Triathlete unable to finish virtual race after husband accidentally unplugs bike

Triathletes such as Mirinda Carfrae are adapting to new, virtual means of competition in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Carfrae learned the hard way of the challenges that the transition brings on Saturday during the Facebook-broadcasted Ironman VR Pro Challenge. Carfrae was cruising along in second place when her husband and fellow triathlete, Tim O'Donnell, tripped on a power cord and disconnected her from the race.

"Not my fault at all," Carfrae said from her smart bike on her Instagram story. "So, Tim came in here with some of my trophies, and he was holding them up, when he said, 'I'm going in the back so they can see.' So, as he went around the back, he kicked my cord out."

Carfrae, an Australia native and former triathlon world champion, said the incident was "totally Tim's fault" and jokingly called O'Donnell an "idiot." Jocelyn McCauley, Angela Naeth and Jeanni Seymour eventually placed first, second and third, respectively. 

Although her time wouldn't count, Carfrae still finished the 55-mile stage – with O'Donnell visible in the background holding a green sign reading "my bad." Technological difficulties never factored into Carfrae's races before but competing virtually during a pandemic puts them front and center.  

"Of all the things that could have gone wrong," Carfrae wrote on Instagram, "TO kicking out the cord was definitely not on our radar."

Our Latest Stories