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...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Ripple of Heroes

Randy Pausch died on Friday. I didn't find out until today through a bizarre series of events that illustrate the ripple effect heroes have on and through our lives.

It started last Wednesday afternoon when I stumbled across a reminder that Liz & Allison were hosting a happy hour fundraiser for their NYCDC ride. I met Liz & Allison on ESAR last year - their first fundraising ride. The happy hour was in Manhattan, I happened to be nearby on business, so I showed up to support their repeat effort to fight AIDS!

Shortly after arriving, in walked Annie, another newbie cycler in 2007 and member of our ESAR P.S. Breakthrough Riders team. The bug had also hooked Annie, who explained that this summer she'd switched to another new challenge for her - swimming. Two miles to be precise and in the Chesapeake Bay no less! All it took was a friend with a good cause - pancreatic cancer - and Annie stepped in to help.

Annie's stories of the effect of this horrible cancer on the lives of her friends caused me to ask if she'd heard "The Last Lecture", the Professor Pausch lecture on achieving your dreams. That lecture, first presented to his Carnegie-Mellon students shortly after being told he had three-six months to live, has since spread through the internet, daytime and primetime TV, and was an instant best-seller in book form this spring. Annie hadn't heard of Randy until Wednesday. Today she told me she'd gained new inspiration from him on Thursday and Randy Pausch died on Friday.

"If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself," Pausch said. "The dreams will come to you."

I am blessed by the heroes who inspire, motivate and drift in and out of my life, sometimes when least expected.

Footnote: My senior year at Oakland Mills High, Bret was a junior and Tammie a freshman. Randy Pausch was a sophomore. I knew his older sister Tammy but admit I needed the yearbook to show me Randy, who I did not know personally. In his lecture, Randy admits to being a nerd and while that fact is apparent in the yearbook pictures of chess team, student government and lacrosse, he was lucky to have been part of those formative OMHS classes at a time when individuality & experimentation - indeed dreaming - were nurtured. And the seeds grew...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Journey Begins

A lot of activity had to be crammed into my 48hrs at home between business trips this weekend but the critical pieces got done – my Saturday ride and yesterday’s bike packing.

The activity of cleaning, dismantling and packing my Stellar is a multi-hour event in itself, involving a hose, toothbrush, wrench and elbow grease. Speaking of grease, I’ll be scrubbing it out of my fingernails for days cuz I can’t ever seem to keep the gloves on!

Since I starting traveling to events, I bought a wheeled hard case for my bike several years ago. Funny thing is, the directions have nice little pictures that don’t include or make any mention of a bicycle having handlebars (I'll scan it for you when I'm back home). The first time I tried fitting bike into box took most of a day, 3-4 tries and a lot of cursing. Now I can take it down and pack it on a Manhattan sidewalk in 20 minutes though must admit that it never goes into the case the same way twice and I still rely on many handwritten notes all over those instructions.

Midweek, Stellar starts her Fedex ground journey to Niagara Falls and I’ll hold my breath til we’re reunited August 9. The journey begins…

Saturday, July 26, 2008

End of the Training Road

For the past 3 weeks my only riding has been on a spin bike or my California bike, both of which are quite literally less than Stellar. So though I was travel weary and not anxious for another solo ride, I pushed off on my Stellar from home for an afternoon ride through the valley.
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I knew it wouldn't be my elusive century but it did become this year's longest ride at 60 miles, I threw in 2 extra credit monster climbs and pushed it hard into a headwind most of the way.
It's been a rough training year for getting out on the road, putting in far fewer pre-event miles than usual, but a quick review of my training log shows that while I only made about 20 road trips (5 in California), I took more than 45 spin classes. That 10miles/class gives me right about the same time in the saddle as previous years. I guess this means I'm ready.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gold's Gang...priceless

Today would have been Bret's 49th birthday. In his honor, I chose to spend the day focused on gratitude for what is, rather than dwell on what might have been.

Today's post is dedicated to the early weekday morning gang at the Santa Clara Gold's gym who encourage by their own dedication, make you smile through the sweat and hoot through the pain even when your eyes aren't yet fully open. They're the reason you refrain from hitting the snooze (cuz they won't), the ones who save you a bike (when they shouldn't), work you hard (when you don't want to) and check on you if you're a no-show (or is that give you a hard time?). It's not exaggeration to say that if it weren't for these hearty souls holding me to year-round training these past 3 years, this old body could never meet the pedaling challenges that have motivated YOU to contribute over $25,000 to the Empire State AIDS Ride beneficiaries alone!

