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U.S. marathon champion Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz) won Wild Horse Gravel Saturday in western Colorado, riding solo for much of the technical and climb-intensive course that topped out at 8,200 feet. She had another rider on her mind, though.
Before the race, there was a moment of silence for Moriah Wilson, the rising gravel star whose death was reported the evening before.
“It was a little bit bittersweet, having just found out about Moriah,” Skarda said. “I got a little emotional on the starting line, because I was thinking about how she should have been on a starting line for her gravel race. And I felt like part of me was racing for her today.”
“I just pictured her crushing me on the climbs like she does,” Skarda said. “She was such a great person. Heartbreaking.”
Wilson was found dead of gunshot wounds in Austin, Texas, where she was staying in preparation for the Gravel Locos race.
At Wild Horse Gravel, Tess Amer and Leah Van Der Linden came in for second and third.
In its third year, Wild Horse Gravel is held at The High Lonesome Ranch, a country establishment northeast of De Beque (population 508), and miles from a paved road. Many racers camp on site the night before.
The course is on country roads and private ranch tracks.
“It was really pretty being out there in the middle of nowhere,” said Skarda, who was racing in her first-ever gravel race.
“I am really excited to get a gravel race in before the big Unbound [Gravel],” she said. “I think Wild Horse was a good one to start with because it was pretty rugged, and had a little bit of everything, so it was good experience on all types of gravel road.”
2022 Wild Horse Gravel
- Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz), 3:22:57
- Tess Amer (Mazda-Lauf), 3:39: 30
- Leah Van Der Linden (Full Cycle), 3:43:05
- Sunny Gilbert (Blue), 3:47:35
- Jessica Cygan (Mazda-Lauf), 3:47:48
- Aimee Vasee, 4:07:32
- Morgan Sooy, 4:08: 53
- Karen Jarchow, 4:11:47
- Harper Powell, 4:27:45
- Bryn Brendamour, 4:28:43