NOVA BMX Rider Spotlight
This is where we get to introduce you to some of the athletes that make up the NOVA BMX family.
October 2018 ~ Rider of the Month ~ Mark Vakhov
If there were going to be a movie about October’s Rider of the Month, it might be called From Russia With Love of BMX.
Mark Aleksandrovich Vakhov’s journey to NOVA BMX originated across the world in his hometown of Yekerinburg, Russia. He began visiting the U.S. a few years ago for short stays with his Aunt Nadia and Uncle Jerry. Eventually he started spending his summers here, and a fascination with BMX that began online finally led him and Jerry to check out NOVA BMX in 2016.
They quickly became part of the scene, with Jerry volunteering in a variety of roles and Mark progressing through the USA BMX ranks to his current status as an 11-Intermediate. Mark’s tireless but low-key work ethic and gutsy racing in a highly-competitive class have impressed the NOVA BMX community. Some of our best local races in recent weeks have featured Mark and off-track pal Vincent Via banging bars and rubbing elbows while jockeying for position down NOVA’s key second straight. It’s the close, hard-fought laps that Mark says he likes the best.
Mark says he enjoys BMX because it’s very fun and helps him build muscles and stay in shape. He didn’t participate in the sport until he came to the U.S., as Russia does not have the network of local tracks that benefit riders in this country. Traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Russia, Mark found his training interrupted. Now, however, he’s working on a longer-term arrangement that will hopefully allow him to stay in Virginia throughout the school year.
Mark’s focus has paid off this year, with big gains in his strength and confidence on the bike. He credits the older, more experienced riders at the track with helping him progress in the sport. He also has picked up tips and guidance from PULL Magazine. Mark offered his thanks to his Uncle Jerry and the volunteers at NOVA and other area tracks for encouraging him and helping him pursue his BMX career.
So far Mark has mostly participated in local and regional events. He said, however, that he intends to keep working hard, with the hope that he can make the transition to national-level competition. Considering how far he’s come in the short time he’s been at NOVA, we have no doubt that he can accomplish whatever goals he sets for himself.
We are very glad that Mark and Jerry found their way into our NOVA BMX family. Some of us old timers remember the days when international politics limited the opportunities that American and Russian athletes had to compete and befriend one another. Thankfully that has changed, and our countries and sports are better off for it.
Congratulations to Mark Vakhov for being October’s Rider of the Month. He’s come a long way, geographically and otherwise. Wherever Mark’s journeys take him in the future, he’ll always have a home here at NOVA BMX!
This rider spotlight was written by our local racer and BMX dad, Christopher Zealand. Photo provided by Mark's uncle.