McKay Robinson is a road warrior. By day, Robinson is principal of Lone Peak Elementary. But by night, he’s an avid cyclist, logging hundreds of miles a week on his Orbea Orca bike that’s emblazoned with the red, black and white colors of his beloved University of Utah Utes.
Robinson, who last year won a PTA/KUED Golden Apple Award for Outstanding School Administrator, is such a cycling machine that last month he earned a spot on the victory stand at the 2013 LoToJa Classic, a 206-mile race that wends through Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. The race, the longest one-day, USA Cycling Association-sanctioned race in the country, begins in Logan and ends at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
The former college-club baseball player finished No. 1 in his division and 20th overall in the race, which is mostly for amateurs. “My goal was to get under 10 hours,” says Robinson, who has been racing for three years. “I ended with 9 hours and six minutes. It’s going to be hard to improve on that.”
For the win, he was given a laptop bag full of goodies, including a golden trophy, ski passes to the Jackson Hole resort, discount coupons to stores that cater to cyclists, a $200 voucher for next year’s entry fees, headphones and a gold-colored LoToJa bumper sticker.
“If it’s gold in color,” Robinson says, “Then those are the winners. You see those things (on cars), and as a cyclist, you long for them.”
Students, teachers and parents at Lone Peak also have honored him for the first-place finish. While his playground prowess is well-known among students, the school’s PTA presented him with an honorary “Golden Sneaker” award. Golden Sneakers are given to students who demonstrate their physical fitness through a series of challenges.
This isn’t a pedestrian award, however. He was given gold-painted sneakers complete with sparkly gold shoelaces, and says he’ll wear them when the students participate in Golden Sneaker activities.
Robinson, who always wears a helmet when riding, says cycling is the “most mind-clearing activity” in his life.
“I process the day everything that’s going on at work, students that I want to help, teachers that I hope to inspire,” he says. “That’s when I come up with by best ideas. That’s what is so nice about the bike. Even though it’s time-consuming, it’s refreshing, it’s good and it’s freeing.”