The Truth and Tragedy of Moriah Wilson

Moriah, another rider overtaking, came here to pass it and waited for the pack of vehicles ahead to pull ahead in the race. She was battling back toward the front, now. Falling behind the leading women, she nearly missed a turn and got a flat tire. She lost her chain; it had been a rocky day of races. Moriah’s limbs are splayed over the bike frame, pumping her legs. Her thick blond braid falls from her helmet like a rope. In the background, there is an unbroken canopy of evergreen, birch, and maple. Her jersey flashes white and green, a blur of gravel beneath her. Moriah charges across a forested hillside, from left to right, making it hard enough to climb out.

She integrated her passion for biking into her routines by pitching in with the organizers on social media. She had a close circle of cycling friends and raced on weekends. Cash, who had a network of hundred miles of singletrack trails across the street from her inn, was rooted in the biking life. The Kingdom Trails, located about 45 minutes from the Canadian border in the tiny town of East Burke, Northeast Vermont, was just across the street. However, during the pandemic, she and a group of friends bought an old inn together and spent a year integrating their passion into their routines. Caitlin Cash worked as a project manager for a tech company in Austin, Texas. She had never met the woman who took the video.

With great determination, elegance, and composure, Cash couldn’t help but wonder who she was. Moriah was undeniably smiling, despite the exhausting effort, but there was a subtle air of mystery surrounding her. As she watched the race, Moriah was visibly moved to tears.

Later that day, Matt found himself chatting with Karen, his brother Moriah’s mother, while they were stacking firewood and Moriah was riding his bike around town. She mentioned that she had made trips to the store and had also repainted and vacuumed the house over the past couple of months. It was then that they realized they were neighbors in East Burke and had been living there for quite some time. The Moriah family cheered along with them, of course.

In late October, Moriah Cash, also known as “Sugar,” traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas, to participate in her first big race, the “Lil Sugar” at Big Sugar Gravel. As she approached the crowded bar, Mo met her admirers and waved friendly to them. With a tiny scrum of supporters, she mustered up the courage and said, “Cash!” As she looked forward to meeting you.

She was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas, on May 20th. Then, on May 20th, she was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas. She was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas, on May 20th. Then, on May 20th, she was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas. She was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas, on May 20th. Then, on May 20th, she was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas. She was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas, on May 20th. Then, on May 20th, she was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas. She was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas, on May 20th. Then, on May 20th, she was back in Austin, staying with Cash and preparing for the Locos Gravel race in Hico, Texas.

Prior to the evening, Anna Moriah Wilson, her daughter, had suffered a gunshot wound and lost her life in Austin, Texas. A law enforcement officer, while arriving at the residence on the morning of May 12th, expressed that her life would undergo a significant transformation. Karen Wilson, amidst tending to her potato beds, raised her gaze from the scattered soil.

Shortly after that, Mo was declared deceased, but paramedics came and attempted to rescue her. She had urgently dialed 911 and started performing CPR upon her arrival at home after having dinner with friends a little before 10 p.M. Cash had entered her apartment and discovered Mo unconscious and bleeding on the bathroom floor. In Austin, Cash patiently awaited the anticipated phone call from Karen.

Out. Our hearts raced the most for what Moriah wanted: to reassure fellow cyclists at Locos Gravel that a statement had been crafted to kill Moriah. What our hearts raced for the most was Moriah’s assurance to fellow cyclists at Locos Gravel that a statement had been crafted to reassure them of what Moriah had been killed for.

Specifically designed for Mo, alongside the raced individuals who Sturm Sarah mentions, “the entire 150 miles meant nothing to me, there was no racing involved.” Amidst their journey, the riders were supposed to figure out how to reconcile with what they were supposed to do with the crater in the middle. The only way they could do so was by taking a somber and relaxed approach to the race, which started on May 14th in Hico, with a funeral procession-like atmosphere for the first eight miles. It was still challenging to feel a sense of competition that truly mattered.

