Winchester, Va. – Water dripped off helmets and goggles. Jerseys, shorts and socks were like wet sponges. And bikes, along with the cyclists who rode them, were speckled with mud.
When the cyclists participating on the 34th annual Anchor House Ride for Runaways woke to begin day two of their journey Monday, they were greeted with a steady rain that had begun in the middle of the night.
Organizers of the ride decided to delay the start, waiting for the rain to slow down and the sun to come up. The first cyclists headed out shortly after 6 a.m., sporting bright orange safety vests because of the weather conditions.
But no one was complaining much. After biking in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees on the first leg of the 500-mile journey Sunday, the rain and the cooler temperatures were a welcome relief as the cyclists rode 72 miles from Woodstock to Winchester, Va., riding through Front Royal and crossing the Shenandoah River on the Morgan Ford the second half of the ride.
“I was wet the whole day, but it felt good,” said Gina Raimondo of Yardville, who was the first cyclist to make it to the top of a 4-mile climb early in the day, as the rain still came down. Along the way, Raimondo even stopped to save a turtle that was crossing the road.
The cyclists enjoyed country roads for the second day in a row and views of mountains as they climbed the hills. The 4-mile climb wound around a mountain that tractor-trailers were forbidden from traveling because of all the turns in the road.
Just when it looked like the climbing was over, the cyclists turned another bend and the hill continued.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” veteran rider Tom Ryan of Pennington said as he rode up another turn the climb.
Cyclist Michael Schulz of Hamilton stopped along the way to take pictures of the scenic views. He didn’t mind the rain, but like other cyclists he was cautious going down hills because of the wet roads.
Support crew head LeRoy Harms said his group had an easier day than the previous day. But several people had mechanical problems with their bikes because of the rain, so ride mechanic Pete Garnich of Knapp’s Cyclery in Lawrence was kept busy all day,
Many of the cyclists were still recovering from the first day, a day in which dehydration and heat exhaustion tool their toll.
“It’s nothing a little Motrin, ice and wishful thinking won’t fix.” said Eve Bolden of Ewing of her sore muscles.
Tuesday the cyclists will pedal 72 miles from Winchester to Frederick, Md.. They will face two major climbs the second half of the day.
Krystal Knapp is a cyclist on the 34th Anchor House Ride for Runaways. For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation visit www.anchorhouseride.org or call (609) 278-9495.