Steamboat’s Jankoski earns bid to world triathlon championships | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat’s Jankoski earns bid to world triathlon championships

Austin Colbert

Steamboat Springs resident Robyn Jankoski nears the finish of Saturday's U.S.A. Triathlon Olympic Distance National Championship in downtown Milwaukee. Jankoski, 54, did just enough to qualify for the 2016 World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico.

— They were silly mistakes that only cost a few seconds, but Steamboat Springs resident and IronEdge Coaching triathlete Robyn Jankoski had no idea how close they came to costing her a lot more.

"I did have a couple mishaps in transition. I never have had a problem in transition," Jankoski said. "I got confused on where my bike was. I was one section down, and it took me a few seconds of looking."

Between that and dropping her water bottle — twice — heading into the run, Jankoski is thankful she finished as she did Saturday during the 2015 Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee.

Jankoski, 54, finished the triathlon in 2 hours, 34 minutes and 23 seconds, taking 34th in the women's 50-54 age group. The top 18 finishers qualify for the 2016 World Triathlon Championships in Cozumel, Mexico, and Jankoski spent the afternoon wondering if she had made it.

The world championship qualifications base an athlete's age on what it would be during the 2016 race. This meant Jankoski was put into the 55-59 age division, and with the adjustment, finished 18th to qualify for the September 2016 event in Mexico.

"I thought I was close, but I did not think I had made it," Jankoski said. "I am on top of the world right now. I didn't realize when I saw my time. I knew I was pleased with my time because of the course conditions today, but I still didn't think I was going to be in the automatic 18 that get to go."

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After finishing the triathlon Saturday morning, she spent the afternoon touring the city and visiting museums before heading back for the awards ceremony early in the evening. It wasn't until then — after numerous calls to teammates and her IronEdge coach, Heather Gollnick — that she found out she had qualified.

"She qualified, and I am just over-the-moon excited for her. Very proud," said Gollnick, who spent the day watching Jankoski online. "She works really hard. She is just one of those super-dedicated athletes. To see someone keep improving as they get older is just unbelievable."

A certified public accountant who has lived in Steamboat since 1991, Jankoski competed in the 2014 nationals, also in Milwaukee, taking 55th. She began training for this year's event back in February and is already prepared to get into that training mindset for next fall’s world championships.

Gollnick, a Milwaukee native and five-time Ironman champion, finished third in the women's 40-44 age division at the triathlon national championships last year and will compete in this September's world championships in Chicago. She likely won't be able to give Jankoski many tips about the competition, however, as Chicago and Cozumel bring completely different challenges.

"I will definitely train her different for this race. It will be harder," Gollnick said of the 2016 world championships. "Even your nutrition is different, because you are going to swallow salt water, and you can't take an energy drink right after you get out of the water. You have to have water."

The 2015 world championships take place Sept. 15-19 in Chicago, with the 2016 championships, for which Jankoski is qualified, taking place a year later in Cozumel.

"Absolutely, I'm going," Jankoski said. "I am absolutely thrilled."

Also competing Saturday in Milwaukee was Steamboat's Dan Hohs, another IronEdge athlete. He finished 81st in the men's 25-29 age division with a time of 2:19:17.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert