Triathlon professional, Michael Weiss, concluded his successful 2016 season with yet another top result. The Austrian native, Colorado resident, crossed the Ironman Cozumel finish line in 8:10:44 and 4th place overall. Weiss earned a Personal Best in the swim, posted the fastest bike split which is now the new bike course record, and only faltered slightly on the marathon run when he dropped from first to fourth due to extreme heat.
Ironman Cozumel is traditionally the last race of the season for Michael, who opened 2016 with a podium at Ironman 70.3 Texas in early April. So after a solid year of healthy racing, consistent top results, and several bike course records he was certainly looking forward to the last race on his favorite Mexican island. This was Michael’s 4th time racing the Ironman on the hot and windy island of Cozumel. In 2013 and 2014 he was the Ironman Cozumel Champion and finished 3rd in 2015. This year he knew would be an especially hard battle with Ironman World Champion, Frederik van Lierde, starting among others in a strong field.
The tough competition played well for Weiss’s race. He was pushed to his personal best time in the 2.4 mile ocean swim, exiting the water in 48:26 minutes. "The swimming was sensational,” exclaimed Michi. “I was finally able to perform in a race what have been working so diligently for in training!”
Needless to say, Michael was in his element on the bike course. Hot, flat, and windy. "The conditions were very challenging,” he remarked "but my Diamondback Andean is made for this course and rode perfectly." With two well-planned aggressive attacks Weiss closed the gap to the top and shook off the majority of pursuers in the 112 mile bike around the dream island. Only Frederik van Lierde and Brazilian, Igor Amorelli, were able to hold his pace. Michi was first into T2 with the fastest bike split, 4:17:45 hours – a new overall course record.
Weiss and van Lierde ran together for the first six miles of the marathon. "I felt really good at the beginning, but then came the heat hammer," Weiss said as he realized he’d have to pay tribute to the tropical conditions. “Physically speaking, it was a roller coaster run for me, constant ups and downs. I was struggling to stay in the top three, but I simply couldn’t hold it in the heat.” In the final run lap Michael dropped just back to fourth place behind the winner, van Lierde, and two Americans, including fellow Colorado resident, Chris Leiferman.
"It was still a great note to end on after a long, successful season,” he admits, now in off-season. "I'll stay at El Cozumeleno Beach Resort a few more days to recover from the hardships of the last days and weeks. But I’m already looking forward to 2017 racing and am confident that great things are coming!"