After completing my overseas experience I returned to New Zealand and started riding mountain bikes socially in 1996. Instantly addicted to the sport I threw myself into competing in the local Wellington races in 1997. After many successful results, Mud Cycles offered me sponsorship in March 1998. With my sponsors help, I won the expert class of the 1999 New Zealand National series. Later that year I gained two new sponsors: Penny Farthing Cycles and Gary Fisher
On the strength of my '99 results I qualified to represent New Zealand at the Oceania Games in Sydney. I came 9th in an international field that was run on the Olympic course. Soon after the Oceania Games I started road cycling to build strength and endurance and began competing in road races. This laid the foundation for my third placing in the 2001 New Zealand mountain biking series.
From there I embarked on my first international campaign racing on road and off road in the US, culminating in a respectable 43rd place at the MTB World Championships in Vail. My goal was to join the Commonwealth Games team in Manchester in July 2002.
Back in New Zealand I had an outstanding season to become the NZ Champion. However this was not enough to make the Games and though disappointed at missing selection I set my new goal to qualify for the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Again I headed overseas in 2003 and 2004 to increase my world ranking and gain invaluable international experience. I had a fantastic result in the debut World Marathon Championships in 2003 finishing 14th.
2004 was all about qualifying for the Olympics and I had my best season to date. In a very competitive World Cup field I placed 29th, which qualified me for the Games. Then I got my first podium result in Europe with a 3rd place in the Grachen Swiss Cup. As part of my build up to the Games I joined the NZ road team for two tours which fuelled my passion for road racing. Then it was my cycling career highlight - competing at the Olympic Games in Athens. http://www.robynwong.com/journal.htm