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Challenge Quassy – a celebration of triumphs

Posted on: Monday 8th June 2015

A weekend filled with family-friendly multisport fun unfolded Saturday and Sunday as the CHALLENGEQUASSY Olympic and Half distance triathlons took place amidst a festival atmosphere on the grounds of Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut.  With an historic wooden roller coaster, brightly lit carnival rides and calm, cool Lake Quassapaug as a backdrop, athletes tackled the notoriously tough climbs of both the bike and run, their herculean efforts eased only by the thought of the celebratory fun that lay in wait once the finish line came in sight.

Pro and age group athletes alike were invited to compete in an Elite division based on qualifying past performances. Saturday’s Olympic Distance race, which also served as the USAT Northeast Regional Championship, boasted both men’s and women’s Elite fields, with Lucas Pozzetta of OTF Multisport and Team Psycho taking the men’s victory in 2:01:19 and Cecilia Davis-Hayes, a medical student at Columbia University, topping the podium for the women in 2:19:40.  When asked for her Twitter handle in order to be properly tagged in her winning finish photo, Davis-Hayes laughed and said, “I don’t have one.  I train two hours a day and study thirteen hours a day. That’s why I can’t be on Twitter!” 

A dozen men chose to race in the Elite wave in the Half distance race, including 28-year-old first year pro Pierre-Yves Gigou from Quebec, Canada, racing on behalf of Team Merrell.  While Gigou exited the lake one minute in arrears to the lead swimmers – Tim Maxon, Frederic Bouchard and Connecticut local, father of three and Team Timex member Chris Thomas, he made quick time of the bike course’s relentless hills, clocking 2:22:37 and reaching T2 with an 11:30 cushion.  Next into T2 was Thomas, a top contender on any course and a four-time USAT Athlete of the Year.  But Thomas was no match for the man from the north; by mile seven Gigou had added another two minutes to his lead and, running comfortably, was clearly poised for the win.  Gigou’s 1:21:38 half marathon propelled him to a finish in 4:15:48, with Thomas following in 4:29:12.

“I really liked the race!” exclaimed an elated Gigou afterward.  “Many friends told me this is a perfect course for me.  This is my first year as a pro and I was excited to race here, so when I heard there would be no prize money I decided to come anyway.  I’m glad because I really enjoyed it.  And I bet my teammate $10 I would win, so I did win that money!  I’ll come back here.”

 The CHALLENGEQUASSY race weekend was a focal point for several CHALLENGEFAMILYAMERICAS charity partners, with Team RWB, Race2Rebuild and Team in Training bringing large contingents of athletes to participate in the event on behalf of the organizations near and dear to their hearts.  QT2 Systems, Official Coaching Partner for CHALLENGEQUASSY, featured a presence 20 athletes strong.  CHALLENGEFAMILYAMERICAS’ own Challenge Triathlon Team also had several athletes on course and served to escort the Half distance event’s Final Finisher, 77-year-young Michael Cowell who proudly crossed the line in 9:24:03.           

Complete results for 2015 may be found at www.challenge-quassy.com/results.


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