Meet our February Athlete Spotlight, Aldo Valverde! Aldo joined Paragon Training in 2019, but he's been running since he was a toddler, and it didn't take him much longer after that to start swimming and biking. After a series of life changes—marriage, moving to the USA, kids, starting a business—Aldo is consistently balancing triathlon training again, with sights on new personal records and the full IRONMAN distance.
I’m from Mexico City. I’m a Food Engineer and I’ve been working in the meat industry for some years now. Big Mexican meat company brought me to San Antonio 10 years ago to lead company expansion to the USA. After many years with them in Mexico and the USA, I decided to go independent and start my own business. Today I own and share that business (210 Foods - USDA meat processing plant) here in San Antonio with one of my best friends Alberto Arenas. We supply pork and beef ready to cook products to the foodservice and retail industry! Our products are distributed in around 5 states in the country for now. The best product we have is marinated beef fajitas for sure. BTW, big discount to Paragon teammates…!! Just reach out to me…!!
How long have you been swimming, cycling, running, and/or doing triathlons?
My Mum and Dad took me to the track to jog/walk my first 400m when I was 2 years old and I’ve run ever since. I started swimming and riding a bike when I was around 5 years old but not in a competitive way really. It was just for fun with my block crew at that time. I also started playing soccer (which I love) at 4 years old and played for probably 20 years (midfielder/striker) many teams and tournaments, but when you play that much of years there is a toll that you need to pay, especially for your ankles and knees, so after I was done with soccer I kept running and started to go to races: 5k, 10k, half and then marathons. But I always felt that my knees and ankles were still kind of wasted. That is when I started to bike with my friend Alberto Arenas who has been in cycling and triathlon from forever. We got into MTB first but a couple of hard falls led me to the road bike and to triathlon. I bought my first tri bike around 12 years ago, and I’ve been in love with the sport ever since. I’ve done Olympic and Half distance so far—tons of them, but I’m still missing the full Ironman. With so many life changes (got married, moved to a different country, became a parent, started my own business), it’s been hard for me to be consistent…!! I left the sport for a couple of years and came back a few years ago. Now that I'm surrounded by awesome teammates and coaches in Paragon, I’m on track to get that IM done and beat every PR I have.
What aspects of triathlon do you enjoy most?
Definitely the everyday training. I love every part of it. It’s a special time to be with myself to reflect, to create, to dream, to imagine, to set goals, to solve problems, to relive memories. The balance it gives to my life makes me very happy…!!
What has been your favorite training or racing event, and why?
I believe The Escape from Alcatraz Tri back in 2011. It was really special…!! Sea was angry, it was raining, it was still dark and I was in a boat in my wetsuit ready to jump into those conditions. You could see some fear on everyone’s faces, wishing for better conditions. When the time came, it didn’t matter, because at the end we triathletes are special, we are made to overcome anything that comes our way either in a race course or in life. I truly believe that. After about 15 minutes of swimming in those icing and angry waters the sky started to clear, and the sunrise started just behind the Golden Bridge, it was so beautiful to watch while still trying to reach San Francisco Bay beach…!! I usually don’t enjoy swimming much but ironically it gave me the best moment in any race I’ve been. The rest was a tough ride on the hills, a tough run on the sand and the infamous 400 steps sand ladder…!! Best event ever for me.
What is your favorite post-workout or race meal?
Easy, for carbs and protein a cold beer and a cheeseburger is the best…!!
What is one recent accomplishment you are proud of?
During last year's worst moments of the pandemic, we tried to supply meat products, eggs, tortillas, and hand sanitizer to families' homes with free deliveries and almost cost prices here in San Antonio. It was that time when going to the supermarket was really difficult and the lines were endless. I know it’s almost nothing compared with our first line heroes in hospitals, but I love San Antonio and I was really happy to contribute a little.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Definitely a Kona racer. Like Coach Mark once said: If you can’t over race them, then overage them…haha..!!
What is something no one knows about you?
That’s a hard one, but you know, I love to mix salty and sweet food, so one of my favorite snacks is a slice of bread with half Mexican cream and the other half “cajeta” (caramel) on top.