Have you ever finished fourth and just missed out on a podium? Or maybe just missed on a Strava segment goal for a few seconds? We all know how bad those feelings are, but imagine missing out on qualifying for the World Championships by just two points.

That is what happened to Australian Ricky Garard in 2016, when he just barely missed qualifying for the CrossFit Games. Garard had to wait twelve brutal months, and on Thursday on the opening day of the 2017 CrossFit Games, he made the most of his opportunity.

Garard won the CrossFit Cross race in an impressive 19:26, 26 seconds ahead of second place finisher Jonne Koski. After a 12th-place finish in the Run-Swim-Run earlier Thursday morning, Garard sits in fourth after two events.

If there were a Cant or Van Aert of the Men’s CrossFit field, it was likely Garard. He posted a qualifying time of 6:00, which by our unofficial assessment was just 20 seconds slower than the lap turned in by Bryan Fosler (801 W. Madison), the Cat 1 ’cross racer seen in the preview video produced by CrossFit. (Although, the course in the preview video did appear different than the course raced on Wednesday and Thursday).

Ricky Garard was all business in winning the cyclocross event at the 2017 CrossFit Games. © Cyclocross Magazine

When I asked Garard about his first cyclocross experience, he was excited, “I love it. It was the highlight of my career so far.” He then continued, using some proper cycling lingo, “It’s my first time here, and to take the event win, I’m stoked.”

Gerard said he picked up his biking skills when he was younger, “I grew up on a farm, and I used to ride everywhere,” he said. “Ride to school, ride to the jumps, ride to the shops and get a donut, ride home. I started racing on flat track speedways when I was 13, so I kind of know the lines and braking and having no fear.”

He also added that CrossFit helped give him power to go with the handling skills. Said Garard, “Then CrossFit gave me endurance in my legs.” He continued, “I have the skills to ride a bike and then the endurance after that. They work hand in hand.

Miss the CrossFit Games cyclocross race? Watch the full replay

Read all our coverage of the 2017 CrossFit Games cyclocross race.