She called the police repeatedly, frantically looking for any information about suspects or motives instead of staring at the driveway and sitting low in another part of her father’s house, wondering if the bullets were intended for her. “I didn’t give up,” she told me during a video call in October, pausing on each word, tears in her eyes. She tried to reassure herself that she had been there for Mo until the very end. Time dissolved. The colors were different. The wind felt different. Cash felt incapable of remembering to eat or getting dressed at times. Those were the days that followed.

Mo was concerned about being questioned about a post on Instagram and someone tracking her workouts on Strava. This made her uneasy and she sent warnings to other female cyclists who had also been tracked by the same person.

Sturm says, “If I see that headline printed, I’m going to scream. Mo’s name began to ricochet around the world, at the center of a plot where she had felt utterly disconnected from the person she had been in a love triangle with.”

Mo was fatally shot by three bullets that matched the ballistics of a firearm owned by Kaitlin Armstrong, Strickland’s longtime girlfriend, and registered to a black Jeep Grand Cherokee. Surveillance cameras recorded footage of a dark-colored sports utility vehicle with a large bicycle rack passing by the building within two minutes of Mo’s arrival. Strickland left Mo at Cash’s residence around 8:30 p.M. After they went for a swim at the City of Austin Deep Eddy Pool and had a meal at a nearby restaurant. Mo had a brief romantic involvement with Colin Strickland, a prominent male gravel racer. The details of the incident appeared to be taken from sensational news stories and took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 11th.

Armstrong sold a black Jeep Grand Cherokee for $12,200 at a Carmax located in South Austin on that particular Friday. Following an arrest warrant for a misdemeanor offense of failing to pay a Botox bill in 2018, Armstrong was apprehended and detained the following day. However, she was released due to a discrepancy between her recorded date of birth and the date specified on the warrant.

LaGuardia airport in New York, she boarded a Southwest flight and changed planes in Houston. She flew out of Austin and arrived in Santa Teresa Beach, a vacation destination on the Pacific coast that Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady like. Before stopping in Jaco Beach, she traveled to Costa Rica, using someone else’s passport the very next day.

“Sturm states. “However, he did not perform the action.” “Due to him being the culprit,” there are numerous inquiries, and the initial individual you desire to hold responsible is Colin–. It was challenging to determine what to believe. Alternatively, expressing admiration for Mo, or abandoning him, remaining loyal to Strickland, companies made their uncomfortable entrance into the dispute– as the investigation prolonged, The online platform for the retro caravan enterprise he had co-owned with Armstrong was removed. Meanwhile, Strickland was questioned by detectives and subsequently released a peculiar declaration.”

As per the United States Marshals Service, Armstrong spent most of a month moving between hostels and yoga studios in Santa Teresa, using multiple pseudonyms as American authorities expanded their search.

On June 29th, authorities found Juan Don Armstrong at the Costa Rican hostel with a bandage on her nose, which was the result of a surfboard accident. She had dark brown hair that was dyed red.

The trial that was scheduled for October 2023 has been postponed. In June 2023, her trial was rescheduled and she is currently being held on homicide charges with a $3.5 million bond at Travis County Correctional Complex. She was brought back to Texas by U.S. Marshals and then transferred into their custody. Investigators were looking for her as a fugitive and she eventually acknowledged the fact that she was in San Jose when she was brought back.

Her killing created a gloomy atmosphere that was impossible to shield yourself from. At the age of 26, she turned away from everything she loved, including her partner who adored maple things and her occupation as a skilled baker specializing in banana bread. She was a retiring and kind individual. However, her sorrow transformed into a perplexing journey as she cycled through her memories of those she knew in Moriah.

The loss of a loved person, who has not only robbed you of their memory but also forced you to grapple with the ugliness and cruelty in the world, is a tragedy that compounds the senseless killings and the feeling of being forever tied to that way. This terrible event tempts one to frame Mo as the suspect, yet there is no monopoly on the consequences of such a terrible tragedy. It sets the stage for anyone capable of shooting another person to become the kind of person who is capable of death, in both public and private spheres. You might say that this is a demonstrative example of how many tragedies, even intertwined with other tragedies, can occur.

