For Golisano Children’s Hospital with love at the inaugural Gran Fondo at the Twilight Criterium

For Golisano Children’s Hospital with love at the inaugural Gran Fondo at the Twilight Criterium

2016 Rochester Criterium first finisher Katy Wisnowski and second finisher David Kramer 8.13.17. 12: 17 pm [Photo: Scott Bass of Full Moon Vista]

After shattering records at last year’s Twilight Criterium, I knew I would have a target on my back.

Sporting the Dick Ide shirt given to me by Richard Ide last year when riding in his pace car, I felt good at 8.13.16, 12:17 p.m. with the finish line a few tantalizing yards ahead.

Suddenly rookie Katy Wisnowski swooped past me in a blur. Dethroned!

A worthy champion, Katy was at the Criterium to participate in the inaugural Golisano Gran Fondo, a new VIP experience charity ride to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

After winning the 2016 Rochester Twilight Criterium, Katy is primed for her triathalon. [Photo: Kyle Mims of Lori’s Natural Foods]

A registered nurse (Aquinas HS, University of Buffalo). Katy was supporting a cause dear to her and as part of her training for a September triathalon. Loving to push herself, in June Katy set her sights on a 1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike and 3.2 mile run to be held in Canandaigua. A piece of cake for Katy, she took the afternoon Gran Fondo 50 mile trek to Avon and back.

At event headquarters in the atrium of the Blue Cross Arena, John Halleran (Golisano Gran Fondo Co-Founder along with Scott Page) explained that the Gran Fonda was technically a Pro-Am cycling event. Participants enjoyed rides designed for different levels of ability, including a 10 and 50 mile road tour.

John was thrilled at the turnout. And the passing rain on the tours would just cool down bikers if not keep them hydrated.

(l-r) pinner David LeVant, pinee Katy Wisnowski, John Halleran (backup support) Blue Cross Arena, 8/13/16

(l-r) Rachel Gordon and Carla LeVant with GCH’s mascot Sandy

The Blue Cross atrium also turned out to a be a mini-Brighton High School reunion.

There was event volunteer David LeVant ’84 (brother of Anne LeVant ’81), supporting his wife Carla (née Stolnitz) ’81, the senior social worker in the Pediatric Department of Strong Hospital. Among his various duties, David’s specialty was pinning numbers on bicyclist’s back. John gave him all thumbs of up for pinning prowess.

In a labor of love and hope, Carla has devoted the last 30 years to working with pediatric patients and families. As a “cycling addict,” Carla said today’s event is “the meeting of two passions.”

I also saw Rachel Gordon — yet another BHS grad — for the first time in about 25 years since I was a supposed fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. An avid cyclist, Rachel looks like she’s kept up her JCC workout program. Rachel had gladly helped publicize the event.


On their way to Avon. (front left to right) Carla, Rachel and Amy

Rachel’s video proving I had done the 50 mile trek back and forth to Avon 


Photo provided by Rachel Gordon

Rachel convinced me to join the expedition and, like her, had a great time. Upon our return to the atrium, Rachel described her experience:


Frankie Andreu (left)

Despite an early flat tire on East River Road, heavy rains, thunder and a very strong headwind, I wouldn’t have missed this event and the chance to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Like last year, the featured Twilight Criterium race announcer was Frankie Andreu who rode as team captain of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team in 1998, 1999 and 2000. As he did last year, Frankie took some time to discuss frankie announcingthe nuances of the art of cycling announcing.

Jim 2

Photo: Jim Callahan. Jim’s photos have appeared several times in the magazine. 8/13/16

jim 1

Photo: Jim Callahan 8/13/16

Unlike other team sports, there are no big plays like a touchdown or home run.  Instead, cycling is a continuous series of subtle manuevers and tactics. Like a multi-multi dimension game of moving chess in which each player positions himself against the others to gain minute advantages — often indiscernible within the whirl of hundreds of closely packed wheels. Frankie can convey only a portion of what his trained eye sees with each turn: shifting gears, body tilts, the softest of breakings.

in rain

10 seconds into the Men’s Race

Aiming at the casual fan, Frankie says his main job is to know as much as he can about every race and venue in which the rider’s have been on the cycling circuit: across the United States and Canada, Australia and Europe. Frankie then weaves a shifting portrait by juxtaposing Rochester with the venues around the world and at different seasons. He might compare our distinctive urban short course crossing two river bridges (Court and Broad) with the hills of France.

And tonight’s evening with fading sunshine on one side of the river and dark clouds on the other, with rainfall both intermittent and in sudden outbursts, and lighting behind Xerox Tower and the Times Union Building made for a particularly dramatic portrait as riders tested themselves and the elements.  As Frankie said, a perfect night for photographers (and announcers).

dick ide

Richard Ide (center right in blue) with his crew behind the Times Union Building


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About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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