So here's to the critical component of my California training plan - my chubby little friends (who clean up good!),
spin instructors, "Wednesday is abs day" reminder, locker room sisters & road warriors at Gold's who, to me and the cause to which my fitness is committed, are PRICELESS!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life is Better When You Ride Bikes

The body, stronger.
The mind, sharper.
The air, cleaner.
The grass,
The pretzels, crisper.
The beer, colder.
The weekday,
The weekend, longer.
The sun, brighter.
The sky, bluer.
Life is better when you ride bikes...
- Gary Fisher
Thanks to Mike for the personal escort up Mt. Hamilton Saturday. What a great ride!View Interactive Map on

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

*****SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT***** aka if I'm over the hill, the finish line must be in sight

Repeat supporters are familiar with my habit to kick up the cycling challenge a notch or two each year to stay mindful of how hard it is to live with HIV/AIDS and why it’s so important to defeat it. This year I’m doubly challenged by a desire to thumb my nose at what I’ll call my AARP birthday rapidly approaching in a few short weeks. A previous “birthday” posting mentioned that my brother had already given me a gift – the vehicle for meeting both these challenges – and now you have a chance to help me make this a very special birthday indeed!

First you should know that I love Washington DC. Our family moved to the DC burbs when I was 10 and stayed into my 20s. From the late 60s to early 80s, DC was a hotbed of civil outcry and outrage, men in suits and protesters in the streets, the converging point of a rapidly evolving democracy – a powerful place indeed that made a lasting impression. After we’d each migrated to the west coast, Bret and I longed to return and managed to make one last visit there, ironically over World AIDS Day only a few months before AIDS took his life. It was 1996 news coverage of an AIDS ride finish line on the Capitol lawn that first inspired me to dust off a bike and prepare for the day I could do the same in his honor and memory. Finally, 13 years later, that day has arrived.

This September, 3 weeks after arriving in NYC at the end of the Empire State AIDS Ride, I’ll leave NYC for the 4-day NYCDC AIDS Ride for Research. As excited as I am to meet the challenge of my first back-to-back multi-day event and finally crossing a finish line in my adopted hometown, I’m ecstatic about the research we’ll be funding.

I’m gifted by this chance to go the extra mile to fund the most promising research available and invite you to be inspired to do the same. Please consider making an extra mile donation today.
Besides, it’s been a long climb up that hill and if turning 50 means I’m over it, why not relish in the wind on my face all the way to the AIDS-is-finished line! Thanks for the push.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time to Double Down

Day 2, Inc., non-profit producer of the Empire State AIDS Ride, is contracted to distribute 82% of donated funds directly to their beneficiaries. That's a phenomenal return for any fundraising event! It's important to me that you get the highest return on your investment which is why I so strongly support the Day 2 Inc. AIDS rides.

Because I ride on a beneficiary team, the ARI Breakthrough Riders, 82% of your donation is guaranteed to be delivered straight to the Breakthrough Fund of the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Your donation to the ARI Breakthrough Riders could actually be worth more than double the $$ out of your pocket!

Double your donation right away by taking advantage of your company matching program - Motorola, Microsoft, Nintendo, AT&T and many more are happy to chip in when you do!

Next, encourage your friends to donate because the more $$ raised by our team, the more our team total is worth to the ARI. Watch our team total climb over $38,500 and the ARI also gets a share of $$ raised by riders not affiliated with any beneficiary team. If our total reaches $60,000, the ARI gets an even larger share! In the end, your donation could be worth double or even triple to the breakthrough science going on in San Francisco right now! Read about just one of the projects your 2007 donations helped fund.

Now make a donation, check for a company match, then invite your friends to get in on the fun. ACT NOW and I'll throw in all the pedaling!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Weekend Waterway Adventure

In an attempt to get in some extra miles and escape the heat, I decided to piece together a route to my sister's house on a Gig Harbor lake. I didn't get the miles I wanted, did manage to beat the Saturday heat on my bike and enjoy it from a lake floaty, but hit the heat like a wall on my way back home Sunday. All together, my journey along the Puget Sound waterways by bike & ferry was quite an adventure, particularly when Tammie sent the following color commentary to her emailed directions part-way into my journey south:
"You will pass the place where the guy got attacked by the bear on his bike, Banner Park on your right, you will see a parking lot where cars park and walkers walk in. Just look, no stopping." problem, Tam!
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