story & photos by Robin Beaudoin
Fledgling street cyclist Joey Palermino, 28, reflects the Grit & Grind of his employer, the Memphis Grizzlies, in training for a 545-mile bike ride this June. The ticket rep is in training for the AIDS LifeCycle Ride, spanning the gap between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The goal is to raise awareness and donations to help end AIDS. Thousands of cyclists will swarm upon Los Angeles and spend a week riding toward the finish line in San Francisco, raising awareness and funds for AIDS research.
Palermino was inspired by his race veteran sister Kat and her fiancé, Diane, in Oakland, California. About six years ago, Palermino picked up mountain biking, and last year he was inspired to train to join Kat on the street ride. “I’ve been looking for something to do with my sister for a long time, and I figured this would be a good opportunity. Every year, we find a time to get together.”
“The ride is about 80 miles a day, and this is the first time I’ve ever personally raised funds like this. The minimum is $3000, and I have just begun to collect the money for the race. Every year they raise about $15 million, so it’s a big fundraiser. It’s his goal to get there before June 3rd, when the race starts, “says Palermino, who is also racing for his own health. “I’ve also been looking for something to get in shape, and I like being outside, so cycling is a perfect opportunity to do that. My regular route when I ride starts at Crosstown (where his girlfriend lives), past Broad and Victory Bike Shop, and I take Tillman to the Greenline, all the way out to the end and back- roughly 30 miles. I’m riding with a trainer doing interval sessions, to build leg muscles and endurance. I can ride up to 50 miles right now.”
Native to Maryland, Palermino moved to Memphis in October of 2015 to work for the Grizzlies, and embraces all of Memphis, particularly the Crosstown community, where his girlfriend Carissa resides. “She has Crohn’s disease, requiring multiple surgeries, and it is an autoimmune disease- it’s incurable. She says she’s so proud of me doing this race, because AIDS is also an autoimmune disease, and it’s for people who have no cure. I am also riding for those who don’t have the healthy bodies to do it- I don’t take my health for granted,” notes Palermino.
Palermino’s trainer, Ryan Shankle, works to motivate and build endurance for the big race. “Joey’s never done distance riding before. To sign up for something this long is ambitious, but he has a drive, and he’s putting in the work. There’s no reason he shouldn’t finish. It’s for a great cause!” Shankle has done two 100-milers, as well as other training rides, and compares it to training for a marathon. “You never want to go the full distance; you want to build endurance and length without wearing him out. It’s really about making sure you’re prepping for everything, because we don’t know the weather conditions. Food, weather, preparing for elevations all come into play.” It’s safe to say he is in for the ride of his life.
It’s not too late to join to ride this June! Want to learn more about AIDS/LifeCycle? Visit https://www.aidslifecycle.org/ learn-more/ for information.