Tomorrow the sun will rise on the 37th anniversary of the world's most challenging triathlon, the Ironman Hawaii World Championships.
Michael Weiss will be the only professional representing Austria, in a field of the sports top 58, and has his sights set high for the battle on Big Island.
Michael's fitness, self confidence, and race preparation and set-up is spot-on for tomorrow. "I'm as fresh as ever," said Weiss as he looks forward with focus to his fourth Ironman World Championships. "This is the biggest stage that the triathlon sport has to offer."
More than 2,000 competitors will toe-the-line on Saturday, starting from 6:25 clock (clock 18:25 CET) at the famous pier of Kailua-Kona.
Athletes will completes a 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim in the Pacific Ocean, 112 mile (180km) bike through the deep black lava desert with winds from any and all directions, and then the epic marathon run, 26.2 miles, featuring the infamous red-hot Energy Lab, a research station for the use of ocean energy.
“The conditions and external influences are extreme on this course, and that's what makes Ironman Hawaii such a unique and amazing challenge. It is my opportunity to show my very best and prove the mental and physical strength I have been building all year.”
The power to win or lose, to cross the finish line or quit all comes down to mental strength and endurance. "It's not about who is the fastest tomorrow, but who slows down the latest,” Weiss, number #27, remarks.
On Wednesday Michael, now 34 years old, completed his last long training session in Kona. Since then recovery and rest has been the name of the game. "Switch off, put your feet up, go offline and recharge the batteries." This also includes the always loved "carbo-loading", ie the filling of carbohydrate stores. "I'm as fresh as ever,” Weiss says.
"If I find a bit more luck than last year [flat tire in 2014], a top 10 result is possible. I have learned from the mistakes of recent years, and I know what it takes." The motto of the Lower Austrian is: be patient! "I have to do my race and believe in my strengths and my work over this year. In the last 50 kilometers of the bike and on the second half of the marathon there are great opportunities to move up."
The top favorites for the World Championship title come from Germany: defending champion Sebastian Kienle and 70.3 World Champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno are considered the hottest favorites. But everything is possible - even for Michael Weiss. “More than anything I want to show what I have accomplished through hard training and sacrifices this season."