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One of the 10 women in the elite section, Maier punctured on the cycle leg at Albert Town, having made up about eight of the 13 minutes she was down on the second and third place-getters after a ''terrible'' swim time.
While she had a spare tube, it was not fitted with the right extension valve for the rims on her bike and she needed tools she was not carrying.
Unable to be assisted by onlookers, it took her eight minutes to get her bike back on the road.
By then she had ''lost the plot'' in terms of her race strategy.
''It was a very mind-draining thing,'' Maier said yesterday, although ironically - puncture aside - she had her ''best ride ever''.
She followed that up with her fastest Challenge Wanaka run, taking just one minute more than winner Gina Crawford to complete the marathon.
She finished fourth overall, about seven minutes behind third-placed Jo Lawn and about 27 minutes behind Crawford.
Maier has an adventure run coming up in Queenstown, but is now eyeing the Taupo Ironman in March.