It is amazing how quickly you can forget just how hot it was today, especially when there was no shade and the pavement was reflecting heat back on you, making it even worse. It was well into the 90s and barely a cloud in the sky, so the “real feel” seems to have been above 100.
But Anchor House riders ride rain or shine, heat or cold, so ride we did, even if some had to be “sagged in” by our support crew to the next rest area (“sag stop”). Today was constant small climbs because we started out at 160 feet above sea level in a town along the Hudson River and topped out at 1,300 feet in the broader Delaware Water Gap area before dropping down to a tributary of the Delaware River at the border of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Yay, the cue sheet was off by 1.2 miles and our day was actually about 70 miles and not nearly 72.
My friend Ken is one of those oddballs who actually likes hard hills. His blog about the ride is here.
Yes, my legs are tired — and tomorrow’s climbing and mileage totals will be even higher, as we ride along the NJ side of the Delaware Water Gap, perhaps through Blairstown, and then into Pennsylvania and into Bethlehem. You just drink, drink and drink and appreciate shade and any air-conditioned food stops. And keep going. The rover crews are always looking out for us, ready with extra water when we need it. And we’re going through hundreds of pounds of ice at rest stops. I don’t even try to keep up with Joan.
The hardest part of the day was probably the 7-mile stretch with barely a lick of shade to our final rest stop, just before the last push to 1,300 feet. I’m glad someone had an insulated water bottle with ice-cold water and decided to start squirting water on our backs (I offered up my head too) — nice way to cool down fast!
After that last break, it was another 2.3 miles to the top. I thought we had another bump up to go when we were greeted by a couple of people with squirt guns. But no, that was it and I started my descent in a hail of warm-water bullets. It was straight down — so glad our path up was far more gradual!
Today’s sights included this bridge that is part of the 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail-Trail.
A group of riders called “these guys” (named after someone said to a new rider, apparently in an impressed tone: You’re riding with these guys?) had some fun with the bridge we were on below:
Joan’s mom and one of her sisters met us in Matamoras, just across the state line from Port Jervis, NY, and swooped us away to lunch and ice cream. And then we went hunting for the East Coast’s version of Four Corners — a stone you can sit or stand on and be in three states at once:
Tonight was Banquet Night, when Anchor House recognizes participants (impressive group of 18-29-year-olds, but the biggest was 50-59 years old) and tells us how much we’ve raised so far. The big number: more than $485,000. Thank you to all my sponsors for your help in making this happen! This is a huge part of the funding for Anchor House and all it does for troubled kids. And as they told us, it’s never too late to donate. Read more here. A new total will be announced when we reach Quaker Bridge Mall on Saturday. The welcome-home ceremony is at 3 p.m. — come join us!