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She started each day searching Google for Wilson Moriah – W-I-L-S-O-N M-O-R-I-A-H, if she had no choice but to grieve in the shadow of the tabloid’s intrigue, at least she wanted to know what information was out there, even if it was cruel and detailed speculation.

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Kaitlin Armstrong, the alleged perpetrator of a love triangle, had a peculiar breakdown.

They hadn’t yet apprehended Cash, and they learned to avoid the Daily Mail in order to make it to dinner each morning, and achieve each goal set for 38 days.

Eric stayed in touch with prosecutors when he had information about Armstrong’s defense strategy. Karen shut out the internet and focused entirely on her daughter’s journals. The Wilsons tried to shield themselves.

Matt, who was 24 and graduated from Middlebury’s Vermont a week ago, was thrust into a new set of questions about his life, which he found daunting to even think about, if he still wanted the same things he imagined for himself after graduation. There was talk of establishing a foundation to secure a public legacy for his sister, who should have a secure lifetime. Is that what he wanted? He didn’t want to be still unsure of himself.

After the race in Hico, they inquired of one another, “Did you sense that last evening?” This had become their fresh customary practice. When morning arrived, he stirred himself and joined his parents in bed, where they embraced and shed tears. Matt remained awake, sensing Moriah’s connection to his mind, not simply as a voice but as a tangible presence, anticipating his thoughts even before they took shape.

At 9 a.M., Students from Emporia State University posed at the starting line, carrying gold pom-poms and beer cups. Downtown sidewalks were crowded with people carrying banners and clogging the streets. A sign reads: “Righteousness makes a great nation, but sin is a cancer to all people.” As you pass towering bean silos and stand in front of the skyline, you make your way into town. The rivers were deep and swollen, and the hills ahead were lush and green. I had booked a trip to Flint Hills, Kansas, a few days ahead, when the downtown of Emporia turns into the Gravel Unbound festival.

Colin Strickland’s image could not be found anywhere among the light poles adorned with posters of previous champions. Event organizers handed out ‘Ride Like Mo’ decals to all 4,000 participants for display on the day of the race. As one photographer on the course expressed, “That’s a podium position that would have been occupied,” considering the successful season she had and her ninth-place finish. In 2021, Unbound marked the premature conclusion of her remarkable ascent in the sport, and Mo suffered a significant setback: her absence was strongly felt.

“Mo was supposed to be here,” and–you opted to come here, and “It’s an honor to be able to do this,” she had expressed. About 150 miles into the 200-mile route, as the path transformed into mud due to heavy rain, she became emotional as she recounted the quiet pep talk she had given herself. She had achieved second place in the women’s category, and with helmets, water bottles, and shoes scattered on the nearby pavement, she informed me after the race, while relaxing in the shade of a collapsible tent near the finish line, “I thought of Mo when I was in pain,” stated Lauren DeCrescenzo. The conditions were unfavorable until suddenly, the weather became ideal–cool and dry, with minimal wind.

Unbound, the only second-place finisher in six races of the Moriah Wilson series, had won the first. What he left unsaid was that Sofia Gomez Villafañe, who started the day ranked second in the season-long Grand Prix Time Life series, had passed the winner of the women’s race, Sofia Gomez Villafañe, as he stretched the intervals between finishers over the PA announcer’s patter during the race.

It was a difficult burden for her to bear, but she finally mustered the courage to go back and retrieve some things when she pleaded with the police for permission. There were attempted break-ins, and reporters lurked by the front door. Once her public address and name were revealed in an arrest affidavit, her home became a crime scene and the media got hold of it. She realized later that she was not just questioned as a potential suspect but also as a witness. In a daze around midnight, she resisted leaving Mo’s side for as long as possible, finally making her way to the police station. If she hadn’t been out or if she had come home earlier, things might have been different. The feeling of confusion and guilt took Cash months to outrun.

