In alumni race, men - and one woman - relive DePauw days

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Two DePauw alumni competing in this year's alumni race share an additional connection: they are father and son.

Tim Weadick '83 and son Marshall Weadick '10, both members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, will race together as alumni for the first time.

The elder Weadick did not race in Little 5 during his time at DePauw. Marshall Weadick didn't either, but watching peaked his interest.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's fun," Marshall Weadick said. "I did a race with him last summer, and it's fun to do that stuff with your dad. It will be fun to be back at DePauw."

The Weadicks are only two of the 31 alumni who will return this weekend to race and strengthen DePauw connections.

Kent Billingsley ‘80, the alumni race director, said that many alumni who return to race are "recreational" riders — they enjoy riding bikes and enjoy the physical activity, but do not necessarily participate in professional or organized competitions. Oftentimes, these alumni competed in Little 5 in college, Billingsley said, and the racing bug stuck.

This year the alumni will compete in 4 divisions differentiated by age:  5 in the "Master's 30" age group, 4 in the "Master's 40," 19 in the "Master's 50," and 3 riders in the "Master's 60." Alumni range in age from 23 to 64; as of last week, all registered riders are male.

In the past only one female, Katie Doogan '08, competed in the alumni race, and she competed with male riders. Billingsley hopes that enough women participate in the future to fill out separate male and female events.

"There's a tremendous field of student-women racers, and I struggle with why we can't bring interest to alumnae women to come back and race," he said.

Billingsley said that his personal interest with the alumni race and DePauw increased when his son Alex, now a senior, decided to attend DePauw.

"I love competitive cycling…and I like the fact that my son is going to be an alumnus of DePauw," Billingsley said. "I always had an interest in mind to spark an alumni race, so when my son decided he wanted to attend DePauw, I thought that this was the opportunity."

However, when Alex graduates in the spring, Billingsley will stay involved.

"DePauw has done wonders for me personally and for my son, and this is a way for me to give back with something that I thoroughly enjoy doing," he said.

Although Billingsley noted that a change in Little 5 location to the streets may impact the riders, he said he is more interested to see the impact on the spectators, and stressed the importance of spectator support during the alumni race.

Billingsley, who races in a local cycling club in the Chicago area, plans to race on Sunday. "I'm a cyclist, I'm a racer, and absolutely, I'm coming back to put it down," he said.

Nevertheless, he stressed that the race generally is about alumni remembering collegiate bonds and having fun.

"The whole premise behind it is about getting people involved and having fun," he said. "We all have full-time jobs, and there's a little trash-talking going on right now. There's definitely a competitive spirit, but once we're out there, we're looking out for each other and it's about having fun."