Triumphant Franklin rider
An avid cyclist has managed to punish his way through to a podium finish at an event he described as the ‘old people’s Olympics’.
Pukekohe cyclist Murray Garland, who has been riding for 10 years, competed in the time trial race at the international 2017 World Masters Games on April 23.
Once Garland finished his time trial, he waited in anticipation for the positions to be finalised, checking the online results every five minutes.
‘‘I had my wife and daughter there [at the award ceremony] and I said, ‘nah, I’m not going to believe it until they actually give me the medal’.’’
Out of 62 other competitors, Garland climbed his way to a podium spot, claiming the silver medal.
‘‘Because your improvements are so gradual, you can really see how far you actually have come,’’ said Garland.
‘‘I was obviously very proud, because when I started out I never thought I would actually be competitive.’’
Garland, who made the decision to start riding once he had stopped playing rugby, usually trains six days a week, but leading up to the World Masters Games time trial race, he was training up to nine times a week and cycling up to 400 kilometres.
The time trial course, that follows a 20km radius, was completed by Garland in 26 minutes and 50 seconds - beating his podium finishing opponent by nine seconds.
Garland said the World Masters Games was the biggest event he had com- peted in and said he was slightly overwhelmed, but thrilled by it all.
‘‘[The exciting part about competing in the World Masters Games] is the size of the event, but also competing against people you’ve never competed against - the overseas riders.
‘‘It was bigger than I expected - the organisation and the facilities and even seeing the spectators watching on closed roads. I guess it was like an old people’s version of the Olympics,’’ Garland joked.
This year’s World Masters Games is not the only event he has succeeded in.
In 2016, Garland placed third in his age group during the Tour of Northland, and on April 2, he came second in his age group during the Waikato/Bay of Plenty time trial championship. Garland said he would one day like to compete at the World Amateur Championship.
Murray Garland competed in the 2017 World Masters Games for the very first time.