Memorial fund for female cyclists presented to MSU

Ethan Metcalf

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Andy Hollinger, The Racing Post editor, Robert Clark, vice president of administration and institutional effectiveness, Chris Baab, Megan Baab's father, and Charlie Zamastil, director of cycling, present the $10,000 check to Midwestern State University before the start of the Hotter'n Hell women's criterium Friday.

Andy Hollinger, The Racing Post editor, Robert Clark, vice president of administration and institutional effectiveness, Chris Baab, Megan Baab’s father, and Charlie Zamastil, director of cycling, present the $10,000 check to Midwestern State University before the start of the Hotter’n Hell women’s criterium Friday.

When Megan Baab was 8-years-old her father issued her a challenge. Ride in the Tour d’Italia on a 5-speed Pacific bicycle and he would buy her a bike of her own.

“I had to buy her a bike,” Chris Baab said.

At this year’s Hotter’n Hell women’s criterium race, Megan’s father, with the help of Andy Hollinger, editor of The Racing Post, presented Midwestern State University with $10,000 for a memorial fund to help female cyclists in the state of Texas.

“The reason why is because of the way Megan approached the sport. And Andy and I sat down and talked about it because one thing universally when Megan died, I mean, everybody was just ‘Why? Why her?’ And she left such an impact on the people she raced with,” Baab said.

In December 2011, Megan was hit by a truck during a training ride in North Carolina.

Three days later, friends and family held a memorial ride in Hurst, launching a yearly tradition.

“The first year it was just a make-up ride. I just wanted to clear my head. And I had about three or four guys that said, ‘Let’s just go ride,’ and next thing I know 388 people show up. And I was like ‘Oh, crap!’, ” Baab said. “People just started coming up and handing me money, and I’m going, ‘What the hell? I don’t want this money.’ They made a big comment—make something of her sacrifice. Make something out of her life.”

Hollinger said he used The Racing Post to put together a group of corporate sponsors to provide additional funds.

“Between the corporate sponsorship of those four organizations and the bicycling community, we’ve got a major force. And we’ve been giving out to cyclists based not on results, but character, which is very very important. It’s not about the fastness, it’s about the character which is why we came back to MSU,” Hollinger said. “All too often sports are looked at as winning, and that’s not the point, especially not in cycling. I mean, Eddy Merckx only won two-thirds of all of his races. Cycling is about character, it’s about heart.”

To sustain the fund for as long as possible, Hollinger said they are using multiple fundraisers such as producing jerseys at no cost to sell to supporters.

“The number of cyclists that remember her is dwindling every year and we decided to take the next step, which is the place that does all three. That’s why we did MSU,” Hollinger said.

 

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