Chris Valenti Recounts his 4th Place Finish
By Chris Valenti
March 29, 2003 (Valle de Bravo, Mexico) – The Valle De Bravo ITU points race, located approximately eighty miles north of Mexico City, was surely one of survival. The course was rather unconventional for an ITU event, with a ten-mile climb originating at the belly of the valley at Lake Valle De Bravo. The city rests at about 4500 ft. and the bike course ascends to approximately 7100 ft. The climb tired even the most altitude comfy fellas from our very own Front Range.
The city itself is not a common tourist destination and has been well preserved as a result. It maintains a kind of charming pedestrian design with steep, narrow, cobbled streets that network around the forested lake.
Two Colorado pros, James Carothers and myself, ventured to this mysterious, tightly set town in an effort to acquire those coveted points so shrewdly administered by the ITU. The U.S. was well represented with thirteen American men and women on the start list, each in pursuit of points. Both Carothers and I, entering the race unranked, were intent on leaving otherwise.
The race began with an in-water start, and a tight line of competitors. In the men’s race, only seven would break away, while Carothers and I would exit shortly after in a second pack ready to chase them out of the valley and up the mountain. The bike course proved exhausting and Carothers and I moved up to 7th and 6th position, respectively, before the start of the final ten kilometer run, where those in contention would vie for a podium finish and more importantly, points. Because only the top ten receive points and must also finish within 5% of the winner’s time, the pressure was on, both to stay in touch with the leaders and to stay ahead of those scrambling in pursuit.
The race would end successfully as both Carothers and I headed home with a world ranking. Carothers finished 7th with a solid run, maintaining his position while I ran up two places to cross the line fourth overall and first American. On the women’s side, Alexis Waddel of California was the first American, finishing 2nd overall and Kelly Rae of Georgia followed closely finishing 5th.
Additionally, our U23 National Teams coach, Boulder resident, and my personal coach, Bettina Younge, was present at the race. I was glad to have her along and could not have met with such progress these past couple of years without her persistent support.
I would also like to thank my sponsors, Total Trainer, Active Elite – Breatheright nasal strips & Road ID, and Rudy Project. As many of us know, triathlon is often a bohemian endeavor and has been made more feasible for myself by sponsor subsidy and support.