A heart attack and age can’t slow Folsom resident Dave Jorz down. The 76-year-old resident recently completed his summer with a 4100 mile bike ride across the United States over 72 days. The accomplishment actually surpassed a World Record for the oldest person to ride the distance.
Jorz completed the journey and began sharing many highlights of the experience back in August after his return. Prior to that, he spent every day on the seat beginning on May 7 in Arlington, VA. After riding a few days solo to tack on some extra miles to his journey, he met up with a group of riders to begin traveling as group with tour guides in tow on May 14.
Jorz spent most of his days on his bike between the hours of 6-7 a.m. During the warmer parts of the summer he would hit the road earlier to beat the heat, sometimes hitting the road before sunrise.
Jorz and the others carried just their clothes, food, water, bike tools and essentials on the road. Tour guides followed closely behind with addition items such as camping equipment, personal items, etc. The group camped in state parks along the way, along with a few motels and hostels to get out of the elements as necessary.
The group trekked anywhere between 60 and 80 miles per day, depending on weather conditions. They rode six days in a row, resting one day each week. After traveling 72 days and over 4100 miles, he arrived in Arlington, Virginia, to Waldport, Oregon to complete his trip across the two most distant points in the United States.
The ride took Jorz across some 16 states including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and the District of Columbia.
“We went through small-town America and mostly back roads and country roads,” Jorz recalled. “I really enjoyed the east, mainly Maryland and Pennsylvania. Everything was green as it was early in the spring.”
A graduate of Woodland High School in 1965, Jorz made the trip in honor of his late mother who passed away back in 2001 after suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. You would never know it but he also has had his own adversities when it comes to health, suffering a heart attack not so long ago in 2017 and making a full recovery to the point he was back on a bicycle and eventually on his recent “bucket list” trip across the nation.
“I enjoyed every day. There were hard days, I was never going to quit unless I had a health issue or was injured,” Jorz explained in an August interview with his hometown newspaper in Woodland who celebrated the city native’s success.. “You kind of put your head down on those long, steep hills and just kept pedaling. I enjoyed that because it was a part of a challenge that I had been doing for myself for so many years.
“I wasn’t going to quit, you just keep pedaling and looking at the scenery.”
Jorz began biking back in 1975 and has traveled thousands of designated trails and paved roads. He trained for his journey, often using the American River Parkway from Folsom to Downtown Sacramento and back.
“I would recommend this to anybody at any age that’s in good shape or willing to get into shape, that is an enthusiastic bicyclist and doesn’t mind being gone for two to three months,” Jorz said.
According to World Record data, the previous male rider to travel the distance at an older age was a 75 year old man who rode 3,200 miles.
If you are out on the bike trails around Folsom, don’t be surprised if you cross paths with Jorz as his passion for cycling continues and inspires others.
Megan Hoffman-Davis is a freelance content creator who submitted this article to Folsom Times. Photos: Dave Jorz as taken along his journey