Triathlete Killed Biking a Week Before Ironman World Championship: 'She Was Full of Life'

Jessica Koelsch Bibza
Jessica Koelsch Bibza

Jessica Koelsch Bibza Facebook

A Tampa-based triathlete was killed just one week before she was set to compete in the Ironman Championships.

Jessica Koelsch Bibza was cycling on Saturday near West Shore Boulevard when she was hit by a car on Gandy Boulevard, according to Fox 13 News. As of Wednesday, no arrests have been made as the Tampa Police Department investigates the incident.

An official GoFundMe for funeral expenses set up by Bibza's longtime friend Lindsay MacConnell met its goal within just two days.

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"I've known Jessica for over 10 years as a teammate and friend," MacConnell wrote. "I will never forget her smile and her lust for life. I wanted to get a ball rolling to give people something to dig into in a way that can help her husband, Todd, manage the devastation and pain with the financial bills to come."

Bibza was a mom and beloved member of Tampa Bay's cycling and triathlon community, and had competed in multiple Ironman World Championships. According to her LinkedIn profile, Bibza graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1991 with a degree in marine biology.

Jessica Koelsch Bibza
Jessica Koelsch Bibza

Gofundme Jessica Bibza

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She dedicated her career to wildlife, with stints at nonprofits Ocean Conservancy and Sea to Shore Alliance. For the last decade, Bibza had been working as a policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation. Friends describe her as a "tireless environmentalist."

MacConnell wrote, "Jessica means so much to so many people — there's not a person she wouldn't talk to or a person she wouldn't cheer on. She was full of life and full of joy and the world is a darker place without her."

In lieu of flowers, Bibza's husband requested donations be made in her honor to the National Wildlife Federation and WUSF, a Tampa branch of NPR.