Carina Wasle: Navigating Evolution

After over 20 years, Austrian national cross triathlon champion Carina Wasle has embraced every phase of her successful career. From children’s triathlon and being the first ever European cross champion in 2007 to participating in the inaugural XTERRA World Cup against the best in the world, Wasle has seen and experienced it all. While she is aware of the battles that lay ahead with the 2024 World Cup series opener in Taiwan and beyond, Carina Wasle is ambitious and ready to fight.

Written by
Sarah Bonner
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Fresh off her second place finish at XTERRA South Africa in February, Wasle has already shown she’s had a productive off-season. Her progress came from making big changes to her usual winter training program—a risk Wasle knew she needed to take. 

“A lot has changed. When I started, you could maybe have a weakness in one sport and still could have a really good result. But I think now you need all three disciplines at a high level to have a chance to be in the top five."

“The last four or five years, I didn’t bike a lot in the winter. I did mostly cross country skiing for my main sessions. But this year, if I wanted to have a chance, I had to change a lot. Cross country skiing is good training but it’s not the same as mountain biking. Last year it was my weakness. This year I had the opportunity to do a training camp so I traveled to South Africa and I was there for three weeks.”

Carina Wasle / XTERRA South Africa / 2024

Taking advantage of the warm weather and thriving mountain bike scene, Wasle doubled-down on her goal to improve her mountain biking, hardly running or swimming at all. 

“I did three weeks just mountain biking. It was really good for me because I had nothing else to do other than training, sleeping, and eating.”

Her hard work paid off. Just 47 seconds behind winner Marta Menditto at XTERRA South Africa, Wasle finished in second but posted the fastest bike split.



Stop 1: Taiwan

Now back in Europe, Wasle has her sights set on Taiwan and improving on her 8th place finish last year. 

“Taiwan is the first real big event. I'm much better prepared than last year because at that time of the year, I think I was two times outside on the mountain bike. I think Marta gave me some good competition [in South Africa] and I could see where I am. I wasn’t too far behind so I think the training was quite good. I invested quite a lot to get stronger and I worked hard on my weaknesses. I can feel the progress from all the work and I’m really excited to race in Taiwan.”

"I can feel the progress from all the work and I’m really excited to race in Taiwan.”

Not only does Wasle aim to show her improved bike performance but she hopes training under the African sun will help her cope with the notorious weather conditions. The first word she uses to describe Taiwan is: hot. 

“I was already in South Africa so maybe that helped a little bit. Normally, I'm good at hot races because I'm small so it doesn’t bother me. I love when it's hot, and I hate when it's cold. I love, love hot conditions.”

Still, Wasle says she prepares her nutrition accordingly, especially when it comes to fluids. “You have to drink so much,” she says. “I always ride with a camelback. It’s just easier to drink.”

Carina Wasle / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Taiwan


Working For It 

Having a strong opening race to her World Cup campaign is really important for Wasle. Despite being the national champion, finishing 9th in the World Cup overall last season, and an impressive palmares, Wasle is only a part-time athlete and might not make it to every start line. 

“At the moment my biggest challenge is to find the right balance between work and sport. Mostly my work starts around 4pm and I work until midnight, sometimes longer. So it sounds good that I can train during the day, but I miss all the recovery time and lots of sleep. When I get up in the morning I'm tired, but I know I have to train to achieve my goals. I can't stop working because I need the money, but it makes it very difficult to train like a professional. So it's not the best combination. It's very hard to find a job that fits perfectly with sport.”

On top of balancing work and training, she also explains that her nearest pool is a 40 minute drive away. “It’s more or less a ‘fun pool’ so it makes it hard for me to train,” she says. But the commute to the pool isn’t as big as the travel required to race at the top level. For Wasle, her true challenge this season will be taking time off work to race.

Carina Wasle / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Germany


Reality and Passion 

Her realities don’t dull her passion for the sport and she lights up whenever she talks about anything XTERRA. 

“Sport helps me so much in my life. I can calm down after hard working days in my job. Especially when I go for a swim, I can clear my mind; biking in the mountains is pure freedom; and running gives me so many happy feelings.” 

“I love the challenge so much, to spend lots of time in nature during training and the races, to meet fantastic people, explore new places and so on… I just love this sport and I love the lifestyle. I just love it.”

"When I go for a swim, I can clear my mind; biking in the mountains is pure freedom; and running gives me so many happy feelings.” 

It would be easy to stop competing and just do sport as a hobby but racing is really important to Wasle. Even when the 39 year old looks ahead and beyond her professional career, racing is still a part of how she wants to continue being an athlete. 

“I get really sad when I think about retiring but I think the next few years I still want to race. I won't be as fast or as good but then I will just want to enjoy the races and just be good for myself.”

Carina Wasle / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Germany



Wasle's openness to learning from her peers and her willingness to experiment with new strategies underscore a proactive approach to her career: “I've been racing now for quite a long time. I'm still making mistakes and hopefully learning out of it. The sport has changed and also I have changed over the years. It's a big process. I'm learning and growing with every race and every season. I'm learning from other athletes. What worked for me maybe last year, might not work for me this year again. I like to try new things and am still trying to find out what works best for me at this moment.”

“I still love the challenge of the races and I still try to be the best I can be. If I do something, I want to do it 100%. If I’m at a race, I’m still ambitious enough to give everything.”

Carina Wasle / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Taiwan

Carina starts with the No. 54 bib in Taiwan, where her battle with Marta Menditto will pick up right where it left off in South Africa as both the Austrian and the Italian look to get their World Cup campaigns off to the strongest possible start. Positions mean points and points mean everything in this series. Just 47 seconds separated them last time out, but only time will tell what happens in Taiwan when World Champion Solenne Billouin and the World Cup Champion Alizée Paties enter the fray. 

Click here to get notified when the livestream starts on March 23, with insights and analysis provided by ex-elite racer Doug Hall and triathlon's own Whit Raymond.












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Author Bio

Sarah Bonner

Sarah Kim Bonner (MA, PGDip, BA Hons) is a Canadian freelance writer, graphic designer, and professional triathlete. She has worked as a creative for over 10 years, specializing in written storytelling within endurance sports. Emotionally allergic to an office 9-5, she has lived and raced all over the world from the Arctic to Africa and now calls the Canary Islands home. Find her at or @sarahkimbonner.

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