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USF bike team founder dies in crash
By ERIC SMITHERS, Times Staff Writer
Published October 23, 2007
Joshua Kuck once told his father that if he died he wanted his ashes strewn on New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon..
TAMPA - Joshua Kuck loved anything on wheels. The co-founder of a USF cycling team grew up riding mountain and dirt bikes before switching to road bikes two years ago.
He once told his father that if he died he wanted his ashes strewn on a speedway. A crash in Dade City on Sunday made those words all too real.
Mr. Kuck ran a stop sign while riding in the "Hilly Hundred," an event sponsored by the Tampa Bay Freewheelers cycling club, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
He was turning left from Clay Hill Road onto Blanton Road when a Dodge Ram driven by James T. Browning, 48, of Dade City collided with Mr. Kuck's Specialized E-5 bicycle and ejected him onto the shoulder, the Highway Patrol said.
A second pack of riders tried to revive him, but Mr. Kuck, who was wearing a helmet, died instantly of massive head trauma, his father said. He was 22.
No charges were filed.
The organized ride was not a race and was not conducted on a closed course, event coordinator Ruben Watson said.
A junior from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Mr. Kuck helped start the cycling team two years ago with nearly $15,000 collected from sponsors. Team members called him dedicated and selfless.
"Josh always made it known that if there was anything he could do in a race to sacrifice himself, he wouldn't care if he lost or won, he just wanted us to do well," teammate Brandon Kibler said.
His father, Stuart Kuck, described him as a go-getter who always stayed busy.
He said his son enjoyed motorcycling, water polo and lacrosse.
Mr. Kuck had spent five years in college trying to find himself -- first at Plymouth State and then at the University of South Florida, his father said.
Finally, at USF, he did.
"I told him just last week I was so impressed," Stuart Kuck said.
The family plans to cremate Mr. Kuck in Maine.
According to his father, he wished to have his ashes spread over the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.
Stuart Kuck said he plans to do just that.
A memorial service has not been scheduled.
Meanwhile, the cycling team plans to have a memorial ride to the place where Josh Kuck died.
Next year, members hope to set up a scholarship program in his name.
"Josh put way too much time into this," teammate Kristy Acuff said. "It was literally his baby, and he is the reason we have a team right now."
Staff writer Casey Cora contributed to this report. Eric Smithers can be reached at 813 226-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.