Filled with belongings from her apartment, Mo’s car was transported from San Francisco to Colorado by friends, and then driven from Colorado to East Burke, Vermont. Cash only brought a solitary suitcase containing the items that Mo had with her in Texas back in June. The initial weeks of summer went by in a haze for Karen.

Simultaneously, Mo had informed a companion, “I intend to conquer both peaks – the initial peak and the subsequent peak.” The publication The Second Mountain by The New York Times writer David Brooks, which focuses on the difficulty of harmonizing life’s primary peak – ambition, profession, family – with the loftier one behind it: the pursuit of leading an ethical existence, had greatly captivated Moriah towards the end of her life. While burying her face in the garments she had worn, Karen also derived solace from clutching the items her daughter had once held, gradually gaining strength. Moriah’s possessions remained undisturbed for several days.

Karen went around and bought another copy as a gift when Cash’s birthday came, and she went through it with ink underlining the same passages. She hung each of Moriah’s dog-eared paperbacks, clinging to every scrap of her daughter’s mind, while leafing through Moriah’s paperback.

On race days, the Wilsons would often stop on the side of the highway to indulge in a rare McMuffin Egg, before leaving their dark home and heading out. At the age of 8, Moriah entered her first ski race. Her sister Laura competed in cross-country skiing in the Winter Olympics, while her father Eric had grown up nearby and skied for the U.S. National team. Moriah and her brother were raised on the slopes of Northeast Vermont, which were dominated by a few ski-racing families known as dynasties.

Karen told me that she wanted to wear green ski suits like the little girl since she was ever. She did not have to work as hard as anyone, but she wasn’t a skiing prodigy by the standards of Northern Vermont. Her best result in downhill at the U.S. Nationals in 11th grade was seventh, and Moriah, who was the best in the world, would go on to become the best on the circuit among her local youth skiing competitors.

Predominantly Caucasian and affluent, as skiing is a costly sport, the group of students at this high school is not very large, with no more than 15 or 18 children in each class. Their main aspiration is not Harvard or MIT, but rather the Olympics and the World Cup, in the realm of skiing in the United States. Similar to the training facilities in Florida where Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters perfected their tennis skills, Burke Mountain Academy is considered a relative of those grounds.

Moriah, a 14-year-old ninth-grader, entered middle school as a full-time student and also took part in winter ski sessions at Burke. She was born when her father was a ski instructor, and since then, she had been a rare kid in the local school run by the ski instructor. After breakfast, Moriah would fall back while other riders thrived on the hills. On early morning training rides, Mo seemed to thrive while other riders would fall back. Biking on a mountain is a staple cross-training activity for low-impact skiers, as it demands the same muscle groups. Even her coaches noticed her unusual power on a bicycle. Coach Sourbeer Kraig says that Moriah, who had a professional career in mountain bike racing, wondered if she was in the wrong sport and if other coaches on the U.S. Ski team also wondered the same thing. Whatever her talent was on the slopes, it translated well to cycling.

She wrote about the painful feeling of lactic acid washing over her muscles, the uncanny lust for exhaustion, and the glimpse she got of her community’s whole and the school newsletter included in Moriah’s end-of-year reflection for 12th grade. After she tore her ACL and went down on Burke’s training slope early in her sophomore year, she seemed to relish the chance to dedicate more time to strength training, logging every rep in a series of immaculate tiny notebooks. She was a rare breed of teenager who never rolled her eyes or groused about difficult workouts or night duty when she washed dishes and mopped the dining hall as part of the student rotating groups. Teachers remember Moriah for her quiet self-assurance and diligence.

