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Westport Rider Spins to Support Cancer Research

WESTPORT Conn. – Iain Bruce will ride in SpinOdyssey for the eighth straight year Sunday at Intensity in Norwalk. The emotion behind the six-hour spinning event to raise money for breast cancer research tugs at his heartstrings every year.

“It’s a powerful, emotional feeling in the room, especially at the beginning and the end,’’ said Bruce, who participates with a 41-member team from the Westport Weston Family Y. “I find it very emotional and powerful every time.”

Bruce has been one of the leading fundraisers every year. Last year, he raised $21,493 and helped the team earn $72,841 in pledges. That was the highest figure among all the teams. People can support Bruce through his fundraising page .

Riders can spin for up to six hours. There are also fundraising activities involving tennis, Zumba, body pump, yoga and a workout.

Bruce is an avid bike rider all year but says “the summer cycling season begins Monday.’’ SpinOdyssey helps keep him motivated to keep training during the winter, and he’s a proud supporter of the cause.

“Breast cancer research has direct relevance to my family,’’ Bruce said. “Almost everyone knows somebody who has breast cancer. I felt like I could make a difference and put this sweat to good use rather just leave a puddle of water on the floor.”

He has done that with his fundraising, where he taps a network of friends and business associates every year. “I try to find the right balance between asking and nagging,’’ he said. “I have lots of friends who do similar things. My wife and I made a decision 20 years ago to support friends who ask for that kind of support. If we know you and you do something for a cause that’s import to you, we’ll support you. We’re participants in a wider circle and try to share that in both directions.”

Bruce has learned more about breast cancer research since his involvement with SpinOdyssey, which has strengthened his commitment to participate. “I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the researchers, and it’s fascinating to talk to them and see their dedication, level of attention and brain power,’’ he said. “Someone will say, ‘I spent two years trying to isolate a protein.’ It’s incredibly focused. This is hand-to-hand combat, and marginal changes can make a big difference.”

After Sunday, Bruce will return to riding outside. He rides on weekends with the Sound Cyclists but logs most of his miles on solitary weekday rides that begin at 4 a.m. He’s back in time to catch the 6:34 a.m. train from Westport to New York for work. “It’s what I like to do,’’ he said. “It’s no one but me and the varmints at 4 in the morning. I can’t seem to entice a lot of people to get out of bed at 3:30 to go for a ride.”

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