NORTH DELTA â€” Michael Milic is competing at the Western Canada Summer Games this week, but the wheels of his bicycle almost didnâ€™t have a chance to touch ground in Wood Buffalo, Alberta.
The winning triathlete, 17, is riding a loaner bike at the Games, after irreparable cracks were discovered on the frame of the bike heâ€™s used for training and races over the past four years.
The broken bike nearly kept him from competing in Alberta this week.
â€œIt was a bit touch and go,â€ the North Deltan said Friday (Aug. 7). â€œIt was a bit stressful.â€
On Thursday (Aug. 13), Milic earned a silver medal in Junior Elite triathlon, finishing the race in 59 minutes, 15 seconds â€” just two ticks of the clock behind Alberta-based winner Cooper James Bentley.
Early last week, fellow triathletes who train with him launched an online fundraising campaign that quickly netted more than $2,000 for a new bike for Milic.
Meanwhile, the Cervelo company stepped up to loan him a set of wheels for the rest of the race season.
â€œItâ€™s a pretty crazy-expensive sport,â€ said Susan Milic, Michaelâ€™s mother.
â€œHe will eventually buy a road bike and new wheels when he has more time, after September. The bike plus wheels will be approximately $7,000, used.â€
The Junior Elite triathlon race involves an 800-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike ride and five-kilometre run. Thatâ€™s known as â€œsprint distanceâ€ in the triathlon world â€” half the Olympic distance.
Milic is a top-ranked athlete in the Triathlon Canada Junior Elite series.
At the Western Canada Summer Games, the race field was relatively small compared to other triathlons he does.
â€œItâ€™s usually 50 or 60 guys in races, but there, because they take only three (racers) from each province, thereâ€™ll be 12 of us,â€ Milic said last week. â€œTheyâ€™re all quite good, and itâ€™ll be good competition, just not that many competitors.â€
On Saturday morning (Aug. 15), Milic will compete in the 3 X Relay Team event with other B.C. triathletes.
In mid-September, Milic has been invited to compete at the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships.
Also of note, Milic was recently given the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship by the namesake athlete, one of the top triathletes in the world.
â€¢ Team BC has a delegation of 427 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff representing the province at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo (2015woodbuffalo.com). The Games, on now until Sunday, Aug. 16, are held every four years and bring together close to 2,500 athletes in 18 sports.
Surrey sent 54 athletes to the Games, while Delta sent 15.