Moriah Wilson had shifted gears several times in his 25 years of life, but regardless of his focus – college ski racing, a career in logistics and, most recently, professional mountain biking and gravel racing – those who knew her described her as “exceptional in every way.” »
The Vermont native’s life was abruptly taken from her on May 11 – just a week before her 26th birthday – when she was shot dead in Austin. She was in Texas before the 150-mile (240-kilometer) Gravel Locos race, which she would have been favored to win. His killing has rocked the cycling world and other spheres, with tributes pouring in as the suspected shooter remains at large.
“Heartbroken and heartbroken for the loss of this beautiful, grounded young woman who was so full of light and energy,” said fellow cyclist and adventure athlete Rebecca Rusch. in a tweet. “She was exceptional in every way.”
Wilson had a busy racing schedule ahead of her. She had already won 10 events this year and her off-road racing career had just started to take off. His last race, in San Diego, ended in victory — with a 25-minute lead.
“Like many of you, we are devastated by the tragic loss of a friend who exuded so much inspiration, determination and joy,” said Specialized, a bicycle and equipment company where Wilson worked until recently in demand management. on Instagram.
Born Anna Moriah Wilson and widely known as “Mo,” she grew up in rural northern Vermont and was a lifelong athlete, competing in cycling, downhill skiing and soccer at Burke Mountain Academy, according to his athletic biography at Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Wilson majored in engineering and was a member of the alpine ski racing team – “fulfilling a childhood dream”, her family said.
The Burke Mountain Academy community was devastated to learn of his death, said school principal Willy Booker, who described Wilson as a dedicated student, compassionate friend and courageous athlete.
“Moriah was an inspiration to our community, and his death at a time when his sporting star seemed so surely on the rise only amplifies the deep sense of loss associated with a good life that ended far too soon. “, the school said in a statement.
Athletics was inseparable from Wilson’s life. She was born into an athletic family: her parents, Eric and Karen Wilson, were on the US ski team, according to Wilson’s biography at Dartmouth, and her father, younger brother and aunt also went to the Burke Mountain Academy. Eric Wilson went on to coach at the small, close-knit ski school, according to the academy.
Dannica Ashnault became close with Moriah Wilson as they both recovered from high school knee injuries. After undergoing knee surgery, Ashnault tore his hamstring in his other leg and was really upset. She said Wilson instead encouraged focusing on improving and “putting myself in a positive frame of mind through it all.”
“She was very supportive of everyone, regardless if you were in direct competition with her or not. I’m sure that’s how she was on the bike too,” Ashnault added.
Although she focused on skiing in college, her love of cycling started early. She spent many hours on the Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont, developing her skills, according to her obituary published in a local newspaper.
As a discipline, gravel racing is relatively new in popularity and difficult to describe, according to the bikeradar website, which said the sport “falls somewhere between road, cyclocross and mountain bike racing, and tends to be on open gravel roads, dirt dual tracks and meandering singletrack, often with a few stretches of tarmac connecting the off-road segment.
On Sunday, Austin’s cycling community is hosting a memorial and short ride in Wilson’s honor.
His family said in a statement that while his tragic loss is unfathomable, they want everyone to join them “in celebrating his life, his accomplishments and his love for others. Always pushing relentlessly to achieve her goals, we knew she was pursuing what she loved. We will miss her terribly and know that we all mourn her with us.
His family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to fund “community organizations that help young people find confidence, strength and joy through biking, skiing and other activities that Moriah was passionate about.” .
It fits with what Rusch described, in an Instagram post, as a new mission for those who knew her: “Now what we have to do is take her light, absorb it into us and shine it on others as brilliantly as she did.”
“There was a bubble of positivity and joy around her, and we all wanted to be in her bubble,” Rusch added. “Mo was a former elite alpine ski racer turned endurance cyclist and was on a great path to not just winning races, but winning and opening hearts.”