I sat on the side of the road in Middlebury, Connecticut a few yards shy of mile 10 of the Rev3 Quassy bike course. My bike lay beside me with its front wheel taken off and two busted inner tubes strewn on the grass. It looked as depressed as I did. My competitors whizzed by as I just sat there wondering what to do next.
I had gotten my first flat a mile back after I hit a patch of broken glass, but since I carry a spare tube for such cases, I quickly removed the glass shard that had lodge itself in the inside of my tire, changed it, and was back on my way having only lost 5 minutes. No big deal.
I had just gotten back up to speed when I heard another “pssst,” and my front tire was once again flat. I wanted to cry; I wanted to take my bike and toss it in the adjacent cow pasture; I wanted to kick myself for not bringing two spares. Instead, I sat on the curb with my head between my legs waiting for the support truck to come and get me. I felt like a DNF had already been written in red across my forehead.
Suddenly, out of the blue a tube hit me on the helmet. I looked up puzzled. There in front of me, as if God himself had sent it down from the heavens, lay a brand new 80mm stem inner tube with a CO2 strapped to it.
“Enjoy, dude, and try not to pass me on the next hill.”
Before I could thank that saintly man on his Trek Speed Concept, he had already whizzed up the hill. If he had stopped I would have kissed him.
While I was still far from contention for podium, my race had been saved. I quickly changed the tire and was on my merry way—merry not only because I could now finish the race but also, and more importantly, my faith in the generosity of triathletes had once again been proven.
No matter how fast you are how competitive you get, you should first and foremost still look out for the triathlete next to you. If you see a rider on the side of the road (like I was), ask if (s)he need help or a spare tube. If a runner is struggling up the hill, give them a pat on the pack and tell them that yes (s)he can! You could make his or her day.