Valdez duo take pleasure in profitable trip at mountain bike race
Sedona’s mother-and-son duo of Andrea and River Valdez were on their mountain bikes on October 17th and took part in the Cactus Cup event in Fountain Hills. Both showed strong performances.
The Cactus Cup is a series of mountain bike races that take place over three days. Both Andrea and River competed in the 40km XC race, with Andrea starting in the 40- to 49-year-old women’s division and River in the junior men’s division [13- to 15-year-old] Run. Even though River was younger and smaller than most of his competitors and had a longer race than before, he finished fifth out of 25 racers in his race. Meanwhile, Andrea took first place among her eleven drivers.
Andrea – who also drove a longer distance than normal – took the lead in her race after the first mile and eventually overtook some of the drivers from races that had started before her. As the race neared its end, she accidentally dropped her water bottle and had a dilemma – do you leave it like most racers or do you go back to pick it up? She noticed the challenge of driving in almost 100 degrees heat and decided to include it. The decision went well.
“I was a little nervous about this decision because I was at the top and didn’t want to lose my position,” said Andrea. “Fortunately, I was able to hold her back to the finish line and win the women’s 40km overall. The best part was to get over the finish line and hear my little buddy River cheer for me when he said, ‘Go mom’. “
“Aside from the incident with the water bottle, it went as well as possible given the heat,” added Andrea. “The heat always sucks your energy.”
The heat was a concern of Andrea. She was worried not only for herself and River, but for all the other drivers as well. Fortunately, she said she hadn’t heard of any heat-related incidents.
River’s race was a little different from his mother’s. He fell back to penultimate place at the start of the race, which made him catch up some of that. Slowly but surely he gained momentum and gradually overtook most of his competitors.
For 13 miles of the race he was all alone with no competitors in sight until he finally saw someone who could chase until the end of the race. Andrea noted that it can be difficult to keep a fast pace in this environment. However, River maintained his speed.
“I know it’s a race,” he said. “And if I let off the gas, the racing drivers behind could catch up.”
River added that while he would have loved to have made the podium [top 3]There wasn’t much more he could have done.
“I’ve been training a lot so I can’t do much at this end,” said River. “I’m one of the youngest and smallest kids in the juniors category. I think I’ll have a better chance of getting on the podium next year.”
Both Andrea and River are training for the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona series, which is slated to begin in January – although COVID-19 could change that schedule.
Both are looking forward to this race and may have a chance to finish what started a year ago.
“We’ve both participated in this series for several years and have a lot of fun racing and seeing our racing friends at these events,” said Andrea. “River and I did three of the five races last year and both were leaders in the overall standings to win the championship jerseys for each of our categories. However, the last two races were canceled due to the pandemic.”