By Clay Schuldt
Special to the Caledonia Argus
Bree Jore, a seventh grader from Houston Township, achieved an impressive goal this summer. Jore managed bike 900 miles in 90 days. Jore remains very modest about her accomplishment, but it’s quite the feat for a 12-year-old.
For perspective, a round trip from Caledonia to St. Louis, Mo. is only 850 miles.
Jore set the goal after receiving a bicycle odometer for her birthday back in May. She asked herself, “How far will this odometer go?” Once Jore learned the odometer could go to 900 miles she was sold.
Jore said the original plan was to ride around “The Horn.”
The Horn is a complete circuit from her home near Houston to Sheldon to Cut Across Road to Yucatan and back for a total 10-mile trip. Every day for 90 days Jore planned to travel the route. Plans changed when a bridge in Sheldon went under construction.
Fortunately, The Root River Valley State Bike Trail would serve as an alternative.
On most days in during summer Jore would bicycle from Rushford to Houston, a distance of 12.6 miles, with the occasional round trip of 26 miles. “I had a couple of my mom’s friends that went with me, and a couple of my friends went once or twice,” Jore said.
Often Jore would make the trek from Rushford or Houston alone, but she had assistance. Her mother, Mary Jore, would drop her off in Rushford and she would bike back to the Nature Center in Houston. Mary was very supportive of her daughter’s goal, saying, “This exercise thing was important to me because there is no summer rec.”
However, before letting her daughter go out on her own, she insisted on purchasing the proper equipment. The bicycle Jore used was a light-blue 21 Speed Trek. In addition, mom made sure a helmet was worn at all times.
One of the biggest challenges for Jore was the early mornings. While most 12-year-olds sleep in late during the summer, Jore was awake at 5:30 a.m. This was in order to beat the summer heat. In terms of weather, mid-mornings could be the worst time to bike. “That, or it could be freezing in the morning,” she said.
Jore was fortunate, though, that with little rain this year she never had to bike during a storm.
The bike trail itself was relatively smooth. The Rushford to Houston route is relatively flat, with the exception of the massive hill near Cushon’s Peak Campground. Jore said that on most mornings she had the road to herself. “Usually it was just one or two.”
There was one day, however, where she was shocked to count 46 people on the trail in the morning. It turned out to be Rushford Days.
Her lucked did not stop with the weather and terrain. Jore experienced no real problems with her bicycle. No flat tires, no accidents, or even a loose chain. Once when her father, Doug Jore, was riding with her, his tire went flat, but nothing worse happened for the rest of the summer.
Jore came up with this goal partly because there was no summer rec program, but the huge motivating factor was one of charity.
“I’ve been asking a couple people to sponsor me,” Jore explained.
Her friend Tom Gittens had developed cancer, and she wanted to do something to raise money to help. Jore came up with the idea herself, telling her parents that it would be nice if she could give $900 for the 900 miles she rode.
Jore was succeeded and gathered the final dollars on the day she hit 900 miles.
Jore managed to reach her goal a few weeks before school started on Aug. 30. The miles were counted so that she hit 900 miles just as she was returning to the Nature Center in Houston where a group of family and friend waited to celebrate.
Jore is giving her bike a rest for now. She remains modest about her achievement and is hesitant to talk about it.
Her mother, however, is quite proud. “I don’t think she realizes what she accomplished,” said Mary Jore. “It is an impressive feat for a 12-year-old.”
The Jore family wished to let everyone know that friends and family of Tom Gittens are still accepting donations.