Triathlon professional, Michael Weiss, will compete in his home race, Ironman Austria, on Sunday June 26th. The Lower Austrian comes prepared for yet another duel with 7x reigning Champion, Marino Vanhoenacker, of Belgium.
Michael shares his thoughts and goals for the weekend and for October's World Championship in Kona in an interview below.
Sunday will be your first major highlight of the season. What is your state of mind going into Ironman Austria?
Michael Weiss: I certainly have a major case of the butterflies and my whole body seems to tingle with excitement. On the drive down to Corinthia I was remembering all my races here and amazing experiences with supporters and family.
What is the primary attraction of Ironman Austria for you?
Weiss: There are many factors which keep me coming back to Klagenfurt. The course is fast, the countryside is beautiful, the lake is spectacular for swimming, and the crowds are amazing - filled with positive energy and motivation.
Do you believe in the concept of "home advantage"?
Weiss: Well, I know the course like the back of my hand and familiarity brings security and confidence for me. Also, having family and fans that support you and cheer you on through every mile is a major help.
What is your main objective for Sunday?
Weiss: The win is certainly first on my mind. I've had two second place finishes and a third place finish here in Klagenfurt and I'm ready to put things together for a win.
What is your strategy to beat Carinthian Champion, Vanhoenacker?
Weiss: It's not about how I can beat Marino. The point is how I will be able to have the perfect day together with a bit of luck to turn the swim, bike, run into victory.
What level of pressure do you feel on your shoulders ahead of Ironman Austria?
Weiss: The greatest pressure is the pressure I put on myself. I have high expectations for Sunday and I want to demonstrate the shape and skills I have worked hard for in training.
You set the fastest bike split at Ironman 70.3 Boulder earlier in June. What can we expect to see on the bike course in Austria?
Weiss: I feel sensational on the bike right now and have complete trust in my Diamondback Serios setup. The position is great, aerodynamics are on point and I'm gunning for the fastest bike split again in Corinthia.
The finishline in Klagenfurt is regarded as one of the best in the world of Ironman racing. What are your personal feelings in that final stretch?
Weiss: The best sports disco on the planet! It's sensational and intoxicating - the crowds are emotional, the cheerleaders are on fire, and the announcers are bursting with energy and inspiration. It's one of a kind.
And what are your post-finishline plans?
Weiss: I usually treat myself to pizza and a good cold beer with family and friends.