Karen keeps the oversized Dartmouth ski team T-shirt that Moriah wore to bed each night under her pillow–the same dark green she had always dreamt of wearing as a young girl. “Sort of sacred,” she explains. After being freshly washed, the T-shirt is hung on a wall hanger in Karen and Eric’s bedroom. The clothing she had worn during her last ride is stored in a plastic bag until, awakened in the middle of the night, Karen realizes that if she doesn’t remove the clothes to wash them, they will begin to grow mold. In the kitchen, Karen places Moriah’s bike helmet on top of a stack of cookbooks, alongside the withered bouquet of flowers sent by her colleagues and teammates at Specialized, as certain items acquire a position of pride. As the summer progresses and Karen unpacks the bags, she encounters Moriah’s Google calendar, where she had meticulously planned her days for the next six months, unfinished to-do lists, race bibs, bike gear, and the emotional process of reclaiming Moriah’s belongings, which alternately provide comfort and inflict immense emotional pain on Karen.

Sometimes, speaking to those who knew Mo felt like researching a potential candidate for sainthood. Mo, known for being a great listener, a paragon of discipline, and a thoughtful friend, had once extended a break from class by leading the other kids in running extra laps around the school’s barn, despite the teacher’s instruction to only run one. Keara Kresser, Mo’s best childhood friend, shared a story of what was considered mischief in Mo’s world, a memory that was cherished.

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After returning home from school as a form of therapeutic activity, Moriah developed a fondness for baking banana bread. “All of her assignments were confiscated by her teachers,” Karen explains. It reached a stage where she was unable to muster the courage to compose a comprehensive sentence due to the immense pressure she experienced to produce the perfect sentence, as recalled by her mother during her sixth-grade year. This perfectionist tendency had started to torment her to the extent that she would spend extended afternoons correcting a poster project upon noticing a solitary minor mistake.

“I am aware that you possess a strategy,” she shouted, gazing upwards at the clouds. Upon hearing the news of her demise from the officer, I immediately ascended into the sky,” Karen recounts. “The divine essence was undeniably present within her.” This very notion, reimagined through a mother’s mix of hope and sorrow, profoundly affected Karen when the police arrived outside their residence a week prior to Moriah’s 26th birthday. In a journal entry crafted during her recuperation, Mo seemed to summon optimism: “I firmly believe that a divine plan awaits me.” While participating in a slalom race in Colorado during her postgraduate year at Burke—a common pathway for skiers aspiring to join the national team—Moriah suffered a torn ACL in her other knee.

Dartmouth’s team was among the best in the country, and spots were reserved for the top six competitors in each race on the intercollegiate circuit, known as the “carnival.” When she finally returned to racing, it always seemed like she was just outside contention for a berth in the next race. While Mo spent her freshman year “skiing” free and healing her knee, she began to see the ceiling of her skiing dreams. But life at Dartmouth College, where she majored in engineering, joined a sorority, and found friends, was structured according to the rhythms of ski racing that she had always known before. And the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth College was located, had always been an idyllic version of the world for Mo, inhabited by dozens of Burkies.

“Therefore, Mo engaged in her strongest skill: she exerted effort. She motivated her team during extensive training rides in autumn and spring, dedicated additional hours in the gym. Eventually, Mo achieved the leading position in the team during a postponed race towards the end of her final year in high school. That ski race marked the conclusion of her participation. According to Karen, “All of these experiences contributed to her determination–she possessed numerous unrealized opportunities for success, which fueled her desire and determination in the cycling community.” “Her longing for it was immense.”

Sometimes Cash couldn’t help but think how it was that Karen was in awe of the sisterly, soulmate-like bond she observed early on in her daughter’s friendship with Moriah. Their six months had been the same six months in which Moriah had fully gone pro, launched a newsletter, and decided to quit her job. Cash became a window into the moments she missed’d as Moriah began to make her mark in the world. Karen so much wished she had talked about Moriah to her.

“She is the person to whom it speaks, I pull it out as if there are many things like that. She gets a little reminder of her daughter every time she squeezes it and now she’s using it. Karen noticed Moriah’s toothpaste tube, a small daily habit signaling a commitment to the environment, is reusable plastic. Did Moriah think about approaching a Vermont company for sponsorship? Was this her favorite sweatshirt? They spent time together holding each of Moriah’s things, filled with trivia from weeks of living close quarters in Austin over the summer. Karen thought about her own mother, who lost her second daughter to leukemia 10 years earlier, and came to think of Cash.”

