Organizers and sponsors of the Southern California Cyclocross Prestige Series (SoCal Cross), the nation’s largest series of winter off-road bicycle competitions and festivals, have agreed to rename one of its marquee races “Udo Cross” in memory of Udo Conrad Heinz. Heinz, a prominent personality in the San Diego cycling scene, was struck and killed on August 4 by a bus while riding with friends on Camp Pendleton.
“Udo was an inspiration on and off the bike—as a competitor, businessman, family man and playful source of fun and inspiration in our cycling culture—and he had the greatest laugh,” says Michael Marckx, president and CEO of SPY, the title sponsor of Udo Cross. “I am honored to have enjoyed our time together—with our families and friends, at races and on training rides, and in the many intersections of our interests and business goings-on. I’m grateful for the opportunity to memorialize the man—my friend—with something so emblematic of his life and our shared avocations as a cyclocross race and festival in our beautiful North County backyard.”
Udo Cross will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 10 at San Dieguito River Park (Lake Hodges) in Escondido, California. The event is being hosted by Ranchos Cycling Team and will include activities for all age groups, food and beverage concessions and a vendor village featuring products and services from cycling brands and local businesses. In association with Udo Cross, proceeds from race registrations, as well as donations, will go to the Udo C. Heinz Memorial Fund, benefiting the Heinz family, including Udo’s wife, Antje; son, Jan (9); and daughter, Mia (7). Those wishing to donate to the Heinz Fund may do so via check or wire: Udo C Heinz Memorial, San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU), Acct. No. 490583600.
Complete Udo Cross information is available at socalcross.org.
“Udo was a great man, husband and father and gave so much to the community,” says Dorothy Wong, SoCal Cross Prestige Series director. “This inaugural Udo Cross, which is being held at one of Udo’s favorite riding spots, is an incredible way to celebrate his life and legacy, bring together family and friends, and continue Udo’s work in promoting the free spirit and sport of cycling.”
In addition to Udo Cross, a memorial ride is slated for Saturday, November 16, at 8 a.m., starting and finishing at the SPY Optic global headquarters, located at 2070 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92011. Riders of all abilities are invited to this conversational-pace, 50-some-odd-mile fete, which promises to have ample rest stop support along the route and happy other diversions at its conclusion. A significantly shorter route is additionally being planned. For updates leading up to the ride and recap contributions thereafter, interested parties may go to facebook.com.
Heinz grew up in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. In his teen years, he discovered the sport of triathlon. The pastime availed many opportunities for the young competitor, including love: In 1987, he met his wife, Antje, then a fellow competitor on his triathlon team. He went on to complete an array of notable multisport events through 2001, before focusing increasingly on his cycling pursuits, including road races, mountain bike competitions and cyclocross contests.
Heinz was a board member of the Ranchos Cycling Club and is credited with developing the Ranchos Cyclocross Race at Lake Hodges—the event which now bears his name. Among his many enduring other achievements, Heinz was trainer to his wife, who under his tutelage became a four-time California/Nevada State Time Trial Champion and two-time SoCalCross Prestige Series winner. Together, the couple embraced family life, raising their son and daughter, and selflessly promoted community initiatives and social responsibility programs.
Heinz held a Masters of Engineering degree from the University of Kaiserslautern and added to it an MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2007. He was promoted to the role of vice president, Commercial Products, with the TUV Rheinland Global Group, an organization with which he was employed for 16 years.
(Antje Heinz reports that TUV continues to actively support the Heinz family in untold ways, for which she is immensely grateful.)
Interested parties may find details about Heinz’s life at legacy.com.
Additionally, details of Udo’s tragic accident and related testimonies are posted at bikinginla.wordpress.com.