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 7, 2015

Getting 500 Miles Closer to Ending AIDS

Emory Vaccine Center AV200 research fellows w/young rider astride the
formerly riderless bike, offering hope for a vaccine - photo by Dan Lax
Your gifts to my first 200 miles in Georgia funded a new set of Emory Vaccine Center fellows to lend their fresh ideas and enthusiasm to fighting HIV.

Your donations to the next 300 miles will further fund HIV/AIDS research at EVC and also at the UCLA AIDS Institute, a beneficiary of my first HIV vaccine rides in Alaska and Montana. Please help me keep the momentum going with your extra credit gift to Charity Treks Inc. – another grassroots cycling event, by cyclists, to ensure 100% of every donation goes straight to the cause.

Inspiring progress continues in the world of HIV/AIDS research, especially in its two-way collaboration with cancer-fighting science. When former President Jimmy Carter announced he would fight his cancer with a new drug therapy at Emory, Jonathan Russell from the Emory Vaccine Center shared with the AV200 community…

“President Carter's treatment has been directly supported by friends of the Emory Vaccine Center including everyone involved in the AIDS Vaccine 200 and Charity Treks bike rides.
 People familiar with the EVC should recognize PD-1 therapy as an approach led by Dr. Rafi Ahmed for HIV prevention and treatment for nearly the past decade. All along we've talked about potential PD-1 uses in other conditions like Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases and cancer.
 Keytruda isn't exactly "brand new" since it received breakthrough drug status nearly a year ago - but it represents a very exciting new direction in cancer immunology. Definitely more to come!”

Charity Treks 2015 begins September 30 from the UVA campus in Charlottesville, VA and winds 300 miles to end at our nation's capital. Please consider making a secure online donation today. 

This road is long. Every mile counts. Thank you for riding it with me and bringing hope to the journey.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Good Day

Way back when telephones were confined to desks and street corners, it took a few days to locate my brother and wish him a happy birthday. Bret was especially hard to reach that summer he spent selling encyclopedias door-to-door in the desolate, Texas outpost that was his assigned territory. When we finally connected, I naturally asked how he spent his 22nd (23rd?) birthday and flashback on pieces of his answer every July 21st since...

"Had to work...I'm never going to make any money in this job...these people have so little and are so nice...I can't ask them to buy something they don't need. I gave a halfhearted pitch to a happy, round woman who cut me short and invited me to dinner. Tracy, it was the best fried chicken I've ever eaten in my life!! And they had watermelon too! We sat around and talked all afternoon. They gave me a ride to the highway where I told them I'd make it the rest of the way on my own... Figured I'd walk until the skies opened up... Drenched. Started to hitch and didn't take long for a truck driver to stop and offer a ride home. It was a good day."

Happy Birthday, Bret. Hope yours was a fried chicken, watermelon and good company kind of day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

For the Sheer Fun of It

Packing doesn't get any easier, neither does the challenge of 200 miles in a weekend at the opposite corner of the country where the weather will be hot, humid and stormy. You know what does get easier? All the progress made year over year in the war on AIDS thanks to every dollar fueling the side of the living, fighting against HIV. That thought will flood my mind when the kickstand goes up in Atlanta on Saturday and will eventually rest on the ultimate goal - the day we ride for the sheer fun of it again, when AIDS is history.

The joy of riding with Bret on our first bikes, circa 1966:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Missing You

"I wish you could have been there for the sun & the rain & the long, hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there"  - Brain Andreas, AVR2000 Wish List

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Til AIDS is History

To know me is to know I ooze my passions, especially when hearts are involved. In two weeks, Mary and I, along with Puget Sound Rider teammates, Jon and Lisa, return to the AIDS Vaccine 200 for the 5th time. Today our friend and Ride Director of this year's event, Tina Chang, posted a Facebook #TBT to an interview of Mary and me on our first AV200 in 2011.

Mary and I will spend this weekend training....again....riding for the same reason, til AIDS is history.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Montana Memories

Dedicated to the memory of my friend and teammate, John Morse
Susan & John Morse w/2002 Breakthrough Riders
We pulled on team jerseys and headed out this early spring weekend to bid farewell to one of our founding members. John “Pappy” Morse was a man whose gentle manner betrayed his strength of character, who joined the Puget Sound Riders with more cycling miles under his belt than the rest of the team combined. John introduced me to spin classes as we trained to cycle Alaska and Montana, raising money for HIV vaccine research. He made the first donation to my self-supported Breakthrough Ride and continued to be a stalwart supporter each year since; now John joins our fans in a heavenly grandstand.

The calendar rolls ever closer to the 2015 AIDS Vaccine 200 weekend but I'm playing hooky from cycling this weekend. Instead, Steve and I took a long car trip to enjoy the rare opportunity of hearing our son play with both his bands in Missoula, Montana. Memories of the Montana AIDS Vaccine Ride flood my thoughts each time I drive through Big Sky country, never so much as this weekend, having so recently lost the one teammate who rode at my moderate (OK, slow) pace along the Lewis and Clark trail, across the Continental Divide in freezing rain and over rolling wheat fields in blistering heat. On Day 4 of that 7 day trek, John unceremoniously presented me with a pack of  scenic Montana playing cards as a birthday gift and on Day 5, when my day was cut short by a heat-induced tire blow-out, I put my ice collar around John's neck to keep him going another 40 miles to camp.

Our Puget Sound Riders team had raised more than $200,000 for HIV/AIDS vaccine research when we arrived in Missoula 14 years ago to honor those lost and affected by HIV and to share our commitment to ending AIDS with communities over 570 miles of Montana from the seat of a bicycle. We arrived with hope and determination to make AIDS history one mile at a time.

The last mile toward a globally accessible HIV/AIDS cure is within reach and the Puget Sound Riders remain ready to ride it. In 3 weeks I’ll pedal the AIDS Vaccine 200 through the Georgia countryside then keep training all summer to return east in late September for the Charity Treks HIV/AIDS Bike Trek covering 350 miles from Charlottesville, VA to Washington, DC. Contributions to this smaller sister ride of the AV200 have the bicoastal reach of funding HIV/AIDS research at Emory Vaccine Center and the equally innovative UCLA AIDS Institute, beneficiaries of both those early HIV vaccine rides across Alaska and Montana.

The road has been long but traveling it together with Pappy, Bret and many more angels in heaven and on earth cheering us on with hope and determination, we'll make AIDS history.

Montana AIDS Vaccine Ride memories: