Having already taken the top step of the podium on the beautiful Mexican island of Cozumel on two previous occasions, winning Ironman Cozumel in 2013 and 2014, it was with genuine pride that the athlete from Gumpoldskirchen took victory at 70.3 Cozumel 2018. As always, Michi made optimal use of his location for some great training sessions in the days leading up to the race in the stunning state of Quintana Roo and was able to relax and recover really well at what is something of a home from home now, the superb El Cozumeleño Beach Resort.
The swim start was at 0650 local time from Chankanaab Beach and look place in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea where the water temperature is a consistent 28C and thus Michi's Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin was required rather than the wetsuit. Whereas the Ironman swim leg is a point-to-point affair, the 70.3 course requires three 90 degree turns to be negotiated over the 1.9km distance.Michi exited the water in 23:36 which was a new personal best time and, most importantly, meant that the gap to the leaders was minimal.
Once out of T1 and onto the bike leg, Michi was hunting down the groups ahead, albeit on wet roads due to a heavy downpour just before the race start. Nevertheless, he rode with smooth and very controlled power delivery, no doubt aided by his SRM powermeter, up until he caught and then overtook the big group ahead with a decisive attack at around the 25km mark. Just 10km further up the road and now really flying on his Diamondback Andean shod with the latest HED Jet9 wheels, Michi caught the lead duo of Wild and Butterfield and was soon able to put clear air between himself and these two strong athletes. "The 90km bike really hurt today, because the road is basically completely flat and I never really had the chance to recover after launching those attacks, but I was able to throttle back slightly on the windy side of the island where I could carry good speed and then I just put my head down and pushed on, but in that last 30km or so I was really careful not to touch the white lines or the potholes in the road which can become a problem especially in the more built up areas like San Miguel (The capital of Cozumel) and in some places the water level was really deep which was a bit scary!", explains the now 4 times 70.3 champion. Nevertheless, Michi was at the front of the race as he arrived into T2, clocking a new bike course record of 2:00:52 and averaging 350W in the process.
The run leg was a hot one as Michi says, "It has never been so hot here, I wondered several times, if I could make it to the finish, but somehow I did!”. Not only did Michi finish but he clocked a solid1:18:50 for the 21.1km course giving him an overall race time of 3:47:14 which was just over 2 minutes ahead of Colorado based athlete, Tyler Butterfield. Rounding out the podium was young local hero Alan Carrillo, 5 minutes back.
"I'm overjoyed to finally win 70.3 Cozumel, and today's competition was a great test and final race preparation ahead of the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in less than two weeks,” says a very motivated and excited Miguel Blanco (Spanish translation for Michael Weiss)!