She came in second overall. “Liv, I’m really in the best shape of my life,” she told her old ski teammate from Dartmouth as they met up. She had just returned from a three-week bike trip in Europe to celebrate finishing college. Now, Mo was eager to put her “engine” to the test and receive lifetime compliments. Nearly all of the roads in rural Vermont were gravel, and she had spent her life using a mountain bike as transportation. The first-ever gravel race in San Francisco called Old Growth Classic was a major event for Mo.

They were not wearing the same kit sponsor, whether they sprawled on the ground together and drank beer. They traded notes on how to handle the sketchy parts of the course and exchanged tire selection. They shared Airbnbs and camped in vans. Everyone lined up together and waited for the report of a single starting shot. Gravel was a welcome change from the skiing hierarchies. Moriah had a chance for the first time to do it on her own terms, and Cycling was a second chance for her to reach the athletic firmament.

Complete the task that you have earned. You don’t seem to be clear about the race: it made her shoot out in front, leaving Cerra reluctant to draft off her. “You’re so strong!” She exclaimed. Eventually, she blurted out, “Who are you?” Taking the brunt of it, Mo and Cerra found themselves riding together, occasionally passing groups and pedaling furiously into the wind. In the 2021 Unbound race, Mo and I rode alongside each other, with dust flying and leaving them behind. Essentially, she told me stories about her experiences during the race for more than two hours.

Three competitors, colleagues, and friends, the racers are all lines blurred. It’s a way of life familiar across all kinds of unconventional professions, and it replicates an imbalance among men and women in the same races, with the same lucrative contracts and brands. Gravel is a portal to the sisterhood borne out of inequity, where women often refer to the mix of nomadic training and hustle on the circuit racing as the “privateer life,” against a constant backdrop of intensive self-promotion, negotiations, and photo shoots for contract shoots.

In October 2021, Mo and Strickland engaged in a romantic relationship while she visited Austin. Based on text messages that Strickland shared with the police, Mo still appeared uncertain about his intentions in January. Strickland mentioned that he had been assisting Mo in finding new sponsors, as stated in a police affidavit supporting Armstrong’s arrest. Strickland also confessed that he had lied to Armstrong about his location on the night Mo was killed and kept Mo’s contact information hidden in his phone. During police questioning, Strickland referred to Mo as “the finest female cyclist in the country, and possibly the world,” highlighting the contrast with Armstrong, who he claimed was frustrated with his inability to keep up on training rides. Sarah Sturm, Mo’s teammate at Specialized, notices a recurring pattern and expresses her discomfort, stating, “Certain individuals in the industry seemed eager to take credit for ‘discovering’ Mo. That has not sat well with me.”

Mo spent two years readying herself for a life as a privateer, holding down a full-time job as a forecaster at Specialized and crisscrossing the country on weekends, gradually growing comfortable in the skin of a professional racer. She had no way to tell whether she had destroyed or finished her last appeal, and there was no way for her to naturally come to her reading of postrace dispatches on Instagram. Her appeal was also a part of her success, which seemed to appeal to women who raced alongside her. All it was doing was staying just on the bike. She didn’t seem to revel in her success.

Every time she left her own bedroom, she looked in from the hallway, trying really hard not to cry. Inside the “door,” she said, “I’m pretty crying up hard.” But she hadn’t been avoiding her own bedroom, trying really hard to give herself a break from breaking down, when we spoke on the phone in October, Karen said. Mo’s bedroom door is one of her old kindergarten projects, spelled out with dried pasta glued to construction paper. Every time she left her own bedroom, she looked in from the hallway, trying really hard not to cry.

