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...

Monday, September 22, 2008

All's Well

At least as well as it can be expected. Must agree with my sister that as much as I fly, I was due. I can only hope this counts completely as my "due" for quite some time. Still wish I could bike the return trip!

KOMO News story: Seattle Flight overruns O'Hare runway

Grassy Landing

On the bus for the terminal now...

Faster on a Bike?

After 4 days at home, I'm headed back to NYC yet again, this time on business, and had to make an 'unscheduled" landing at O'Hare - make that a completely manual landing since the jet had lost all power. Now here we sit on the tarmac, surrounded by emergency vehicles, simply happy to be safe...but wondering if I could get to JFK faster another way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Packed for Home

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 4 - The End is More than a Beginning

40mi

It's really too bad the Maryland DOT won't allow bikes on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (NOT!) leaving 2 choices - load bikes & cyclists into vehicles or load bikes and put the cyclists on a 50' yacht ride to Annapolis with a little detour past the Naval Academy. Felt like quite an indulgence but also a nice cool break from pedaling.

Once in Annapolis, we took in a few hills through the last part of Maryland, entering DC from the NE. George Mason University staff, cheerleaders, and mascot cheered us to the finish line then fed us lunch at RFD Washington Brewhouse. Dr. Wu graciously thanked riders & crew noting we were working toward a mutual goal that would be carried into their lab tomorrow, bringing us one day closer to ending AIDS.

Thank you for your part in that mutual effort!

More pictures from Day 4

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 3 - Teamwork

After a quick few miles, we boarded the ferry for a relaxing 70 minute crossing, complete with a dolphin sendoff, from Cape May to Lewes to begin riding in Delaware.

The sun was hot early and never let up, reaching well into the 90s and though the route remained flat so did the headwind. Riders worked together all day long forming loose pace lines to help each other quickly cover the 75miles left in the day.

About 10mi out of camp the Hwy Patrol decided traffic was too heavy on the way to the Bay Bridge to be safe for cyclists giving us an opportunity to see similar teamwork on display by our crew. They directed us off the road and rapidly loaded cyclists and bikes into vehicles to "ferry" us down the busy highway to the safer road into camp.

It's really something to experience how quickly 42 people can come together to help each other over some high hurdles. The phenomenon never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

Oh yeah, did I also mention the (Tracy finally got her Maryland Blue) Crab Feast?
View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com
More pictures from Day 3

Mid-Day 3 - Entering Maryland!


Next stop - crab feast!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 2 - A Day at the Beach

82.5mi. 6hrs

Blogging delayed tonight when I happened on a fascinating campside conversation between fellow rider (Barry) and Dr. Wu, our ride beneficiary. For the next hour, Dr. Wu and one of his newest lab assistants, Mark, patiently and enthusiastically answered our many questions about HIV, AIDS, the work currently underway and planned by his lab, accelerated by the proceeds from this ride. I find it outstanding (and unprecedented) that Dr. Wu, his wife, daughter, and entire lab staff are participating on this ride - staffing rest stops, setting up tents & marking the route, with the Wu family personally serving us lunch each day. I have no doubt he'd shake each donor's hand to personally thank you if he could. I look forward to sharing more of what I've learned in future postings.

As for today's ride, it rained all night and we had a puddle in the tent but dawned dry and stayed that way. In fact, it got hot! The terrain was flat though the wind was at our face. The pine barrens gave way to marshlands as we neared the coast. Our PM rest stop was at a butterfly and migratory bird sanctuary but the best part of all came at about 75miles, arriving at Cape May lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to Theresa's lead and reminder we only had 5 more miles to camp, I plunged into the warm water! All was right with the world.
View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com
More pictures from Day 2

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 1 - A New Journey Begins




84.35mi. 6.11hrs

The day began with 6 of walking out of the hotel and down Wall St. at 6:15am, dressed in our ride gear in search of breakfast. An hour later all the riders walked bikes and gear the 4 blks to the water to board the ferry for a choppy ride past the Statue of Liberty to Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

