By Zap

It’s that time of the year when we look back sadly at those we’ve lost, but rejoice in the time we had to share their company.


• While the 2022 gravel season had so much to celebrate with big strides made in new races and participation, a dark pall overshadowed everything with news of the death of up-and-coming star Moriah Wilson. The facts of her now widely reported murder need not be recounted, instead, it is the memory of the bright, cheery and dominating light that she brought to the world of gravel racing that should be remembered. I first encountered Moriah at the finish of the Rock Cobbler where, clad in all black, she rode in alone for the win and celebrated with Peter Stetina (above). A few months later at the Belgian Waffle Ride, there she was again next to Stetina, only this time it was at the start of the race where she would go on to win just as convincingly. Unfortunately, her highly anticipated showing at Unbound Gravel was not to be and the close-knit gravel community was robbed of a bright future we looked forward to sharing and celebrating.


• It was at the Vermont Overland race that leading Kenyan cyclist and Team Amani rider Suleiman Kangangi was killed in a collision. “Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also a father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left when giant’s fall. Instead of leading us at the front of the pack, he will now lead us as our guiding pole star as we press forward in the realization of his dream,” read a team post on social media.



• Every once in a while, bike designers come along with a vision of how a bicycle could look and perform that truly stands apart from conventional thinking. Mike Burrows was one of them. Although his radical Lotus 108 (made famous by Chris Boardman at the ’92 Olympics) was perhaps his most outlandish and recognizable, it was his partnership with Giant in 1990 that brought forward the first commercially adapted compact frame with the TCR that revolutionized the market. Burrows passed away last September at the age of 79.


• That the gravel community has made the discussion of inclusion so prominent is a good thing. However, long before the modern conversation of inclusion became a thing in the gravel world, Dervla Murphy was off riding her bike across multiple continents in 1963. Her two-wheeled exploits would lead to a celebrated book, “Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle” as well as a legacy as one of Ireland’s more prolific adventurers. In musing about her heralded trip, Murphy wrote, “I regard this sort of life with just (my bike) and me and the sky and the earth as sheer bliss.” Dervla passed away last May at the age of 90, but thankfully her spirit of two-wheeled adventure lives on, most prominently in EF Education-EasyPost rider Lachlan Morton who is now planning a future world record attempt at circumnavigating the globe.


Not to sound melodramatic, but to me everyone who dons a helmet, clips into their pedals and heads off into the streets is little different from the brave sailor who enthusiastically heads out to sea ready to accept any unforeseen challenge to come. As someone who has been hit by a car three times, I can personally attest to the dangers inherent in riding a road bike – and inherent dangers that far and away are manifest less in the activity itself than in the lurking danger of the cars and trucks we comingle with.

Each year the cycling community loses its fair share of friends and families to errant drivers, and it is to the them that I give pause to remember and celebrate  – to celebrate their enthusiasm and passion for a sport that truly is divine.  Ride often, ride safe.

Rest in peace Moriah.

Top photo: BWR

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