Dennis Poremski, wellness director at the Asbury-Solomons Island retirement community, cycled alone June 20 for 15 hours and 212.5 miles.
Poremski, who began and ended his solo ride at the retirement community in Solomons Island, was riding as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s nationwide Longest Day event to honor people who work as caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients.
Participants raised money to fund research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association. Poremski said he wanted to focus more on raising awareness about the disease and the trials people who are affected by the disease go through.
As of Monday, Poremski had raised $420, topping his $400 goal.
From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. the day of the ride, he cycled through a heat index ranging from 100 to 105 degrees, muscle strain, sore feet, fatigue and lower back and neck pain.
“I’m going to want to quit and I can’t. I’m not going to,” Poremski said in an interview before the ride. “I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about the disease. I want people to realize that even though I’m suffering for one day, people are suffering from this disease every day.”
On June 21, the day after the race, he said all he could think about was how he got up and went to work “for just another normal day, but those people have to get up and do it all again.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association Web site, the progressive disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects memory and other intellectual abilities to such a severe degree that it interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the nation, according to the Web site, and those with the disease live an average of eight years after the onset of noticeable symptoms. Currently there is no cure, only treatments to reduce the symptoms.
While Poremski was cycling through St. Mary’s, Calvert, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, residents and associates at the continuing care retirement community in Solomons participated in a continuous relay walk around the campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to raise awareness, according to a release from Asbury-Solomons.
Forty-five people signed up to walk, Poremski said, but there were 65 walkers by the end of the day. Participants walked a total of about 117 miles in 1,758 minutes, or 29.3 hours.
The longest walker, Poremski said, was Kenneth Bates, who walked for 2½ hours and 12 miles.
Before his 15-hour ride June 20, Poremski’s longest cycling trek was about 11 hours and 135 miles, he said.
To prepare for the long day of bike riding, Poremski cycled before and after work as much as he could and took longer rides on the weekends.
Because the temperature reached dangerous highs June 20, Poremski made short stops for water along his route, because he can carry on;y about 60 ounces of water with him. To combat the high temperatures and possible heat-related illnesses, he drank about 40 ounces of water per hour.
He said when he arrived home the night of June 20, his back was white with salt from sweating throughout the day.
“I’d probably do it again, but if it’s a little cooler that’d be nice,” he said, laughing. “The day was really brutal, but I’m really glad I did it.”