Pewaukee woman competing with the world's best athletes

If you take the time to look around, you might discover your passion in the unlikeliest of places.

"The road right outside of our house here, we were gone for the weekend, we came home, my husband and I, and there were orange cones," said Nicole Oschmann, Pewaukee resident. "And we were like, why are there orange cones here?"

Those orange cones were about to change Nicole Oschmann's life.

"I just Googled it and there was the Pewaukee triathlon, and apparently, we live on the bike course," said Oschmann.

But a triathlon? Back in 2017, the Pewaukee resident wasn't quite familiar with the sport.

"I didn't know what a triathlon was," said Oschmann. "I was like, you have to swim, bike and run. Okay. I signed up for it a year in advance."

From there, little did she know her life was about to take a deep dive into her new passion.

"First (triathlon) would be Pewaukee because that was my goal one," said Oschmann. "It was kind of going to be a bucket list one and done, and then I was like, this is just amazing, like I have to keep doing more of this."

Since then, Nicole has completed 20-30 more triathlons in the last six years.

(FOX6 News Milwaukee)

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A couple of months ago, she finally checked a big race off her bucket list, and that happened to be the race she qualified for after doing well at Nationals in Milwaukee back in August 2021.

"My coach comes up to me, and he's like, 'you made it'. I'm like made what? The finish line? Yeah. I know, and he's like no, you're going to qualify for the Worlds team," said Oschmann. "I was like no, what? I think I probably cried. I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I was so excited."

That would be the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi. Last November, Nicole competed in the 35-39 female age group for Team USA.

Worlds also features an Olympic length triathlon, which includes a 1.5 km swim, followed by a 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run.

"Obviously I wanted to do really well, but I didn't for once set my expectations too high," said Oschmann. "I wanted to be in the top 50 percent. The swim was a little difficult. On the bike, I actually had the fourth-fastest bike split, and I ended up in 11th overall. I was very excited. I had no idea that I could do that."

Now, four months later, she's ready to do it all again.

Nicole has qualified for the 2023 World Championship Finals, which are in Spain this September.

"This first training block is about rebuilding strength again," said Oschmann.

She'll train every day, weightlifting, running, swimming, biking and more. It's a grueling schedule.

Fortunately, her husband Billy and her family have been more than supportive.

"My husband is awesome," said Oschmann. "Without him, I wouldn't be able to do any of this stuff. When I went to Worlds, they all made signs, and they posted them on Facebook, and they sent me messages before the race."

Now it's that time again, so the countdown is on for this year's World Triathlon Championships.

"I think I'm going to just lob it and say top 10," said Oschmann. "Just as happy as I was with 11, I was like if I had gone a little bit faster, I could say top 10. I think that would be my main goal."

For the next seven months, Nicole will be training hard to prepare as a member of Team USA. She hopes to once again be named a captain as well.

It's certainly an achievable goal for a talented triathlete, who happened to open up a whole new world just by looking right outside her door.

The 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals are September 20-24 in Pontevedra, Spain.