Ajo Bikes' Adrieanna Ramirez (D) rounds the first berm at Black Mountain BMX during the state championships in Phoenix, Ariz. on Oct. 20, 2013. Photograph by Carlos Herrera
Racer Profile: Adrieanna Ramirez
by CARLOS HERRERA
JOUR 306, Nov. 21, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. – Adrieanna Ramirez is not your conventional teenager. While most kids her age spend their time shopping at the all for the latest fashions, the 14-year-old is on her BMX bicycle working on sprints. She goes to the gym every Wednesday, where she has a personal trainer. She has practices with Team AJO every Monday night at the track. She races at eight or more national events each year.
Her classmates at Gridley Middle School are typically shocked when they learn that Adrieanna has been a bicycle motocross racer for five years.
“Their jaw usually drops and they’re like really?” she said. “I guess I don’t look like someone who races bikes.”
Adrieanna currently sits at no. 3 in the 14-year-old girls national age group [NAG] according to USA BMX, the national sanctioning body with more than 70,000 riders.
“This is my first year as NAG no. 3. I was no. 2 in the state the last year,” Adrieanna said. “NAG 1 is my goal.”
Utah’s Sophia Foresta is the racer that Adrieanna has her sights on, especially at the season-ending Grand National event in Tulsa, Okla. on Nov. 28. The GT factory racer is the current no. 1 girls amateur and outlasted Adrieanna at last March’s Winter Nationals in Phoenix, Ariz. in a photo finish. Adrieanna also came in second behind Sophia at last year’s Grand Nationals.
“Adrieanna is definitely one of the fastest riders in our age group in the country,” Sophia said. “It is obvious to me and her other competitors that she trains hard and is very dedicated to the sport. I enjoy competing against her because it pushes me to train harder.”
Adrieanna’s father remembers the March race vividly.
“The Winter Nationals were good,” said John Ramirez, Adrieanna’s father. “She was so close to Sophia. We had to watch a video to see who won. It was that close, by a tire tread.”
Currently sponsored by Ajo Bikes in Tucson and with a NAG no. 3 plate, not having a full factory sponsorship might seem incredibly strange. But that will soon change.
“Yeah, she won’t be wearing that jersey next year. At Grands, she won’t be wearing that jersey,” said the Ramirez. “She’s actually on Factory Staats now.”
Camarillo, Calif. based Staats is a BMX manufacturer who also sponsors AA Pro KJ Romero and 19-27 Expert Robbie Spanyard, both from Tucson.
Adrieanna showed off her speed at USA BMX’s Disney Cup Nationals in Oct. 25-27, being crowned the Disney Cup champion in Kissimmee, Fla. after dominating her age group all three days.
Adrieanna said Australian and current world champion Caroline Buchanan as someone she admires. Buchanan was also a 2012 Olympic Games BMX finalist.
“Caroline Buchanan has a great style and always has a positive attitude,” Adrieanna said. “Caroline is a very fast rider and I guess she reminds me of me in a way.”
While she has focused on the national series and less on state races, you’ll find Adrieanna racing at Tucson’s Desert Sunset BMX track every Friday and Sunday. To stay competitive, she will often race boys in the same age group.
Adrienna and her father agree on her strengths and weaknesses. “Her strengths have always been on the rhythm section,” Ramirez said.
“Her weaknesses are the turns. I think she likes to go too high [in the berm] and she needs to close the door a little harder. People like to dive on inside of her.”
The rhythm sections of a track are generally where a series of jumps are spaced close to together and where even slight errors can cause a rider to fall or lose momentum.
Adrieanna’s father doesn’t get to attend all of her national event races, but he is always thinking about her.
“I’m usually working when she’s racing and I’m always clinging to the phone to find out what’s going on,” Ramirez says. “Tell me something!”
Racing at so many national events each year can be a costly affair. But carpooling, convoying, and coordinating with other Tucson families making the trek is definitely beneficial.
“It’s easily $1,000 to $1,200 to travel to the Grands [from Tucson]” Ramirez said. “And you’re gone a week.”
To make it to the Disney Cup, Adrienna traveled with Jeremy Chandler and his parents Ben and Michelle, who own Ben’s Bikes and operate Desert Sunset BMX.
Racing is a family affair, but it’s more than just traveling to different events. For Adrieanna, it’s always at the forefront.
“On the days when racing is cancelled, we’re like ‘what do we do?’” said Brenda Vasquez, Adrieanna’s mother, who raced at the old Manzanita BMX and the original Fun Spot BMX track in Tucson years ago.
“For us it’s literally, I get off work, change clothes, and then we’re here,” Ramirez said. “We are doing something track-related pretty much everyday.”
Peering into the future, Adrieanna said that she would like to attend the University of Arizona after high school.
As she raises her hands and shakes her head, she says she is still undecided on a career.
Right now, her focus is getting that NAG no. 1 plate.