Gonzalo Valdovinos was the first to cross the finish line at the 41st Bolder Boulder on Monday, winning the push-rim race with a time of 24 minutes and 45 seconds.
Winning the race marked a successful return to Boulder after being away from the race for the past nine years.
“I’m really happy,” Valdovinos said through his translator. “I’m very happy with how I feel and how I ran. I was happy with how the conditions were for the race.”
Valdovinos got out to an early lead and never looked back on his way to the win. He kept a pace just under four minutes per mile and saved his best for the final two miles, where he paced at 3 minutes, 35 seconds for his fifth mile and 3 minutes, 53 seconds in the final mile of the race.
The long layoff meant plenty of work in order to make a strong return to the course this spring, but he also took lessons from his first run to help him.“Since there are so many streets and turns, I learned on the first one that you have to push it at each turn,” Valdovinos said. “There is a lot of satisfaction after nine years. There was a lot of training to get back and I managed to do it.”
With the win, Valdovinos hopes to build off of it as he continues his professional racing career.
Minutes after Valdovinos crossed, Cheri Madsen finished as the first female in the push-rim race. Winning the Bolder Boulder has become a habit for the 42-year-old Paralympian from Omaha, Nebraska.
“I love the Bolder Boulder,” Madsen said. “It’s a fun race. I thought it wasn’t probably as fast as I would have liked, but that’s ok.”
Madsen also jumped out to an early lead from her competition and was able to run her race the whole way. With a pace of 4:35 per mile, she crossed the finish line in 28 minutes, 23 seconds for the top spot. She also saved the best pace for her final two miles to pull away for the win. The last time she won the race was in 2017.
For Madsen, the race is a step out of her comfort zone in her professional racing career, but it’s one she looks forward to each year.
“I don’t normally do road races,” Madsen explained. “I’m a track athlete and I usually do sprints. This is a longer distance for me. When I can come out here and pull off a win, it feels really good.”
Madsen competed in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games and won seven medals, including gold in the 100 and 400 meter races in 2000. After stepping away for a little more than a decade to start her family, Madsen returned to racing and was able to compete in the Olympics in 2016, taking home the silver medal in the 400. Her sites are currently set on the Tokyo Games in 2020 and a third goal medal in her Paralympics career.
“I’ll be hitting the track and lifting weights to build up some strength and speed work,” Madsen said. “It’s something I’ve done before, I’m just doing it all over again.”
MEN’S PUSH-RIM — 1. Gonzalo Valdovinos USA Riverside, Calif. 24:45, 2. Jose Jimenez USA Aurora 26:54, 3. Scot Hollonbeck USA Atlanta 28:49, 4. Matthew Porterfield USA Knoxville, Tenn. 29:07, 5. Tyler Byers USA Liberty Lake, Wash. 30:16, 6. Matthew Davis USA Bowling Green, Ky. 30:19, 7. Joey Gibbs USA Ocala, Fla. 30:33, 8. Chris Waddell USA Garden City, Utah 38:08, 9. Denny Gordon USA Longmont 58:37, 10. Howie Sanborn USA Denver 1:29:06
WOMEN’S PUSH-RIM — 1. Cheri Madsen USA Union, Neb. 28:23 $ 1,500, 2. Kendall Gretsch USA Colorado Springs, Colo. 28:40 750, 3. Patty Cisneros-Prevo USA Wheat Ridge 38:17 250, 4. Katja Stokley USA Longmont, Colo. 55:10