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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Allegheny YMCA Spin-a-thon by Maritza Balta

Mike Lloyd, winner of the October 2017 Allegheny YMCA Spin-A-Thon

Mike Lloyd, winner of the October 2017 Allegheny YMCA Spin-A-Thon

As spinning has sustained its role as a great way to exercise, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh  has leveraged spinning as a way to encourage physical fitness while also raising money for people in need.  YMCA spin-a-thons -- during which teams of people from different Ys, fitness clubs, and other groups compete against each other -- have become a popular way to do this. 

A YMCA spin-a-thon lasts for 4 hours, and each hour is divided into individual 15 minute segments.  That means there are 16 such segments across the 4 hour spin-a-thon.  Each team uses one bike.  The idea is for someone on the team to bike as hard and fast as they can for 15 minutes and then hand off to another person on their team who is fresh and ready to sprint the next segment.  This process repeats itself across 4 hours, and at the end the team that covers the most miles on its bike across the 4 hours is the winner.  Miles for each team are calculated based upon the bike's total revolutions per minute.
For example, if each team consists of 8 people, then the team can put a different rider -- fresh and rested -- onto their bike every 15 minutes for the first two hours and then repeat this pattern during the third and fourth hours.  In this case, the first rider who biked for 15 minutes would not need to get back onto the bike until the beginning of the third hour.  In these ways, the team can maximize its collective ability to bike as hard and fast as possible throughout the 4 hour spin-a-thon.

Clearly, it takes a team to race in a 4 hour YMCA spin-a-thon ... unless you're Upper St. Clair resident Mike Lloyd.

Mike has been actively involved with numerous YMCA programs for decades.  Many parents across the South Hills know Mike from his long term commitment to the YMCA's Indian Princesses and Indian Guides programs.  These programs encourage fathers (and Moms as well) to take their elementary school-aged daughters and sons to weekend camp outs at YMCA Camps Kon-O-Kwee and Deer Valley.  Mike has not only been a consistent camper with his own four daughters but also he has been an active recruiter of other parents to join the Princesses and Guides programs.  In addition, Mike is also an avid supporter of YMCA Camp AIM for children and young adults who have physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and communication challenges.  Furthermore, Mike has also been eagerly involved with the creation of the South Hills' brand new Spencer Family YMCA in Bethel Park at the site of the former Blade Runners facility.

That's why it was natural for Mike to want a team representing this new YMCA facility to compete during October in the Allegheny Y’s spin-a-thon. Unfortunately, many of the very best cyclists who were interested in participating on the Spencer Y team had conflicts and Mike found himself on the day of the event as a team of one.  That would normally mean the Spencer Family YMCA would not be competing this time.  But there's nothing normal about Mike Lloyd's commitment.  By day he's a partner with the law firm Williams Coulson LLC in downtown Pittsburgh, but outside of work he's a husband, dad, volunteer, and an avid athlete who not only teaches spinning classes but also does long distance biking, hiking, marathons, and triathlons - all at the age of fifty-six.

So when faced with a team of one -- himself -- Mike decided since he was there that he'd still start the 4 hour spin-a-thon and simply see how many minutes he could keep up a "hard and fast" pace for the fun of it.  To the surprise of many, Mike not only stayed on the bike for the entire first hour, but also he was in the lead after that first hour.  So he decided to keep biking as hard and fast as possible.  And he did it again for another hour.  So after two hours nonstop -- the halfway point -- Mike just kept going.  He made it for yet another hour -- the third hour -- after which his team of one was in first place with a 2 mile lead.  Finally, to the amazement of many, Mike simply kept going "hard and fast" during the fourth hour and single-handedly won the spin-a-thon for the new Spencer Family YMCA.  Across 4 hours he never took a break, never stopped moving the pedals, and never stopped sprinting. 

It takes a team to race in a 4 hour YMCA spin-a-thon ... unless you're Upper St. Clair resident Mike Lloyd.  Here he is after the event with the winner's trophy and medal.  Congratulations Mike! 

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