Kresser asserts, “During my childhood, I often pondered about what Mo was thinking.” She seldom displayed anger, stress, or moments of vulnerability and introspection. With attentive, brown eyes and an occasional smile that appeared in embarrassing situations, she seemed to constantly analyze the world with such concentrated focus that she rarely vocalized her thoughts. Throughout all of this, Mo’s happiness was of the thoughtful and calm nature. Keara Kresser, whose parents introduced Moriah’s parents to each other, grew up playing with Mo in the backyard, making mud pies, lounging in the grass after long summer bike rides, pretending to be in school (with Mo always assuming the role of the teacher), and being allowed to explore a ski mountain with only a walkie-talkie as a connection to the adult world. The family had been reading a few journals that Mo left behind, a habit she primarily engaged in during periods of being confined to her home while recovering from an injury. The first time we conversed, Karen mentioned with a smile that she found her own daughter “enigmatic.” Mo’s inner life remained a mystery to those who knew her best, even to her mother.

“Mo, an adult now, grew more voluble on long bike rides, even on practical training rides. Conversations tended to focus on arrangements for lodging, car rentals, and dates. They strategized workouts and planned occasions for long rides. Gunnar, Mo’s onetime boyfriend and fellow Dartmouth ski team alum, says her ruminations on life were often ridden with conversations of a very few topics. What does the next three months look like for her?”

She wanted to go to the Olympics for cycling, but her dad, who had missed his spot, wanted to go with her. Sometimes, she would loudly say that she wanted to go to the Olympics for cycling, laughing and bursting out. Lim, with her eyes on her, would talk and listen to Mo without responding, sometimes pondering and sitting. “If you’re talking now about hypothetical audience change, Mo’s time would prompt each time,” says Allen. Sometimes, they played a game called “tell me your four-minute life story” and watched people giving speeches on YouTube. They often prepared breakfasts to-go or prerace dinners with a hint of maple syrup and bacon and eggs, along with rice balls. In the last few months, she had become close with Allen, the founder of Skratch Labs, a sports nutrition company who formulated drinks for Mo’s races. It didn’t make it any easier that being a professional bike racer was just another kind of workout, if she became a public figure. She began to embrace the challenge of becoming a public figure, which she had always been as Mo.

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Karen mentioned that during a low moment of overwhelming emotions, she could only think about Moriah and how she would call her once in a while to check in. Normally, Karen would leave school early in the quiet afternoon of May, after her classroom had been silent and her daughter had left for home. She would then go through her work emails, scan her calendar, and make sure everything was in order before her flight or before a race. Karen had always been preoccupied with work and her mind would be filled with thoughts about the upcoming race. However, in the summer of 2023, Karen planned to retire and finish her final year of teaching literacy at School Town Burke, where she had been teaching for 10 years. She returned to her teaching job in late October.

Karen expresses, “It filled me with much more pride for her–as a human being.” “Being in their environment and witnessing their world and experiencing a different type of lifestyle–the entire experience is much larger than achieving success locally,” Karen explains. Among all the things she was eager for, she appeared to be most enthusiastic about her upcoming journey to Kenya in June for the Migration Gravel Race, organized by a group of Kenyan cyclists known as Team Amani. She discussed her desire to return to Vermont, establish a sense of community in the place that had influenced her, and open a café in Burke. However, Moriah had recently resigned from her position at Specialized to pursue racing full-time. Karen could sense the transformation in Moriah’s voice during their phone conversation. “She was overflowing with excitement,” Karen states.

Matt asserts, “She had intended to accomplish that, a great deal can be achieved and ought to be accomplished.” Mo and the other females were disregarded even as a crowd of press swarmed around the leading male finishers, a narrative his sister shared with him about winning a race and observing. Her aspirations for a life in cycling were detailed in her most recent diary: to “encourage positive body image awareness for women, and especially female athletes” and to “inspire individuals to cycle and engage in physical activity.” Not fully formed or conclusive ideas, but rather a sense of purpose, her diaries have served as a guide as the Wilsons shape the framework of what the Moriah Wilson Foundation will evolve into.

“How can we help evolve the question of ‘What’s gonna happen with the dollar for Dollar?'” She says. “It’s mostly about making sure that the foundation’s work encompasses the things her daughter cares most about, like getting somebody a bike. She wants to immerse herself in Moriah’s thoughts again and sift through them, making sure to change the world through empathy and Kindness.” Karen has also been thinking about lines from Moriah’s journals and how other programs can be like them. Together, with the mission of promoting equitable access to educational and sports recreation, the website brings together dedicated organizations that support building community and living a healthy lifestyle.”

