bicycle that was to have awakened his inner athlete became little more than a two-wheeled dust-collector.

Despite the anemic mileage totals, the 41-year-old Cannata was able to follow through on a health and fitness program he’d also begun at about the same time. When he finally took the Ride plunge at the LSR kickoff party last May, he had lost 30 pounds and kicked a 25-year-plus smoking habit.

Says the IT tech,“ I thought to myself, ‘I’m in a little better shape now.’ I had come a long way in the last year-and-a-half, so I decided I could [finally] do the Ride and help out other people.”

But then Cannata had an attack of nerves. In his mind, he was a cycling newbie whose sole experience with fundraising had consisted of selling candy for his Cub Scout troop. Who was he to be doing the LSR?

“I called [event manager] Jerry [Calumn] and told him there was no way I would be able to raise my goal of $1,200,” Cannata recalls. “Besides which, we were going to be riding on real streets on our bikes, with real traffic going by. And these were real miles in real weather.”

Cannata was ready to give the $200 he had already raised back to his sponsors. Calumn, who saw more in Cannata than he could see in himself, immediately got the flustered IT tech in touch with another, more experienced rider who took him on a test ride.

“And I just absolutely loved it,” Cannata beams. “I was kind of stunned that I had done 10 or 12 miles; it was just amazing for me. I couldn’t believe I’d done that, you know?”

Since then, Cannata has worked up to doing 30 miles per ride. Now he fully expects to achieve his goal of doing 90 miles during the two days the Ride will take place.

The encouragement he received from other LSR members helped Cannata believe in himself and carry on towards his goal. And as Cannata has moved along his path, he’s seen still other positives emerge.
“When I look at the people who have donated to this ride,” he says, “it’s amazing to see the level of support, especially [among] my heterosexual allies who are very close friends. They have donated quite a bit of money. It’s just so amazing that these people are proud of me for doing this.”

The upcoming Ride will be a challenge for Cannata, but one he’s now ready to embrace with open arms. After all, all the hurdles he has — or has yet — to overcome, are nothing compared to those facing the people for whom he is riding.

“There are just some people who don’t have the financial means to take care of their basic day-to-day needs,” says Cannata. “But I’m going to know that I took part in changing someone’s life [by] putting food on someone’s table for a couple of months. Or getting someone medicine [or] emotional support.”

Radiant with newfound self-belief, he adds, “Whatever effort, whatever pain I [go] through [will be] so worth it.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For details or to donate to a specific rider or team or to the ride in general, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS Casino Party tonight

Expect a full house

Lone Star Ride hosts their fourth annual casino night which is so much more than a poker felt on a table. Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em poker all come in to play tonight as players feel like they are in Vegas for the night. Hopefully you’re a good player because all those winnings can be spent on the silent auction which includes gift certificates, hotel packages and so much more.

It’s a blast of a night and all you have to throw down is cash for the ticket. The chips are given to you upon entering. How can you possibly beat that? Well, maybe by helping raise money for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, that’s how.

DEETS: Audi Dallas, 5033 Lemmon Ave. 7:30 p.m $50 advance, 65 door. For tickets, click here.

—  Rich Lopez