As the rain came down Thursday morning, cyclists gearing up for the 37th Anchor House Ride for Runaways looked out their windows and were glad they weren’t out there training.
The time for training is done. Thursday it was time to clean off their bikes and load them on a truck headed for New York.
“It was raining — not spitting, not misting ,not thunder-storming, just straight down rain. And I didn’t have to ride in this rain today,” veteran Anchor House rider Joan Feldman Plumb said. “I trained through it all this season with my dear cycling buddies, and I am ready.”
Plumb shrugged when asked how many times she biked in the rain to train for the 500-mile ride this season.
“I lost count,” she said. “The rain doesn’t even faze me any more. Let’s see what happens during the Anchor House ride next week.”
Plumb is one of 173 cyclists and 36 support crew members who will be participating in the Ride for Runaways, the annual event that raises money for Anchor House, the only emergency shelter in Mercer County for runaway, abused and neglected children and teens.
The ride raises more than a third of the funds needed to cover the operating costs for the shelter and other programs. Last year the ride raised almost $600,000.
On Saturday morning at 8 a.m., the Anchor House participants will depart for New York by bus. The send-off celebration at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton is open to the public. The cyclists will be welcomed back at the Quaker Bridge Mall on Saturday, July 18.
On Sunday, July 11, the cyclists and support crew members will begin their 500-mile journey from Oswego, New York and make stops in Geneva and Corning before heading to Pennsylvania, where they will stop in Wellsboro, Williamsport, West Hazleton, and Bethlehem before returning to New Jersey.
For the last few months, the cyclists have been training in all sorts of weather conditions, some logging more than 1,000 to prepare for the ride. Each cyclist and support crew member collect donations for their efforts.
Anchor House Ride Committee Co-Chairman Tim Quinn of Princeton said he is not worried about the rain getting in the way of training.
“I have complete faith is our riders managing to find ways to work around the weather and find opportunities to train,” Quinn said. “Many riders trained indoors when it was not possible to go out.”
More than 30 of the riders are new. The rest of the cyclists are ride alumni, drawn to come back because of the cause and the people.
“It’s the most excited I’ve ever been to do the ride,” said Beth Caruso of Lambertville, who took a break for two years and will be doing her fourth ride next week with her brother-in-law, Chris Murphy of East Windsor.
“”Seeing so many Anchor House friends — it feels like home,” Caruso said. “I missed everyone so much and it’s great to be back on the bike. I’m looking forward to the week.”
Planet Princeton and Planet Trenton, in partnership with the Trentonian, are the official media sponsors for the 37th annual Anchor House Ride for Runaways. For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation, visit www.anchorhouseride.org, where you can also make online donations in a cyclist’s name. Donations can also be sent to the Anchor House Foundation, P.O. Box 2357, Trenton, NJ 08607-2357.