Having another opportunity to appear on behalf of the friend she lost implies the understanding that she will probably be summoned as a witness for Caitlin Cash, who continues to grapple with the suspicion that she may have shielded Mo on the night of her murder. Nevertheless, this notion is overshadowed by the profound impact of Moriah’s absence on their everyday lives. Regardless of the limited sense of resolution or fairness they may anticipate from a verdict, the trial remains a distant concern for the Wilsons for the majority of the time.

Moriah and Matt, who had spent countless hours learning to hold tight turns and set the edge of their skis on the ice, were now racing in the Cochran’s ski area around Richmond. The course was more challenging than ever, with tighter turns and a heavier meaning. Karen, who couldn’t believe she was finally back home in Vermont after a year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, was relieved. Before meeting the Cash family in August, Eric and Matt, Moriah had quietly cherished a dream of revealing more about her cycling journey. Staying close, the Wilsons had started to publicly share their story.

Agreed, Mo thought it was ridiculous that she had to pack every calorie into labeled baggies before boarding a plane, but they couldn’t help but laugh. Cash says, “The entire village got on the line to start racing.” Matt had forgotten to bring his bike jersey. Mo only realized belatedly that she had forgotten to charge the electronic drivetrain or pump up the tires. Wilsons had lent Mo a custom pink Specialized Diverge S-Works, but it required a functioning navigation unit, which neither of them had. They found themselves cracking up on the starting line, moments before the race began, but they knew they needed to take a break whenever they could. Matt and Cash were another team in the race.

She told me, “She was not the kind of person who wanted to advertise her arm on time.” After finishing the race at Leadville, Moriah had given her a fleece with her name embroidered on it that Karen wore. I later met Wilsons at a café sidewalk in San Francisco, a few weeks later.

Even getting on the plane and touching down in California had been a struggle. Last time they came, it was in April 2021 to visit Moriah in West. Now, their week was filled with firsts without her. They lived together near Gunnar’s home in Valley Mill, dropping by Moriah’s favorite terrain for some bike rides – the kind she loved. Eric says, “People have said it gets harder as the awful busyness of those first few weeks subsides.” And still, time goes on without seeing the person you miss.

Sule and Moriah thought that they might get to meet in the afterlife, but there was another layer of grief. Sule, the father of three young children, could still see the pretty picture of his wife Karen on his phone. Just as we were talking, we learned that the team’s 33-year-old captain, Kangangi, had suffered a fatal crash during the Overland Vermont. The Wilsons had met a trio of cyclists from the Amani Team the week before, who had managed to land in the United States on visas.

It will be said by your children, as well as your friends, colleagues, siblings, and parents, that your time has arrived and that your life was lived to the fullest. If you are fortunate enough to live until the age of 90, the strongest reverberations of your voice in the world may have already become faint. Among those who were acquainted with them, the echoes of love for the departed continue to exist, emphasizing the reality of loss. It is a common saying that only the virtuous perish at a young age.

It is almost impossible to say that a 25-year-old can be left with the task of seeking justice where none can be found. And we can boldly proclaim our love as we can boldly seek justice where none can be found. We may mourn a hero whose legacy their death might somehow avenge, facing the cruelty of a short-cut life.

“What will it be like once the fragrance has disappeared?” She inquired, expressing her curiosity as we conversed over the phone in October. On a daily basis, she selects an item to pick up and inhale deeply. Karen and Moriah wore the same clothing size, and now Moriah’s aroma permeates Karen’s dresser drawers as well. Karen carefully selects beloved flannel shirts to gift to Moriah’s cousins, bike outfits, and trendy jeans with intentional tears for Cash. In Mo’s childhood room, just beyond the door adorned with a macaroni nameplate, the emotions vary between bringing tears to my eyes and eliciting a smile,” she shared.

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