Triathlon professional, Michael Weiss, made history at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii this year! The 35-year-old was the first Austrian to lead the World Championship showdown of the world's best long-distance triathletes. Weiss ‘wowed’ the world during the 112 mile bike leg as he powered into first position aboard the all-new Diamondback Andean only to succumb to exhaustion on the marathon and eventually a 32nd finish. "I gave everything, learned a lot, and will come back stronger!"
Weiss will remember this race forever, incredible highs and miserable lows... But Kona is all about experience and learning from mistakes and this Austrian is committed to continuing the quest for victory in Hawaii.
In addition to an outstanding bike, Michael also posted a strong 2.4 mile swim time of 54:03 minutes, his personal best at the World Championships where wave rollers, currents, and race dynamics can often make for a challenging ocean swim. "I noticed immediately that my increased swim training was paying off as I reached the group around Aernouts and Schildknecht” said Weiss, who came out of the water with six minutes behind the top group led by defending champion, Jan Frodeno.
On the bike, Weiss once again played catch-up to the front packs. Within a very short time, the three-time Ironman Champion joined the group with fellow favorite Sebastian Kienle. "I could not believe how fast I closed the gap, and I felt like I was flying,” said Michael, the Andean pilot.
After 50 miles the Weiss powered into the lead for the first time - the first Austrian to lead in Kona in the 40-year history of the race. "It was a unique experience, a completely new feeling to be ‘the hunted’ in the world’s most significant triathlon race. However, my tactics and plans were turned upside down because I never anticipated this race scenario…” Weiss shares.
“I was riding a long time and constantly trying to pull away, but after 85 miles I was burnt. I should have been a bit more patient, but without risk you will not get reward in Hawaii.” With a bike time of 4:25:51, the third fastest of the day, Michi arrived to T2, but unfortunately his running form did not arrive on time.
The final marathon was a struggle for survival - and the brutally hot and humid conditions did not help. "I was totally empty and several times close to quitting.” Michael made his best efforts to cool his core temperature, refuel, and rehydrate on the 26.2 mile run. He did not give up, pushed onward despite exhaustion and eventually finished 32nd in 8:49:54 hours.
The victory went, as in the previous year, to German Jan Frodeno followed by Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange.
"I certainly expected a different and better result this year, but that is the sport of triathlon. One learns most from defeat, so I am convinced that I will come back stronger and smarter next year.”
In two weeks (October 23rd), Weiss, the 2011 XTERRA World Champion, will race the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.