Lex Picillo will participate in the CCAP Breakaway Benefit Cycling Festival
Lex Picillo of Swampscott, 14, loves cycling. He has participated in many cycling races and triathlons. And now he wants to help others in a neighboring state have the same opportunities.
The Swampscott teenager participates May 7 in the CCAP Breakaway Benefit Cycling Festival, a fundraising event for youth cycling programs in Connecticut schools and cities. Funds raised help create more youth teams, allow more coaches to lead and allow more kids to ride bikes, according to race officials.
This mission is something Picillo holds dear. Cycling and triathlons have been such an important part of his life. It can be seen training in and around Swampscott and Marblehead.
The mission of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP) is to ensure Connecticut youth and their families have access to and exposure to a statewide organized youth cycling league, according to literature from the CCAP.
“The sport of cycling teaches a child or young adult a multitude of values, social skills and mindsets that help them succeed in all aspects of their lives, and CCSI is proud to offer children across the state the opportunity to participate in a safe and positive team environment,” the officials wrote.
More than 55 Connecticut school districts and cities have established CCSI-registered cycling programs or are in the process of establishing cycling clubs and teams. More than 600 young people participate in these programs. Additionally, more than 35 CCSI youth-specific events, camps and clinics are scheduled to take place in 2022, according to CCSI officials.
The Swampscott Reporter and Wicked Local Swampscott caught up with Picillo to ask him a few questions about his upcoming fundraising event. To learn more about his fundraising efforts, check out his donations page: https://www.pledgereg.com/327956.
Name: Lex Picillo
The school: Windham Woods School
Teams: For cycling: CCAP Greater Hartford ERRACERS, and for triathlon: TRIDENTS
Recent Cycling Events and finishes: Wicked Nor’easter mountain biker: third; Frozen Four Criterium Course 1: first; Frozen Four Criterium Course 3: Third; Frozen Four Criterium Course 4: second; ECCC Collage Criterium Course 1: I’m not sure where I fit. I was doing this one as a practice to push myself to prepare for nationals, but I wasn’t the last and I was the youngest there. Other than one of my teammates, who is a year older than me, the next youngest person was 19.
Why are you taking part in this race to support this cause? What excites you about the cause?
I support the CCAP Breakaway Ride and Festival for several reasons. I joined CCAP ERRACERS this year. Their coaches always helped me, even when I wasn’t on the team. They were all nice and always encouraged me, so this year I wanted to be a part of what they do.
I love finding a way to pay it forward and have a fundraising run every year. Its mission is to get every child to ride a bike. That’s what I prefer to do. Cycling means a lot to me. I have big goals to be a professional pilot one day. Also, I think with all the support my team has given me, it’s a great way to give back, and I want to give back big. This cause fascinates me, because I like to win, so I want to raise the most money, even more than my goal.
How long have you been cycling/competing in triathlon, and what do you love about it?
I have been doing triathlon since I was 6 years old. Last year I started competing in mountain bike, cyclocross, road and criterium. I enjoy participating in cycling because it is a sport that I can do both competitively and also for fun.
Do you focus on one discipline over the others (running vs cycling vs swimming) these days?
Yes. My main focus is on the bike, but I still participate in occasional triathlons. I love it, and I’m really good at it.
What is the achievement in competition that you are most proud of so far, and why?
The accomplishment I am most proud of is being chosen by Orchard Cross CX to be one of their junior sponsored athletes to compete in the CX Nationals race in Illinois. I was chosen from over 300 young men who applied.
What’s next for you after this fundraising event in terms of competition?
After this fundraising event, I have races pretty much every weekend and plan to go to the Junior Nationals for road, mountain, cyclocross and triathlon events. I also plan to continue training to be an elite cyclist and will continue to represent both CCAP for cycling and Tridents for triathlon.
Tell us something cool about you outside of cycling / competitions?
I am a huge advocate for children with learning disabilities as I am both dyslexic and have ADHD. I do my best to defend children who have difficulty defending themselves. I want to use my athletic successes to encourage all kids – no matter what their challenge – to know that they can achieve anything they want if they’re willing to put in the effort.