Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

He Won't Leave the Party

Help make him GO!!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This last of the mega-AIDS rides closed registration in March and will kick off their 7-day journey from San Francisco with a record 3000 participants this Sunday. Kudos to all the Lifecycle volunteers and cyclists, including my friend Jill in her very first AIDS ride, expected to bring in $11million dollars to care for thousands of Californians affected by HIV/AIDS.

No doubt, Lifecycle will continue until there's a cure. Let's stop HIV. Then ride down the California coast just for the fun of it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Can't think of a better word to describe yesterday's ride. During the height of training, Friday doesn't arrive without a weekend ride plan, usually determined by the Puget Sound Riders' training schedule emailed by our Fearless Leader and my Breakthrough Rider teammate, Jon.

Jon had planned a Sunday ride along the Seven Hills of Kirkland route with most folks opting for the 11 hill option. Take note of my May 18 entry. True, hills are not my friend & although I should train on them, the threat of rain and my Sunday schedule made it easy to chose a different plan.

The family was gathering at Dad's house on Bainbridge Island to celebrate birthdays. Convinced I could piece together a familiar route, I decided to pedal there. The route was completely flat and not nearly long enough but what fabulous views! It was simply a GREAT bike ride and quite an indulgence on my part.

Enjoy my photo tour from Woodinville's Wilmot Gateway Park entrance to the Sammamish River Trail, connecting to the Burke-Gilman Trail through the Univ. of Washington campus to Gas Works Park. Then across the Fremont drawbridge and through Seattle Pacific Univ. campus to pick up the Terminal 91 bike path connector over the railyards, through Myrtle Edwards Park and along the waterfront to the ferry terminal.

It's a quick half-mile uphill to Dad's to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon with friends & family, including my husband who brought the car to take me home!
Happy Birthday, Tammie!

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Friday, May 23, 2008

What's It Worth?

Now taking bids on the contents of MY purse!

Madonna auctions off lip gloss at AIDS benefit.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


No matter how much I enjoy the speed of a downhill, I can't seem to embrace the upside. Year after year, despite training & ever more spin class hill climbs, this ride leaves me feeling like a novice... with screaming quads!!!

Then again, I was traveling with the "Boeing Flyers" - my name for the Boeing colleagues of our Ride Leader, Jon, who must have jet fuel in their water bottles! I also managed to get off-course and earn an extra credit hill in the bargain. Maybe I'm being to hard on myself.

As for the ride, the sunny weather contributed more snowmelt to the bulging rivers that burst over Snoqualmie Falls with greater force and volume than I've ever witnessed. And at the end, there was beer. A good day.

Here's where I went:
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Here's where I should have gone:
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Several riders went off course today. Slaed called it the Ride of Blunders but Jon heard it as the Ride of Wonders and felt it was appropriate for "I wonder where Jeff is?", "I wonder where Tracy is?"... To his credit, thanks to the wonders of modern technology - cell phones & GPS - Jon stayed after his wandering sheep and regrouped the herd like the stellar ride leader he is!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bike to Work Week

This week my work commute was only as far as the downstairs couch but I woke up, pulled on my bike clothes and waited for an opportunity to take a spin around the neighborhood in honor of the day. And what a beautiful day it was! By the time I hit the road, my plans had changed to take me about 20 miles to my in-law's for dinner (food is a great motivator!).

My planned route would avoid rush hour traffic as much as possible though I was happy to note, and commend, the very aware drivers I did encounter. Same goes for the many cyclists on the Sammamish River Trail from Woodinville to Redmond who were more polite and definitely more cautious than any given day on the trail.

Drivers and cyclists - good and reckless alike. Everyone learns to watch out for pedestrians on the road but few understand their cycling laws which can vary state to state. Learn yours. We can all use a day to practice sharing the road.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Congratulations, Kyle!

Took a ride break last week to celebrate the long and not always easy journey of my son, Kyle, who formally graduated from Montana State University on Saturday!!

That BS in Geography might come in handy this August when Kyle joins the crew of the ARI Breakthrough Riders navigating across NY in the Empire State AIDS Ride.

A mother couldn't be more delighted.

To punctuate the day, I was surprised and awestruck to find that the man whose story gave me a much needed push last fall, Greg Mortenson, would also receive a degree from the College of Letters & Sciences and deliver a dose of inspiration directly to the graduates. Read "Three Cups of Tea". You'll be glad you did.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May 5th - Painful Memories Spark Hopeful Future

I take to heart my commitment to use this space to keep you - my family, friends and supporters - informed about my motivations and inspirations to ride thousands of miles, soliciting your hard-earned dollars to put an end to AIDS. For that reason, I feel nudged – OK pushed – to write publicly today about something typically kept to myself.

Thirteen years ago today, May 5, my brother died of AIDS, in his sleep, in his home. By that time, it was a blessing. Bret was a handsome, energetic man with a loving soul. A gifted artist, he lived up to our vagabond upbringing with a global career as art director for magazines and coffee-table books that peaked even as AIDS took his life at the age of 35.

In the 4+ years he lived with an AIDS diagnosis, Bret went to hell and back and so did his family. It was excruciatingly painful for him to tell family and friends but he made a point of saying good-bye to everyone he could, in person, all around the world. And when his time hadn’t yet run out, Bret went out of his way to educate those he knew to be at risk, subjected his body to every available trial, continued to live independently and travel on the job.

Bret was proud to have avoided a hospital stay. His decline came quickly – unnoticed by most until only 6-8 weeks before his death which he desperately wanted to come in his own bed. The weeks leading up to May 5, 1995, were indeed bittersweet for the Granato family as we prepared for sister Tammie’s wedding (June 10) and the birth of brother Steven’s first child (June 9), but family came from everywhere. With extra help from Bret’s friends and wonderful volunteers from the Northwest AIDS Foundation and Chicken Soup Brigade (now merged as Lifelong AIDS Alliance) someone stayed with Bret every hour of the day and night as the virus attacked his brain, sending him into delusional moments and comatose hours.

I will choose to keep most of those memories private but will share the final poignant one that came sitting up in bed with Bret one afternoon. He was awake but not necessarily all there. Bret was counting on his older sister to carry out his wishes and I was feeling less than confident about our ability to continue caring for him at home. Out of desperation, I said aloud, “I wish you’d just tell me what to do” and I heard Bret say softly but quite clearly, “Get me outta here”. Early the next morning I got the call from our sister Becky that Bret had died.

Put in perspective, Bret couldn’t have asked for a better end to this terminal illness. When I think of the day Bret died, I’m now reminded less of my grief than the millions – yes, MILLIONS – of people dying of AIDS completely alone, after months and years of suffering, frequently coupled with stigma and often with poverty.

Your donation to the ARI Breakthrough Riders supports the kind of innovative science needed to end AIDS - improve treatments, remove roadblocks to enhance delivery, care for women and children, and find a cure. Now, thanks to your support, on May 5th my focus has turned from grief to the hope you bring to this journey.