The coaches and athletes who were not racing cheered the cyclists as they whizzed by, of course. And the volunteers out on the course cheered the riders too. While the number of people gathered to watch the races at Oregon State University on the chilly Sunday morning was not large, the crowd made up for it with sheer volume of voices.
Victoria Jansen, the captain of the Oregon State Cycling team, said the vocal support everyone offers to riders is typical in collegiate cycling, which is a tight-knit community.
“Even though we’re from different schools, we all know each other,” she said.
So when Randall Fox, a graduate student and member of the OSU club team, died at a race in March last year, Jansen said the whole cycling community in the Pacific Northwest was affected.
And that's why this year the team decided to rename its annual two day cycling competition in Fox's memory. More than a dozen teams from universities across the Pacific Northwest and beyond participated in the event over the weekend.
“We didn’t want him to just pass and for (his memory) to leave with that year’s team,” said Jansen, a Crescent Valley High School graduate and junior in agricultural sciences.
Fox was working on a doctorate in mechanical engineering at the time of his death.
Jansen said Fox was a collegiate runner before joining the cycling team, so naming a collegiate competition after him seemed like a fitting tribute.
Jansen said members of Fox’s family attended the event, and one spoke to athletes in the competition, which included a road race and time trial Saturday in the Muddy Creek area and criterium event on campus Sunday.
Jansen said Fox’s death brought the team together, and that showed in having an increase in the number of volunteers for the event this year.
“Honestly, this has been one of the smoothest years,” she said.
Bob Duffy, the team’s coach and a third-year resident at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, said Fox was so committed to cycling he’d ride 10 miles on his bike to come to practices.
“He was committed and all in. If you had 10 guys like him, you could take over the world,” he said.
Duffy said naming the event for Fox was a fitting tribute because Fox was a dedicated rider despite having demanding studies, which is common on a team with lots of engineering and hard science majors.
“They put so much into this,” Duffy said.
Oregon State’s team was in fourth place overall after the first two events Saturday. The final results including the races from Sunday were not available as of press time.