This was the first time in his career that Michi Weiss rocked up to an Ironman startling twice within a two week period. Having achieved 10th at the Ironman World Championships and then, just a month later taking his third overall win at IM Cozumel, Michi still felt fit and not overly fatigued and so decided to try to squeeze out every last bit of this season's great run of form by also racing the Ironman South American Championship. As Michi says, "Even before I arrived in Cozumel, I thought of a double start. If I'm already in Mexico, why not shoot down to Argentina? An alternative would have been IM 70.3 Bahrain, which required significantly more travel and jet lag. I weighed the risks and was aware that going to the Ironman Mar del Plata would only make sense if I came out of the Ironman Cozumel healthy, injury free and both physically and mentally still fresh. I was, so I went. It was a good decision!"
After a few days of rest at the El Cozumeleño Beach Resort, including "vacation days" on the Riviera Maya in all the adventure and water parks, Michi traveled to Mar del Plata, via Cancun and Buenos Aires. On arrival, it was clear that the conditions were going to be challenging. It was cooler than expected with choppy swim course and low water temperature of around 14C/57F. Taken together with just 10C/50F air temperature on race morning, the swim was reduced from 3.8km to a 1.5km course. A shorter swim is always good for Weiss as the first discipline is not his best. As he points out, "When it was announced at 5am while we were making last minute preparations in the transition zone, I saw immediately that many of my competitors were annoyed or disappointed, of course I smiled to myself because I knew this was going to play into my hands."
In his BlueSeventy Helix neoprene, Michi got out of the water in a solid 22:24. "It was very choppy, so you often could not see the buoys anymore, and in T1, my fingers were so frozen that I almost couldn't close the zipper of my LeXXi Smartsuit!" Notes Weiss.
Weiss caught the first large group containing Hanson and De Elias very quickly. From that point on it was just a case of riding hard, attacking decisively when required and then just using his SRM PowerControl8 to ensure that he stayed on the gas but did not stray into the red zone for too long while passing the likes of Tim O'Donnell, Andy Potts or last years' winner, Matt Chrabot.
A detailed analysis of Michi's bike performance can be found on www.srm.de Many thanks to Coach Garth Fox!
After posting a new bike course record of 4:14:19 for the 180km course Michi hit T2 with a 7 minute lead over the field. Michi always tends to feel good when running off the bike and here was no exceptions as he clocked 00:17:40 for the first 5km of the marathon although as Much states, "The marathon felt harder this time, because Ironman Cozumel was still in my legs,". Nevertheless, he controlled the race and with a running time of 2:49:11 he let himself celebrate on the home straight, waving the Austrian flag, before he crossed the finish line in 7:30:23 to take his 7th overall Ironman victory.
"I can't believe it, doing 2 Ironman competitions in two weeks is one thing, but to win both is just amazing," says Michi. Has that ever been achieved by another professional athlete? We think not!
Photo: Andre Mac Micking