A light rain fell as the cyclists woke up and prepared to ride the first 66 miles of the Anchor House for Runaways on Sunday.
Rain continued on and off all day, and temperatures remained in the high 50s and low 60s.
The challenge for the cyclists was to stay warm and dry. Some wore bright yellow rain jackets. Some sported shower caps under or over their biking helmets, And some put plastic baggies over their bike computers and bags and secured teem with rubber bands. Most of the cyclists did not linger at the three rest stops for the day because their bodies shivered and their muscles became stiff.
For their efforts on Sunday, the cyclists were rewarded with scenery that included New England churches on hilltops, ponds, and forests graced with ferns.
The cyclists pedaled 66 miles from Manchester, New Hampshire to Leominster, Mass., crossing the state border near the end of the journey.
For more than one cyclist, Sunday was not the first day of the trip. Ken Carlson, a former West Windsor resident, biked from Boston to the start on Saturday with his son.
Bill Garrett, a 14-year veteran of the Ride for Runaways, pedaled 335 miles from Trenton to Manchester, New Hampshire over three days, visiting a cousin in Springfield, Mass. along the way. He carried all his clothing and gear on his bike using cycling panniers, on-bike packs that fit on the rear of the bike. Garrett said after riding with the extra luggage weight for three days, his was enjoying the lighter ride without it.
“Don’t you think that’s a little crazy?” asked support crew member Tom Imbrigiotta. Garrett conceded that it might be.
Asked why he chose to bike up to the start, Garrett said “I couldn’t stand the idea of spending seven hours on a bus.”
Monday the cyclists will pedal 76.6 miles from Leominster to Northampton, climbing 4,110 feet as they ride over lots of rolling hilly terrain.
Photos by Jeanne Imbrigiotta.
Krystal Knapp is a cyclist and embedded reporter participating in the 38th annual Ride for Runaways. For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation visit www.anchorhouseride.org or call (609) 278-9495. Checks can be made out to “Anchor House Foundation” and sent to P.O. Box 2357. Trenton, NJ 08607. Anchor House is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donors receive a thank you, but Anchor House never sells your contact info. or sends donors further requests for donations.