Pedaling for a cause

By Cindy Votruba

MARSHALL – By 8:15 p.m. Saturday night, Justin Vorbach of Marshall had logged a little more than 100 miles on his bicycle for the day, riding around Lyon County.

By 3:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Shelly Pflaum, also of Marshall, had put in 18 miles on the hand bike at the Marshall Area YMCA.

Vorbach and Pflaum teamed up on Saturday to take part in The Longest Day, a daylong fundraising team event for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Vorbach took part in the fundraiser for his mother, Alice Vorbach, who had Alzheimer’s. She died Sunday morning.

Pflaum had already known about the fundraiser when she ran into Vorbach at the Y, and he was wearing is The Longest Day T-shirt. She said she asked him who was on his team, and he said no one.

“I said, ‘well, I’ll do it,'” Pflaum said.

Vorbach started his day off early, getting up at 5 a.m. and riding for 27 miles. He stopped off at his daughter Zoe’s Girl Scouts swim meet in Minneota.

At noon, Vorbach said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes, Curt Timmerman and Brian Stucke joined him in a ride.

“The four of us rode 60 miles together,” Vorbach said. “We went from Marshall to Balaton to Garvin to Tracy and back to Marshall. They did the bulk of the ride with me, which was great.”

Pflaum admitted it was a little boring being inside for her portion of The Longest Day, but she had the show “Private Practice” on Netflix to keep her occupied as she built up her miles on the hand bike.

“Thank God for Wi-Fi,” she said.

Vorbach said spending most of the day on his bicycle was “not bad, it was a little on the hot side.”

What Pflaum likes about The Longest Day fundraiser is that “it’s so open to whatever you like to do,” she said.

“You can get a team together and read all day,” Pflaum said, giving an example of one of the possible activities people can do for the fundraiser.

“(You can do a) sport thing, play a board game, some people do a road trip and drive around Minnesota,” Vorbach added.

Pflaum said she does hand-pedaling a lot, working out about four to five times a week.

“I’ve never done this long,” Pflaum said. “It’s speed rather than distance for me.” By 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Pflaum had four hours of hand-pedaling in.

Toward the end of the day, Vorbach took a shower, went to Perkin’s for supper with family and did 13 more miles on U.S. Highway 59.

Vorbach said his father visited his mother on Saturday.

“She seemed peaceful,” Vorbach said.

Vorbach said he’s planning to do The Longest Day next year.

“Shelly and I were talking that next year we’ll get a team together,” Vorbach said.

If she does the daylong event next year, Pflaum said she will be outside.

“I haven’t bought a hand bike yet,” she said. “It all depends on what happens between now and then.”

Vorbach’s goal for this year’s event was to raise $5,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. On Saturday, he said together, they raised roughly $3,000, with money still coming in. Vorbach said he wants to thank the Bike Shop in Marshall, along with the Escape Spa, as well as everyone who has donated toward the cause. To contribute, visit: