As details emerge following the murder of leading US gravel racer Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson in Austin, Texas, on 11 May, pro cyclist Colin Strickland has released a statement expressing his “regret and torture” at his proximity to the shocking crime.
25-year-old Wilson, one of the off-road side of the sport’s most exciting prospects who had just won the Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego, was staying with a friend in Austin before the Gravel Locos race when she was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds.
Yesterday it was revealed that police had issued an arrest warrant for fellow cyclist Kaitlin Armstrong, who is wanted for first-degree murder in connection with Wilson’s death and whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
Armstrong’s partner of three years, Strickland, has since issued a statement clarifying his relationship with both Armstrong and Wilson, and expressing his regret at the murder.
35-year-old Strickland, who is sponsored by Red Bull, is one of America’s top gravel and fixed-gear racers and in 2019 won the Unbound Gravel 200, then known as the Dirty Kanza, the sport’s biggest race.
A year later he was approached by EF Education-EasyPost boss Jonathan Vaughters to join the squad’s classics line-up, an offer he turned down to maintain his personal sponsorships.
In October 2021 Strickland entered into a brief romantic relationship with Wilson during a break in his relationship with Armstrong, with whom he also ran a mobile accommodation business. Strickland says he resumed his relationship with Armstrong a month later, after which he maintained a “platonic and professional” friendship with Wilson.
It has been reported, however, that Armstrong discovered that Wilson and Strickland had continued to be involved in January 2022, and began to threaten Wilson.
According to an affidavit obtained by the Boston Globe, on the day of her murder Wilson had gone for a swim with a male cyclist presumed to be Strickland.
Strickland confirmed to police that he had dropped Wilson off at her friend’s house around 8.30pm before returning home. Minutes later, a vehicle similar to the one registered to Strickland and Armstrong’s home was captured on a neighbour’s security camera outside the apartment. He also told police that Armstrong, driving her black Jeep, returned to their home at about 9.20pm.
Strickland, who has not been charged with any offence, issued the following statement through social media:
I am reeling from grieving Mo Wilson’s death and from the facts that have emerged during the investigation. I cannot begin to imagine the pain felt by Mo’s family and her close friends.
There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.
Although it will be a matter of small consolation to anyone else who cared for Mo, I want you to know that I have cooperated fully with investigators ever since I learned the terrible news, and I will continue to do so until some form of justice is served.
As a point of clarification to facts previously reported, Moriah Wilson and I had a brief romantic relationship from late October-early November 2021 that spanned a week or so while Wilson was visiting Austin. At the time, she and I had both recently ended relationships. She returned to her home in California and about a month later, Kaitlin Armstrong and I reconciled and resumed our relationship.
Since then I often saw Mo at cycling events, and always in public settings. We both competed in Bentonville, AR, Stillwater, and Monterrey CA. We also met for a 4-hour training ride in Santa Cruz after the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey.
After our brief relationship in October of 2021, we were not in a romantic relationship, only a platonic and professional one. It was not my intention to pursue along an auxiliary romantic relationship that would mislead anyone. Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of Cycling, and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend. I am deeply grieving her loss.
The murder of the popular 25-year-old gravel and mountain bike rider from Vermont has rocked US cycling. Wilson had recently left her job at Specialized to focus on her racing career.
After finishing second at the Leadville 100 MTB race and winning the Big Sugar Gravel in 2021, she progressed rapidly this year, putting together a string of impressive victories at Lake Sonoma MTB, Huffmaster Hopper, the Sea Otter Classic Fuego MTB 80K, and the Belgian Waffle Ride, taken just a week before her death.
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.