Minot’s Dave Orem earns spot in National Senior Games
Taking in the beautiful North Dakota landscape is just one of the many perks for local cyclist Dave Orem. What started as a hobby has turned into a passion, earning him a spot in the National Senior Games next year.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Orem found himself in North Dakota because of the military. After moving back to Pennsylvania from being stationed in Germany, Orem decided he missed the pace of North Dakota, moving back in 1993.
“I’ve been cycling all my life,” Orem recalled. “Did a little bit of road racing as a junior… When I got (to North Dakota) I got interested in some of the longer tours like CANDISC (now CaNDak) and Bike the Border.”
CaNDak, a seven-day tour, and Bike the Border, a three-day tour, are here in North Dakota and offer cyclists the opportunity to experience the state from the seat of a bike at an “unhurried” pace. It’s a great way to put on those longer miles while seeing more of the state.
One thing Orem loves about cycling is the stress relief.
“You don’t even have to think, just go out there and ride,” Orem said. “You can beat yourself up if you want or just enjoy the day.”
He also enjoys the camaraderie when he gets the chance to train with others.
“Especially once you start putting in some of the longer miles or as you’re developing, somebody else is there developing with you,” Orem said. “They understand the process and, like any sport, you see little milestones and you can appreciate what other people are doing.”
Working at Val’s Cyclery in downtown Minot, it’s easy for Orem to stay connected in the local biking scene. Fellow cyclist and Minot resident Cory Meza is another source of knowledge and support for Orem. He said they will share routes, training strategies and just check in to see how things are going.
Orem has had one of his most successful years to date in competition. It’s also the first year he has reached out and had a coach.
“He’ll develop a workout plan and I’ll give him feedback about how I’m feeling and what’s going on and he’ll make adjustments as needed,” he said. “After the Minnesota Seniors Games last year and I did so well, I said okay, I’m at least going to make my best attempt to qualify for nationals.”
So far, Orem has qualified twice-over.
The North Dakota Senior Games held in Fargo in July was their first year having a cycling event. Being their first year, the N.D. Senior Games offered a 10K time trial, which was the first time Orem had done something of the sort.
“I told my wife it’ll be somewhere around 17 or 18 minutes,” Orem recalled. “I came in at 13:23 and got second place so that was a qualifier for nationals.”
After his success at the North Dakota Senior Games, Orem was hungry for more. He had his taste of what it was like to be at the top and pushed himself to get there again.
Orem and his wife traveled to Mankato, Minnesota, for the Minnesota Senior Games. This time, he entered the 40K Road Race.
“Got some revenge for the people that beat me last year,” Orem joked, “and was able to take first place this year to qualify for the road race at nationals.”
Orem went into the race with the goal of qualifying, which only needed a top four finish.
“I have to say, it was probably the most exciting race that I’ve done. It basically ended up being a three-person sprint to the line… It was wheel to wheel all the way,” he said. “Whether it was dumb luck or I just outlasted the others, it just made it really fun and exciting.”
Right now, Orem is turning his focus to Nationals. So far he doesn’t plan to enter any more competitions until his Nationals debut in June of 2019. The competition is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As Orem delves deeper into the cycling community, he hopes to see cycling continue to grow in North Dakota. He’d love to see more competitions held in North Dakota. For road racing, many North Dakota cyclers travel to Minnesota to take part due to the lack of events in the state.
For now, Orem is happy traveling around and continuing to grow his love of cycling and meeting others throughout the state who share the same passion.
“Just come out and ride,” Orem said.
(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)