Heather VanValkenburg

Birth year: 1975

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Current Home: Vancouver, Washington

6th grade English and Science Teacher in Battle Ground, Washington

Heather has been racing and riding bikes since the winter of 2000 and she’s done it all – road, track, TT, crits, cyclocross. She found her natural strengths in sprinting and has earned 8 masters nationals titles on the track in various events. In recent years, she has returned to the road and cyclocross finding great enjoyment in the competition and friendships she’s made. Heather is someone you always want in your corner. She is calm, collected, knowledgeable, and encouraging.

Heather is an OBRA (Oregon Bike Racing Association) official and has helped at the USA Cycling Talent I.D. camp in Forest Grove, OR over the past two summers. She has found this teaching and learning experience to be very rewarding and keeps in touch with many of the young riders as they develop into amazing athletes.

Heather has been involved with the local organization Let’s Race Bikes (LRB) from the beginning and has played a big role in helping to grow the sport of women’s road racing in Oregon. She has emceed two fundraising events and helped lead rider clinics with LRB.

Heather races because she loves the community. She loves riding, the people, the camaraderie, and the sense of belonging. She also loves to eat, and well… what better way to stay in shape than time in the saddle?

When Heather tears herself away from her bikes, you can find her hiking, camping, backpacking, and adventuring with her dog.

Pre-race ritual: I put everything I’m going to need just before the race in my helmet (gloves, glasses, gel, inhaler) when I’m getting dressed to warm up. Then my helmet usually hangs from the team tent or in my car. This way I don’t forget anything in the pre-staging scurry.

Funniest race story: 2005 Tour of Walla Walla. We got caught in a thunder storm with heavy rain and lightening. The lightening was so bad, they stopped the race in a tiny town with one stop light. We all huddled under the awnings of mostly closed businesses. Eventually, they called off the race and we threw our bikes in the backs of trucks and on officials cars to get back to town.

Memory from your first race: I was dropped in the first 5 miles. But I finished.