Masters Games: Borrowed bike helps American triathlete to medal

When American triathlete Blake Wheale arrived in Auckland for this week's World Masters Games 2017, he was missing one very important element to his race - his bike hadn't made the flight.

"I got paged before the flight took off and there was something in my bike box that they wouldn't allow on the plane, maybe a CO2 cartridge," he told The Herald. "I had no choice but to get on the flight without my bike."

But a shout-out to the Auckland triathlon community on Facebook met with so many offers of assistance, he eventually had his pick of mounts for the Olympic-distance 30-34 race.

Hayden Goldsack, left, and grateful American triathlete Blake Wheale. Photo supplied.
Hayden Goldsack, left, and grateful American triathlete Blake Wheale. Photo supplied.

"A TT [time trial] bike would be ideal, but at this point, I will settle for anything," begged Wheale.

"I am willing to pay to rent a bike and can give it back right after the event, and pay you in beer, wine, cash - whatever your preference."

Among the offers was the exact size and model bike Wheale normally rides, but he eventually secured a sleek Cervelo P3 off local triathlete Hayden Goldsack, along with a helmet.

"I am overwhelmed by how nice you all are," responded Wheale. "Kiwis are my new favourite people.

"I need to pay it forward. Any of you need a place to stay when you come to San Francisco, you know who to call."

Wheale eventually finished second in his division and 19th overall, with a time of 2h 07m 30s for the 1.5km swim/40km cycle/10km run course.

"I did pretty well," he told the Herald. "I have a bit of an Achilles issue right now, so the run was challenging, but that performance is up there near my best.

"This was an amazing experience. If I had done this in the US, my chances of finding a bike would be pretty slim."

Goldsack didn't expect anything for the favour, but Wheale was as good as his word, providing a case of craft beer that was appreciated by his good Samaritan.

The World Masters Games 2017 wind up on Sunday, with several sports conducting finals and a closing ceremony at Queen's Wharf, scheduled for 6.30pm.

- NZ Herald

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