It has been exactly one week since professional triathlete, Michael Weiss, received the 'green light' from surgeon, Dr. Weinstein, to resume his swim training. The Austrian has not been able to swim for the last three months after undergoing surgery for a fractured lateral collarbone with an AC grade 5 separation sustained in a crash at Ironman 70.3 Campeche in March.
Although the rehabilitation has been ahead of schedule since day one, it was still uncertain how Michil's first full strokes in the water would go and it was not a guarantee that he would be able to swim normally without pain.
The three-time Ironman champion reflects enthusiastically: "Throughout my recovery I've been surrounded by an amazing support team and always kept high spirits and never lost faith - even when confronted by the idea that I may not be able to swim with a plate in my shoulder at all...It is a huge relief to say that I am swimming again after hundreds of hours of physical therapy, light therapy, Active Release Techniques and specific strength training."
Many of Michi's travel and race plans were cancelled following the injury and Ironman Austria seemed out of reach - until now! He just booked his European flight and confirmed that he will start at his home race, Ironman Austria in Klagenfurt.
"My home race was always on my schedule, but if you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have smiled at you, saying 'no way', 'not possible'. But today, with some successful swims completed and a flight booked I can happily say that I will return to Klagenfurt in race mode. I don't have high expectations for my race overall, but just completing the 2.4 mile swim will be a victory for me."
Another exciting aspect is that he will be riding the Diamondback Andean triathlon bike on home soil for the first time. The American bike company, based in Kent, WA, will present in the race expo area at both Ironman Austria and Challenge Roth for introducing their revolutionary Andean on Europe's biggest triathlon stages.
Depending on the experience in Klagenfurt, Weiss will decide the next steps in racing plans. Currently he has lined up Ironman Lake Placid on July 23rd, which puts Austria in a race 'warm-up' category. "I have to ask my fans, friends, followers and of course all the supportive spectators for some patience with me on race day. It's going to be a long day for me with strong competition - including the current 2-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno. I will give everything I can after only two weeks of swimming (and seven weeks of running). My ultimate goal is to qualify for Kona and Ironman Austria will be a stepping stone."
Michi is going into the race with a strong bike foundation and hopes for a solid run after finishing a hilly road race in Colorado - the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile - in 56:49 just ten days ago. And the plate? If it doesn't cause any problems as hoped and expected, it will stay "built in" until off-season and will get removed with a minor surgery in December, Michi's training-free month. The few additional grams in his shoulder shall be compensated with Austrian power!