Anchor House 2013 By Lynne Martin
Well, we’re back and it all seems like a dream. It was an incredible week and truly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.
We started out on Saturday, July 13 with a long, long, long (8 hour) bus ride to Burlington, VT, where we stayed in dorms at the University of Vermont at Burlington. Burlington is a lovely city, kind of a “hippie” Princeton. My friend Dan Keenan was on the ride for the 6th year, and he and some of his friends walked with us into town, and had a lovely dinner outdoors (probably the coolest day of the week). The excitement was palpable.
We slept really well that night (only night windows were open), and woke the next morning to rain. (Oh no!!!) While heat is hard, rain is downright dangerous on a bike. Railroad tracks and painted lines become really slick.
Left at 6:30 our first day in a steady rain. Soaked within minutes and was thinking how miserable it is to ride in the rain. Marina and I sang every song about sun we could think of, and while it didn’t come out until later that day, the rain did stop after 5 miles and that was the last time it rained that week.
We did 78 miles that day & felt really good by the time we arrived in Rutland, VT. The vistas in Vermont were breathtaking. Lots of red barns and cows.
When we arrive in each destination our rooms are not always ready, and so we gather round the “yellow truck” (the truck that carries all our luggage). They give out beer, water, pretzels and other snacks and it’s a meeting place where everyone gathers to talk about their day.
Next stop was Glens Falls, NY. Our friend Valerie has a cabin on Lake Luzerne which is about 20 minutes from our hotel. She picked us up and we had a lovely dinner sitting on her deck overlooking the lake. We were treated to leg and foot massages, and it was heavenly.
Day 3 was Glens Falls to Latham, NY. We rode along the Erie Canal on an 11 mile paved bike path. Latham is just north of Albany and we started the next day riding though the University at Albany, heading to Kingston, NY, not far from where I used to live in New Paltz. My friend, Stuart came and picked us up and took us to dinner. Another fun evening. We mostly went to dinner around 5:30-6 and were sleeping by 8:30-9, as we were getting up at 5, leaving by 6:15 to try and beat the heat as best we could.
Next day rode from Kingston to Matamoras, Pa, and passed though New Paltz, and lots of familiar roads that I’d biked many times, and of course, an incredible view of Skytop!
Thursday night was banquet night. It’s the only night the whole group of us get together (200 riders plus about 60 support staff). There are awards for many different things, and there was a young girl who had been an Anchor House graduate, so to speak, and she told her story of how Anchor House literally saved her from an abusive family life. She was the first person in her family to graduate HS, and is now in college. So in all of the telling about the ride, can’t forget what a great cause we are riding for.
Day 6 was our longest day. 83 miles from Matamoras, PA to Bethlehem, PA. We left PA, and rode thought NY, NJ and back to PA. It was, by far the hottest, hardest, hilliest day. Very little shade and lots of heat and big climbs. This was the toughest day, and, while many riders “sagged”, (got lifts either to the next sag (rest) stop, or to the hotel), Marina & I got each other through. She kept pouring ice water down my back, and that would totally revive me for a while, then she would do it again. We got to the hotel around 3PM and it never felt so good to get off my bike. By the way, forgot to mention that Tom (I’m attaching a photo of him), our vidiographer, is also a musician and would be at the top of big climbs playing his accordion. So when you heard the music, you knew you were almost to the top. So much support and encouragement all along the way. Speaking of support, we could not do this ride without our sag stops and teams of people who cut fruit, make sandwiches and generally supply everything we need to do our job.
Also, want to mention, that I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without my wonderful friend and biking buddy, Marina. She’s not only a great biking buddy, but a great roomie and a very quiet sleeper!!!!!
Saturday, our last day and the shortest (55 miles), was a beautiful ride once we left Bethlehem. Rolling hills and a few climbs, but lots of cloud cover and not as hot.
On our last day, we all meet somewhere between 11-1 in Pennington, NJ for a picnic at a private home. The Dutko’s have been welcoming Anchor House riders for over 20 years. They have lots of food, drinks, shade and a lovely swimming pool to cool off in. The are such gracious people, with over 200 people on their property. (I’m attaching a photo of their front yard).
Then at 2, we all put on matching tee shirts and rode the last 10 miles to the mall all together under police escort. There are people cheering all along the way. It is an amazing sight. When we reach Quakerbridge Mall, we actually ride our bikes into the mall, and they announce each of our names as we enter. There are hundreds of peoples cheering and screaming, I felt like a rock star!!!! It was such an emotional celebration, (we all were crying or had tears in our eyes), and made the whole week so worth every hot, hilly climb!
All in all, we raised over $500,000 for the kids of Anchor House. A Record!! This ride is about 1/3 of their annual budget.
There are some articles and photos on planetprinceton.com (There’s one of me on a hill, under an article titled “Giving his all for AH for 25 years). Check it out.
I know a lot of you think I’m a little crazy (which I am), but I would love to do this again. If the stars align, maybe in 2015. Again, thank you all for the endless support, encouragement and love that helped me to realize this challenge. Love, Lynne