Up-and-coming triathlete Robyn Wondrasek picked up a bike and started riding just at the beginning of the year and two months later she earned a ticket to the prestigious 2012 XTERRA World Championships.
“I thought that swimming and biking in triathlon sounded great, but never wanted to do one because of the running. Last January, I decided that I wanted to start making some changes in my life so I got a bike and started riding. I talked to friends about doing the sport course of XTERRA Saipan and a lot of them encouraged me to do the whole course. I started running with Joshua Berger who encourages me to running 4:1's (run 4 minutes, walk a minute). It's great for building up you endurance, speed, and protecting your knees. By using that method I have come to really enjoy running long distances,” said Wondrasek.
The Marianas High School teacher ended up completing the XTERRA Saipan Championship course in April this year with a decent time of 4:39:36. She finished ahead of 12 other participants, including two veteran Saipan triathletes, and won the 25 to 29 age group
“ XTERRA Saipan was my first big competition and triathlon. Maui's will be the biggest. The closer it gets, the more nervous I am getting. There are about 800 competitors,” said Wondrasek.
She does not have a target time in the October 28 race in Hawaii, as she just wants to complete the two-year old course in Kapalua.
“It's hard for me to have a target time because this is only my second triathlon and the course is so different from Saipan's. I was looking at the Maui course on-line and the swim has me nervous. They appear to have much rougher waters. This year Saipan had great water conditions so I am just hoping and praying that the water conditions are calm and that Mother Nature will be nice to us. I am by no means fast, I just want to finish strong and not pass out,” said Wondrasek, who will join the now Guam-based Mieko Carey in next month's competition.
The race in Hawaii will start with a 1-mile swim at the rough waters of D.T. Flemings Beach. Next up is the 18.3-mile bike leg along the slopes of West Maui Mountains and the last is the 6.1-mile run leg along the dirt trails of Oleander forests, 60-foot high ironwood evergreens and mountain lake at the 650-foot level, according to XTERRA World website.
Of the three legs, Wondrasek believes she performs well in biking.
“I have really enjoyed mountain biking, especially technical trails. It's something that originally I didn't think I would have the guts to do but after getting on the bike, I found that I really do enjoy the thrill and the excitement of it all. I just got my clip-ins so I am excited to see how they help with powering up the hills,”
The Bottineau, North Dakota native has been training for XTERRA World for months and is getting a lot of help from her fellow athletes.
“I am swimming at the Marpi pool with the SSC Masters every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons and I am biking in the morning and running in the evening. I have been running and biking a lot of hills because Mieko warned me there are a lot more hills than technical trails in Hawaii. But, I mix it up a lot so that I don't get bored or feel like I have to do it,” the MHS teacher said.
“Dawn Hammermeister taught me how to mountain bike and pointed me in the right direction as to whom I should meet up with to start training in running and swimming. Joshua Berger and Suzy Kindel's running group has been so great at making running fun and enjoyable. They help me push myself and to stick with it. Suzy has also been great at supplying me with swimming workouts and tips to perfect my stroke. I have also had a lot of help from Eileen Escudero Wisor, and Arielle Buyum in helping me find sponsors and putting together my upcoming fundraisers,” said Wondrasek, who will host a bike race fundraiser this Sunday.
The Saipan triathlete also thanked the following for supporting her XTERRA World trip: IT&E, Powerade, Pacific Trading, Handbags, MARPAC, Marianas Resort, Restaurant 360, Shell, Joeten Superstore, Hollywood Theaters, Paradise Island Animal Hospital, and Microl-Toyota.