SAN FRANCISCO -- Family and friends of a professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson,, want her to be remembered for her incredible talent as an athlete and her compassion for all who met her within the sport as well as beyond.
"I definitely recognize seeing another strong woman out there. I want to ride with them and I very much was like, I want to ride with her," said Libby Caldwell, a friend of Wilson. "We always saw that she was strong."
Caldwell became friends with Wilson, who everyone called "Mo," during the pandemic when riding your bike was one of the few safe activities people felt comfortable enjoying with others while outside. She admired Wilson for her skill as a cyclist but said the rising star never made anyone feel like they weren't worthy of riding along with her.
"What made Mo stand apart is that it didn't change who she was at all on the bike," Caldwell told KPIX 5 on Monday. "She was lifting other people up while she was rising."
Wilson was living in San Francisco and visiting Texas for a race, staying in Austin ahead of the event. She was shot by another woman on May 11. Investigators believe Wilson and the suspect both had relationships with the same man.
Her family issued a statement to KPIX 5 in part refuting the allegation she was in a relationship with anyone at the time. They were not ready to speak publicly about her death but wanted to honor her memory.
". There are no words that can express the pain and suffering we are experiencing due to this senseless, tragic loss," the statement said.
In a statement to the Austin American Statesman, pro cyclist Colin Strickland said he had a brief relationship with Wilson after meeting her in Austin in October. The relationship was short-lived and had turned platonic and professional. Meanwhile, Texas law enforcement officials continued Monday to
"She was something, she was really something," said Christopher Keiser, a photographer who worked with Wilson and first met her on a cycling ride. "I was always excited to see her. I would go out of my way to do a u-turn to say to Mo and she would do the same thing. She was always there with a smile."
Keiser was impressed by her skill but also by her generosity toward others in the cycling community. As she became even more of an elite athlete, she never distanced herself from others in the sport. The close proximity of professionals and amateurs in cycling is something she respected.
"She was very much a democratic athlete. She was there for everybody," he told KPIX 5 on Monday. "She loved the sport and she put herself into it 100 percent."
Wilson was an alpine skier for Dartmouth College and grew up with skiing in Vermont. Keiser appreciated her ability to transition from one sport to the other and the enthusiasm she brought to all she did, including photo shoots.
"Cycling is a selfish pursuit but she was definitely very giving," Keiser said.
Caldwell said as a cyclist in the same groups with Wilson, she got to know her over long rides that would last hours. Almost a week after her death, Caldwell still hasn't processed that Wilson is gone and that she will never speak to her again.
"It was insane how quickly she ascended," she said. "It was inspiring, she stood there with confidence but always very humble. She would never stand above others."
Outside of cycling, Caldwell saw Wilson embrace all life had to offer including in the city. She had started a newsletter and shared her adventures dining out in San Francisco and trying wine. Her positive spirit was infectious and brought new life to sport, Caldwell added.
"She was just so kind and humble and loving to all of those around her," she said. "We were all kind of sitting there with our popcorn ready for her to crush everyone."
The family also shared that it is looking into creating a foundation to honor Wilson and raising money online. Wilson was passionate about empowering young women athletes and encouraging people from all backgrounds to find joy and meaning through sport and community.
"Moriah was a talented, kind, and caring young woman. Her life was taken from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of. Our family, and all those who loved her, will forever miss her," the family statement said.
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