Cycling team rides to be discovered
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
By Sarah Gogarty
What was once a little known group of students and alumni at Oklahoma Christian University has now become a growing group of cyclists in the Edmond community.
In their third season, directors of Team Undiscovered, Brian Parks, Judson Copeland and Bryan Ziegler are open to new involvement and more people that are interested in getting healthy.
"We created the club and team, and our goal is to expand the club," Parks said. "It's open to anyone interested in a fellowship of sports or wanting to be healthy."
Originally, Team Undiscovered consisted of Oklahoma Christian students and alumni. As the group expands, many new members are joining who are not associated with the university.
The team travels through the central states of Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas for races, but has made a decision to keep the team members close to home.
"We try to do Edmond based teams, but it is branching out. Wherever we go, they say we did not know that Oklahoma Christian had a cycling team," Parks said. "One thing that's cool is we've just been involved for three years and were just getting people coming up and asking if they can be a part of it."
Team Undiscovered consists of both a club squad and a race squad. The club squad exists for anyone who might have more recently gotten into the sport of cycling, or are just looking for a way to stay healthy while being part of a group.
The race squad consists of a much smaller group of around 10 cyclists who are more serious and dedicated to cycling. Each day the race members set time to prepare for the race season. Junior Ryan Westrup, a member of the team squad, finds that it takes up a majority of his time, but Team Undiscovered is important enough and worth the extra time.
"For the team the most important thing, I feel, is a healthy lifestyle," Westrup said. "To me the best thing about being part of the team is the people that I am around. They are my best friends."
Both Westrup and Parks said team camaraderie is important. Team members stay accountable to each other and regularly set times to practice with each other by either riding or lifting weights to make sure that they are all staying in shape.
Team Undiscovered is not only out to promote its own name. Sponsored by over 10 organizations, one being Oklahoma Christian, Team Undiscovered represents these companies as well.
"The Oklahoma Christian connection gets Oklahoma Christian's name out there in a different light other than some of the normal forms of advertising they use," Parks said.
Looking for different ways to get more people involved, Team Undiscovered is looking into partnering with alumni and bringing them back to the campus. The more people from the community that get involved, the further the name will go.
"There are many Oklahoma Christian alumni in the area, they support the school, and we want to collaborate with the alumni relations office to bring more people to Oklahoma Christian to see what a great campus it is," Copeland said.
This season, Copland, Parks and Ziegler are already planning on doing more than they did last year. Last season, the directors hosted two races, getting their names and their sponsors names out, while also participating in other races throughout the season. This year plans are to host three races throughout the season and finding new ways to promote.
Team Undiscovered is doing the same things as all the other teams but they have been told that they do it a different way. Cycling is a sport that takes not only dedication, but also money.
"It is very expensive to get into, so it is a very snobby sport to get into and we are not that way. We are very open and friendly, we wave at the rivals and we make fun of it," Park said. "But we also take it very seriously. We are very competitive and we want to be the best and to win every race we go to."
When the team is not preparing for race season, their long-term goals are something they are looking for ways to accomplish. One of their goals is growing the team into a professional team, a stronger semi-pro team and a collegiate team along with becoming a non-profit organization.
"Everything is to go back into the sport and community to market the organizations that are involved with our club," Parks said. "These goals could really happen through word of mouth to grow the group so that we can do more."