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Cycling 100 miles in memory of a dear family member and friend


On Sunday, September 7th, Eric Braun, Jim Gordon, Kasia Konrad Zalewski, Rod Wilmore, and Leszek Andruskiewicz cycled in the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen’s Annual Fall Century Ride in memory of Lech Zalewski to raise funds for the Kidney Cancer Association.

In the words of Eric Braun, Lech was an "outgoing, outspoken, hard-working individual who continued to manage the Panera Bread comissary in Franklin, MA despite his disease. In honor of Lech, Panera has created a special award called ’The Zalewski Award’ which will be given to the Panera associate who demonstrates the highest commitment to bread and passion for baking. Lech loved life greatly and pursued his passion for biking as long as possible." Five years ago, he inspired Eric Braun to take up biking. This resulted in their participation in a century ride (100 miles) that left them exhausted but exhilarated.

Eric’s description of the September 7th Century Ride is below:

"Well, we finished another successful ride for Kidney Cancer. Despite Tropical Storm Hanna’s efforts to wash us away and blow us off of our bikes, six of us braved the morning weather to begin the ride. Quickly, it turned out to be a beautiful day, reaching about 80 sunny degrees with only mild winds. Only a few miles into the ride, Rod made acquaintance with a stick, which caught in his wheel, snapped his derailleur and bent a part of his frame. Kasia and I waited with him for the SAG help. Somehow, the timing of the accident was not aligned with the stars and the wait was long. I biked 4 miles back to a sign advertising a bike shop and then returned to Rod and Kasia who were counting the bikers passing by and trying to think up the best answer when asked, "Is everything ok?". We called the bike shop who came quickly and eventually fixed the bike at their shop. By now, Leszek was whizzing past his 50 mile mark and Konrad and Jim were about an hour behind him. With our long delay behind us, we rejoined the ride midway and had a great rest of the day. The final 10 miles were hard for all of us, whether we did 50 miles or 100 miles. Afterwards, like always, we basked in the glory of having completed the ride successfully and the feeling of our bodies still burning calories for hours after the ride. Sitting on the porch with a cold drink, I thought about Lech and how I wished I could tell him about the ride like I did last year. With Konrad completing his first Century Ride, I knew that Lech would have been so proud of his son."

Congratulations to  Eric Braun, Jim Gordon, Kasia Konrad Zalewski, Rod Wilmore, and Leszek Andruskiewicz on this great accomplishment!




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