USF student Joshua Kuck died while Sunday while riding his bike in the “Hilly Hundred.” Special to the Oracle
For the last two years, Joshua Kuck has dedicated his life to cycling. The 22-year-old founder of the USF Cycling Team raised thousands of dollars from sponsors and recruited more than a dozen students to build the University’s first recreational biking squad.
But when Kuck went on an organized bike ride Sunday morning in Dade City, the team’s co-captain lost his life doing what he loved.
Kuck was riding in the “Hilly Hundred,” an event sponsored by the Tampa Bay Freewheelers cycling club. As he was heading southbound on Clay Hill Road, he ran a stop sign at the Blanton Road intersection, according to a Florida Highway Patrol news release.
Kuck was making a left turn onto Blanton Road when a Dodge Ram driven by James T. Browning, 48, of Dade City, struck the back of his Specialized E-5 bicycle.
The collision ejected Kuck, who was wearing a helmet, onto the shoulder. A pack of riders following Kuck tried to revive him shortly thereafter, but he was already dead from the massive head trauma, his father said.
The ride was not a race and was not conducted on a closed course, according to event coordinator Ruben Watson. No charges were filed.
A junior from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Kuck didn’t start riding road bikes until two years ago when he got a job at Cyclemania in Portland, Maine. Co-owner David Brink said Kuck always had a clean work ethic and was a good guy to have around.
“He came in here from another shop, a mountain bike shop – we’re primarily a road bike shop,” he said. “It wasn’t long before we converted him into a ‘roadie.'”
When Kuck moved to Florida after leaving Plymouth State University, his father, Stuart Kuck, said he started to find himself.
“He was just a ‘go-getter,'” Stuart said. “He e-mailed me just last week and I told him how impressed I was.”
Besides creating the cycling team, Kuck was also a member of the USF lacrosse team and played amateur water polo. Stuart said has passion has always been with cycling, though.
His teammates experienced the same type of dedication while working with Kuck. Brandon Kibler, a fellow teammate, said Kuck was always devoted to the team. He said Kuck always used to tell them he didn’t care if he won a race, he just wanted everyone else to do well.
“He was selfless like that; he did not care if he won or not, he just wanted us to win,” Kibler said.
Stuart said his son will be cremated in Maine. Even though a memorial service has not been set, he said Josh once asked him to scatter his ashes at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon – one of the more popular speedways in Nascar. Stuart plans to do just that.
The team will also gather in memory of Kuck. A bike ride will be taken to the spot where he was killed. The team also said they hope to set up a scholarship fund next year in memory of him. To them, it’s the least they can do to keep Kuck’s creation alive.
“This was his baby, it was literally his baby,” teammate Kristy Acuff said. “He is the reason why we have a team right now.”
Eric Smithers can be reached at (813) 974-1888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.