The morning took us through one horse farm after another with lunch on the shore of a beautiful reservoir. The afternoon flattened out further but midway to the PM rest stop the rain began and didn't let up -not in the pine barrens or acre after acre of cranbery bogs (yes, we even passed Ocean Spray!). It was a sloppy mess and all were happy to arrive at camp and a hot shower. BBQ dinner and fresh, local peach pies didn't hurt either!
View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com
More pictures from Day 1

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Memorials

Early this morning I arrived in NYC with an entire day to myself. Coincidently, the hotel is in the neighborhood of Ground Zero so I dropped off my luggage and went to pay my respects. On the walk it was easy to distinguish between those who still mourn, those with stories to tell, and everyone still trying to make sense of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Memorials not only honor the dead but perhaps more importanatly, give us a time to stop and recall the enormous loss that must so often be pushed aside if we're to carry on. I didn't personally know anyone who perished on 9/11 and can't come close to imagining the pain of those around me in lower Manhattan but today I joined New Yorkers and the rest of the nation in recalling a great loss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It Took Planes, Trains and Automobiles


And at the end of my day-long adventure back to NYC, I was at long last reunited with my bike in the Rosen/Siegel dining room. Now I'm ready to ride!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank You

Two simple words that seem to lose their sincerity when often used though I tell you most sincerely I could not be more grateful for each one of you who has made a contribution to one or both of my AIDS rides this year.

Contributions come in as many forms as bikes on the start line. Hundreds of you contributed in a monetary fashion – small sums and large, some matched my celebrated age, gave several small amounts over time or threw in a few extra dollars to help us reach a critical milestone – but even more of you gave something of your heart through well-wishes, your prayers, asking others to donate, covering my absence at home, work or committee meetings while I rode, trained with me and provided moral support. Thank you.

I fly to New York tomorrow for the start of the inaugural NYCDC Ride for Research. Know that I go as your representative bringing hope to the journey of every researcher whose work can continue, every person infected by HIV, every human afflicted and affected by AIDS. We thank you very much.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bringing Down Mountains

I learned two important lessons from hill-climbing on the last Empire State AIDS Ride - each hill is made shorter by momentum gained on the previous decline and to aim only for the next horizon, even if another soon follows.

Scientists originally thought they could treat HIV like a standard virus and quickly get it under control. They've since discovered HIV is not your standard virus. I applaud and support those researchers who persevere in light of this knowledge, knowing HIV will only be defeated through innovative science and won't allow their creativity to be constrained by that most common hurdle - funding.

Dr.Yuntao Wu and his research team at George Mason University are just such an innovative team whose breakthrough research (announced today) was published in the Sept.5 issue of the journal Cell. They've figured out how HIV breaks a protective barrier to get inside a T cell, eventually causing the cell to die. That CD4 T-cell death leads to full-blown AIDS. With this understanding, research can now focus on the next horizon, short-circuiting that process. If the virus can't get in, the cell won't die and an HIV infected person would never develop the compromised immune system that is AIDS. This result of a return to basic science, called for by Dr. Robert Gallo earlier this year when two key vaccine trials were deemed a failure, is exciting news providing needed momentum to reach new heights in the war on AIDS.

"This study really opened avenues for us and we hope to use this information as a foundation for more detailed studies that could lead to the development of new therapeutic tools," Wu said.

Next week, I'll join 24 cyclists and 19 volunteer crew (including Wu's family and entire lab team) on the inaugural NYCDC AIDS Research Ride, created to raise $200,000 to accelerate the next stage of Dr. Wu's research to search for the compound that would prevent the HIV virus from infiltrating T cells. Our fundraising, including your donation, adds even more momentum to ending AIDS by keeping these scientists focused on the next horizon in their labs and out of the grant-writing business. Thanks for the push.


Interested in the scientific details? Read the complete article in Cell.