Big Changes: A Year of Cross Racing at CycleU/Apex

In the past, a season of cyclocross on the Apex Racing team was pretty dull. You showed up in your car, dragged out your trainer, saw the course and maybe ran into a few people you knew. If you were lucky you saw one or two teammates. You went to register and then got back to your car, trying to warm up alone in the drizzling rain. Aside from being in the race itself, it was a boring and lonely existence.

After Cycle University became a co-sponsor of Apex Racing in early 2013 things began to change for the better. The team had an amazing showing on the road, but the best improvement was the awesome turnout at cross races. We went from warming up by our cars in the drizzling rain to having some beat up old white tents as base camp. The tents may have been dirty, but the crowd of teammates and friends inside were what mattered.

With some tremendous financial support from Todd Baumeister and consistent positive energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of Cycle U’s Craig Undem, the newly titled Cycle U/Apex was exploding outward. Ken Ramirez (Cycle U/Apex) and his fiancée from TGH had a big part in base camp set-up and continuously rallied teammates to come out and race.  Results began to pile up, and our success snowballed. Newly added Conrad Steffens grabbed 3 podiums and a handful of top 5’s. Zack Hewell took 8 podiums including 4 victories and an upgrade to cat 3 in one season (close to cat 2).  Joseph Hall, completely new to racing, brought home two top 5’s and improved exponentially throughout the season.  Rick Birdsey won 2 podiums including a 2nd place at Starcrossed. We even had our local RAAM hero Chris Ragsdale come out and get dirty, and our own Ken Ramirez was crowned as Cross King for 2014. You couldn’t go to a cross race without hearing “Cycle U/Apex” over the PA. The team kept competing on the road, traveling to Bend to battle the frozen hell of the Deschutes Brewery Cup. We even had a member fly out to conquer Mt. Crumpet at Jingle Cross. The old white tents were replaced with sturdy new ones bearing the CycleU/Apex logo to fit our growing presence at races.

The team has a lot to look forward to in 2014 including adding a few ladies to the squad and traveling to more of the UCI races around the country to represent Cycle U/Apex.We also hope to pick up a few juniors and look forward to mentoring them with help from Craig and the coaching staff at Cycle U. The already amazing support from Cycle U is only going to get better and I look forward to see the team flourish in the next few years.  Did I mention that we are planning on launching a 3 races cross series?  Shhhhhhhh!

No more warming up alone by the back of the car anymore!

Jason Cemanski

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