Friday, September 4, 2009

Riding With, Once Again

Tammie is jetting to the US Open as I type. No doubt, her suitcase contains a dozen cute tennis outfits, a good pair of sneakers, more than one autograph pen and absolutely no sunscreen. Though packed right next to that are her cycling shoes, 4 pair of bike shorts (3 borrowed from me) and just the right assortment of jerseys to keep her from getting strange biker tan lines. You see, right after finally getting to witness the US Open in person, my sister Tammie is joining me on the NYCDC AIDS Research Ride.

Lest you think my younger sister is merely a sun-worshipping autograph hound, it's important you know that without her influence a certain middle-aged mom of two young kids likely would not have gotten on a bicycle, let alone attempted a multi-day ride. In the late 90s, Tammie was the cyclist. She'd told me for years about her 2-3 day treks around the Puget Sound but that was something for the "recreation professional" in the family, not me. Then I saw a news blurb about a group of cyclists finishing a multi-day AIDS ride at our Nation's Capitol.

Tammie and I sandwiched our brother Bret in birth order. We'd lost Bret to AIDS earlier that year, so when I saw the news story, everything just clicked. I called Tammie immediately, saying I wanted to start riding with her, "One day an AIDS ride will come to our neighborhood and I want to be ready."

The following summer we rode a local MS150 for practice - on a 10-speed no less. Our primary goal was to finish each day on our bikes and not get swept in because we were too slow. We accomplished that and were pretty proud of our 10mph average too!

The very next summer, an AIDS ride came to our neck of the woods. Tammie & I rode together in the 1997 and 1998 Ride for a Reason, then the AIDS Vaccine Rides in Alaska (2000) and Montana (2001). Since then, Tammie plays tennis, cards, bunko, kayaks, sails, swims - you name it, she plays it - but I'm not sure the bike has touched the ground.

One of the reasons my fellow, active Puget Sound Riders chose to take it down a few notches and register for the shorter, flatter ride from NYC-DC this year was to draw back some of our teammates who'd been off their bikes for a while, including Tumblin' Tam - a nickname earned on the finish line of the 1998 Ride for a Reason.

I couldn't be happier she accepted the challenge and I'll be back to wearing this picture on my ride jersies, captioned,"Riding with and for Bret Granato
July 21, 1959 - May 5, 1995"

And to think we'll end this 4 day journey by pedaling together into the Nation's Capitol exactly how I'd been inspired 14yrs ago --- priceless!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ok so you had to make me cry this morning!!
i love this picture of you all cuz i think that was close to the start of us being friends. were we really that little? it is great you and tammie get to ride together again!! i will be thinking of you both have fun! leave it to tammie to get to go to the us open! hey we get to go to seaside starting friday for the next week. cant wait for a much needed vacation!
love you both!