GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — 23-year-old Zoe Clay died shortly after a fall that her loved ones called a freak accident during a competitive charity bike race in Greensboro last Sunday.  

Clay, an avid cyclist, was helping to raise money to take care of the mountain biking trails in the Triad.  

Many photos show Clay in her element, smiling ear to ear in her biking gear and behind the handlebars on the course. It’s something she took up late, but it’s where she found her passion.  

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Clay and her boyfriend Will Hardin regularly recapped bike races on his YouTube channel.  

“Zoe … shared the same love of biking that we did,” Hardin said Wednesday afternoon. 

Hardin met Zoe about a year and a half ago while doing road racing and cycle cross. 

“Just a wonderful and bright light that was introduced into our little community.”

Clay felt at home in the Winston-Salem biking community. 

“We just loved her, and it’s been cool to see so many people support her family.”

In just a couple of days, a GoFundMe for her has reached more than $60,000. With costs covered, the rest of the money will honor Clay’s legacy.  

“Hopefully, we can get support for the causes she loved … She was so passionate about getting girls on bikes and seeing them smile.”

Hardin says her death is a true loss for the entire cycling community.  

“Getting to see that trajectory … would have been spectacular. She had a lot of promise in the sport.”

And those who loved the smiling, adventurous girl on the bike will remember her as long as they ride.  

“She was a wonderful person, and we miss her.”

On Thursday, the organizers of the GoFundMe shared this message:

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We are overwhelmed by and beyond thankful for the love and support of Zoe’s community in the wake of this tragic loss. While we knew that Zoe was well-loved by a great many, we could not anticipate the extent of your generosity.

While we still do not know the extent of medical expenses, funeral/memorial expenses, and other related expenses incurred by the family, we anticipate that what we have raised and will continue to raise will be beyond those expenses.

It is Zoe’s family’s intention that donations exceeding those costs will be donated to charitable causes important to Zoe and their family, such as youth cycling and development programs, especially for girls and women. There are many details to work through, but in the days and weeks to come we will provide updates here. So much love and thanks.

— Jessica Richard, Kelley Gondring, Ginny Norton, and Amanda Tanner