Woman of the Week: Rebecca Wiasak

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Bec Wiasak (Shane Goss)

At 28 years of age, and only two years in cycling, Rebecca Wiasak is on the precipice of breaking into the Australia’s national team setup.

My physiology seems to be best suited to cycling. I have always had an Olympic goal but it was never a reality in any of my previous sports.

After showing her class at the National Track Championships in February, she moved her focus to the road, dominating the time trials throughout the 2012 National Road Series.

Her successful road season has seen Wiasak shoot to prominence on the local scene, but there is no doubt she wants more, a lot more. Her ambition is driving her long term goals of representing Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympics and Wiasak is certainly on the trajectory to make these dreams a reality.

No stranger to elite sport, Wiasak has competed as an age group representative at the World Triathlon Championships (WTC) and has a background in track running, but it was the Olympic pull that has seen her narrow her focus to cycling.

"My physiology seems to be best suited to cycling. I have always had an Olympic goal but it was never a reality in any of my previous sports," says Wiasak to Cycling Central.

Wiasak made a calculated move to the sport after researching the opportunities for female cyclists in Australia.

A call to Australian Sports Commission coach Donna Rae-Salinski seeking opportunities through the Australian Talent Identifaction (NTID) program saw her start a collaboration with the ACT Academy of Sport (ACTAS) coach John (Pothole) Forrest.

That partnership has helped the Geelong native flourish. Along with the coaching and physiology support team at the ACTAS, Forrest has provided her with all the support and advice she has needed to take her cycling to the next level.

While cycling success remains firmly on her radar, Wiasak continues to balance her training with part time employment, where she works as a Strategic Engagement Officer with the Department of Regional Australia. She also has a qualification in sports journalism, but Wiasak says she would “prefer to be making headlines, not writing them”. 

Currently in Adelaide, Wiasak is again turning her attention to the track over the summer as she vies for selection in the upcoming Track World Cups. National Women’s Track Endurance coach Gary Sutton who is overseeing Wiasak and the rest of the national track squad says Wiasak has the “right attitude, and the hunger to succeed”.  With a deep talent pool in the Australian track program, this may prove to be her biggest asset.

Gaining an opportunity to join the team in what is now a camp based program, Wiasak says it’s nice to be recognised and rewarded for her results throughout the past year. She admits the volume at the training camp has made for “tough and tiring days”, but without the distraction of work, Wiasak confesses the added recovery is a bonus.

Wiasak is enjoying her new love affair with cycling, particularly the challenge of pushing her limits, and the resulting podium spots. She admits “that hills, headwinds and flat tyres” aren’t always her favourite parts of cycling, but she knows how to get on with it.

It is this pragmatic view of the sport that will come in handy as she fights for selection in the coming months, and into the future.

There is no question this period at camp is a steep learning curve, but with lofty goals, Wiasak is certainly taking every opportunity she can to earn the respect of her peers and the coaching staff, and in turn progress her goals and dreams to realities.

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