You might call Mark Kratt a “driven” man, especially when you see him riding the custom-built bike on which he logs 300+ miles every week. He’s driven by his dedication to a cause: to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS outreach and services throughout California. For the second consecutive year, Mark will participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) ride, joining more than 2,000 other cyclists who’ll make the 545-mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in June 2013.
“I’d been a biking fanatic and a volunteer with the Stop AIDS Project and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation for years, so participating in ALC-11 in 2012 seemed like a natural next step,” Mark recalls. “And it really helped that GoGrid supported me. More than half my pledges last year came from a corporate donation and my coworkers. The company culture really focuses on giving back to the community.”
In addition to supporting Mark’s ALC participation, GoGrid works with Family Giving Tree and the San Francisco Food Bank every year to collect and share much-needed items during the holidays. The company also sponsored a “team in training” to help fight cancer by raising money for every mile walked or run during the Nike Marathon in San Francisco last October, with donations going to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Mark, who started at GoGrid in 2002 as a billing and accounting associate, recently celebrated a decade with the company and now manages GoGrid’s billing team. Every day before he starts work, Mark takes a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and to the top of Conzelman in the Marin Headlands. He also regularly takes part in ALC training rides helps with reaching out to new riders. “I’ve gotten more involved in motivating and mentoring first-time riders this year,” he said. “ALC is a signature biking event because it’s meant for recreational riders rather than professionals or racers. Even so, a 7-day ride is a huge commitment—and can be intimidating.” That’s one of the reasons Mark’s also on the planning committee for the 2013 Jonathan Pon 2-Day Memorial Ride, which takes place in May. “The Jon-Pon gives first-time riders a taste of what it’s like to ride 2 days back to back and camp overnight with other cyclists,” he said. Not to mention that the 150-mile ride through Marin and Sonoma counties, with an overnight beside the Russian River, is just plain gorgeous.
Mark explains, “ALC is a wonderful experience because for 7 days, the people involved behave the way you wish everyone would behave every day. It’s an open, honest, and trusting environment where no one complains about standing in line for food or the bathroom. The shared experience of the ride creates such a secure community; we don’t even worry about locking stuff up at night. And the mutual support for how tough the ride is—and how much we’re all challenged physically—is unbelievable.”