Bike Stolen, but At Least I Have My Health

I know I should post a race report before I talk about the day after, but this is important. And for the curious folks, I was 3rd at Miami International Triathlon. Full race report to come.

Today was going to be a really good day, but that didn’t pan out. After yesterday’s racing and sailing and general enjoyment of the day, I was pretty motivated to get right back to training. My plan was to get up early, drive to Key Biscayne where I could run, ride my bike, and finish with an ocean swim. After that I as going to check out this little fish shack in the state park that was recommended by my friend Ileana (who’s family I’ve been staying with). That all would have served as a pretty good basis for a blog, but I think what actually happened might make for an even better story (better meaning more entertaining).

I did wake up early. I packed my backpack with clothing, Powerbars and sunscreen for the adventure and put my bike in the trunk of the rental car. Then I drove to Key Biscayne for the run. Unfortunately, the traffic in Miami is terrible, so I was already planning to cu tout the fish shack before I even started my run. I lathered on the sunblock and went exploring on the trail. It was hard to get my legs moving for sure, but the run was really pretty. The wind was blowing and it’s the first day I’ve been able to smell since I came down with a cold over a week ago. It ended up taking me almost 50 minutes to run six miles because on top of being sluggish I kept stopping to look at the scenery and take big breaths of fresh air.

Satisfied with my first workout I ran back to the rental, but when I approached I noticed that the trunk was popped. Adrenaline shot through me, and when I lifted the trunk my fears were realized. My bike was gone. I went to the driver’s door; still locked. I opened it and saw that the glove compartment and center console were open. My Rudy Project glasses were gone. Then I saw the little rear window was shattered and there was glass all over the floor. I knew I needed to call the police, but my backpack was gone too, along with my wallet, my cell phone and any hope that this was some kind of prank.

I flagged down a police officer from the highway and he called another unit. Yesterday alone there were 26 break-ins on Key Biscayne, he told me. I wanted to say, “great job!” but he was being really nice, and it’s the burglars who suck. A detective came, finger printed my car, and another officer called the office and had someone try to locate my phone with the GPS signal. The phone was turned off already. I called my mom and asked if she could contact credit card companies for me to report them stolen, and I listed all the things that were missing from my car:

  • Black Beyond Fabrications Blink Time Trial Bike with pink decals and K-Swiss stickers.
  • A Zipp 900 clincher disk
  • 404 clincher front wheel
  • Northwave size 43 triathlon shoes
  • A Dura-Ace crankset with SRM
  • Shimano Dura-Ace time trial groupo with Vision aerobars
  • Profile Design Aero-waterbottle (I just bought that Saturday too!)
  • Three Powerbars (banana, cookies and cream, and peanut butter)
  • Two bike water bottles
  • A TYR backpack with:
    • iPhone
    • Wallet ($30, drivers license, credit cards, health insurance, and some other membership cards)
    • USA Triathlon Team Cycling Kit
    • Blue Seventy swim brief and goggles
    • Rudy Project Fluo Green Noyz sunglasses with ImpactX Photochromic Grey lenses
    • A Garmin Edge 800 with North American maps

What they left:

  • A Rudy Project Wingspan Aero-Helmet (pink)
  • A half-full bottle of Scape 2x Sunblock (SPF 50)

They took a few prints, but it wasn’t very promising. After everything was finished with the police officers I decided to bag the swim (no suit anyway) and head back home to shower, try to call my parents and figure out how to get through TSA without any identification.

Eventually I get money from the bank (another giant hassle that I won’t get into) and I head back to Ileana’s house where her brother is just heading out the door. I give him the short version and he hands me all the cash from his wallet and says to take it just in case. Then he tells me, “Ben, if you can fix it with money, then it’s not a real problem.” Coming from a guy whose family has seen much worse than some stolen equipment, it put things into perspective. I tried to relax, thinking that if I didn’t I was likely to do something else dumb. By now I’m feeling rushed to get to the airport in time to deal with TSA, so I gather my empty bike box, throw everything into a suitcase, realize I don’t have time for a shower, scarf some leftovers and pile it all into the car. As I’m walking out the door the phone rings and I hear the answering machine go on and it’s Ileana hoping to speak to me. She says, “Ben, I know you’re stressed but you need to drive very carefully to the airport. Is there anything I can do to help?” As I’m talking to her I’m standing in the pantry of her parent’s house scarfing down cookies as a pure stress reaction (and by now I’m completely starving, having not eaten anything yet today). I tell her to call my mom and just let my mom know that there are people in Miami taking care of me and so that my mom knows someone to call in Miami if she doesn’t hear from me. Then I hang up, lock the door, and drive to the airport. Advantage was easy, I filled out an incident report, gave the police report number, described what happened and hand in my key. Right then a manager comes out and asks, “are you Ben? I have someone on the phone for you.” It’s my mom. She’s found a photocopy of my birth certificate, passport and drivers license, and she’s faxing it to Advantage so that I can take it with me to TSA (my mom is awesome). I wait a couple minutes, get the fax, then head to the airport (by now I have barely an hour before my flight).

At the Delta check in the agents see my fax, along with my OTC photo ID and they check me right in. TSA is even easier, I just had to step to the side for a minute while a supervisor came, talk a bit about triathlon (what are the distances? How long does that take? Is that a full triathlon?). They complimented me on my resourcefulness, but my mom totally saved the day. Again.

Now, if you know anyone in Miami, please tell them to be on the lookout for my bike. Spread the word to facebook, twitter. Any help is appreciated. I race again in three weeks, so I need a time trial bike ASAP!


Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

Join the Conversation


  1. Ben, I am SO sorry to hear of this very unfortunate incidence!!! I am spreading the word throughout the local tri and cycling communities here in Miami. It is unbelievable to me that there were 26 (!!!) car break-ins on Key Biscayne on Sunday alone. As a resident here and triathlete who frequently trains on the Key, I am both scared and disturbed. I hope we find the culprit(s) behind this!!!

  2. Sorry to hear about your unfortunate inlcident in MIA. Our training group “Tri2One” always trains in Key Biscayne and I am sure we will be on the look out for your bike! Good luck!

  3. So sorry to hear… I know that doesn’t make anything better. You do have your health! Will keep an eye out in Gainesville.

  4. wow. my cousin lives at miami beach. I’l forward it to him. He has some contacts including, police.

  5. So keep looking on craigslist… my co-workers husband almost got his bike back after someone tried to sell it on craigslist for a “bargain” price. Sorry for your troubles and good luck with your other training!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *