Tri­umphant Franklin rider

Franklin County News - - SPORT - RUWADE BRYANT

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.

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