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KEEPING TO RIDER'S PATH

A memorial fund will be set up in the late Josh Kuck's honor, and a race will bear his name.

Led by the USF cycling team, dozens of riders braved an early morning chill to pedal 20-plus miles in honor of Josh Kuck, the team's co-founder and president who was killed Oct. 22 during a race near Dade City.

The memorial ride also featured Dana Temple, Josh Kuck's stepfather, wearing a T-shirt that said "Josh Kuck's Dad."

The ride followed the same route of the Hilly Hundred event, during which Kuck was killed in a collision with a truck at the intersection of Clay Hill Road and Blanton Road.

The annual Hilly Hundred event will now be renamed "The Hilly Hundred, in Memory of Josh Kuck," and money raised will be donated to a memorial fund set up in his honor.

Ruben Watson, the president of the Tampa Bay Freewheelers and organizer of the Hilly Hundred, said he believes the fund could raise thousands over the next few years.

Watson has been in touch with Temple nearly every day since the accident, sometimes speaking 10 times a day.

Temple has called about accident reports, insurance information and help with moving Kuck's belongings back to Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

But the predominant conversations have been about organizing the memorial fund.

"If we do a scholarship fund, that means that it is linked to an individual and we have less flexibility with the spending," said Watson. "But if it is organized as a memorial fund, it could help pay for particular expenses associated with a cyclist besides tuition, such as training or equipment for training."

The consensus opinion is to continue with Kuck's goals. A junior at the University of South Florida, Kuck helped start the school's cycling team two years ago with nearly $15,000 from sponsors. Team members called him dedicated and selfless.

"I cannot think of any greater tribute to Josh than to do this," said Temple. "This is what he would have wanted, this was his life. This is what he was working at, he wanted the team to become a recognized sporting team and to promote this sport in Florida."

Many associated with the cycling community showed up Saturday. Alyssa Baptista, Kuck's girlfriend and a biology student at USF, helped at the rest stops.

Another ride leader was Brandon Crain, Kuck's partner in founding the USF cycling team.

"I think this is a closure experience for a lot of us," Crain said. "I know many had not been back to the site yet. So riding up there and being able to see the site of the accident with his father, I think it was helpful for everyone to come out and do this."

For Temple, it was a somber opportunity to see what his stepson had accomplished.

"I have never felt so proud in my life. Never. It literally brought tears to my eyes," he said.

The memorial fund that the Tampa Bay Freewheelers are helping to organize with Temple is not the only fund in the works.

"We are doing all sorts of fundraising in Maine. Josh's high school started up a scholarship in his name," said Temple. "The people I work with are helping with the fundraising. Everybody I know is helping in any way they can."

A chief goal is to keep in mind what Kuck would have wanted.

"We want to make sure the cycling team continues indefinitely," said Temple. "I know this is what Josh wanted and this is where most of my efforts are going. I plan to come down here every year that I can for the rest of my life."

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