Just 3 weeks after his victory at Ironman 70.3 Campeche, Austrian professional triathlete, Michi Weiss, podiumed once again - his 12th podium in 14 races - by coming home in 3rd place at Ironman South Africa.
On race day, the swim which was held in Nelson Mandela Bay, was shortened from 3.8km to just 1.6km due to the extremely rough conditions in the Indian Ocean in the Port Elizabeth area that morning. The water temperature was 19C which therefore allowed for a wetsuit suit swim with Michi using his Blueseventy Helix wetsuit as usual. He had a very solid swim and exited the water just 4 minutes down on the lead swimmers.
The subsequent bike leg was a tough one. At 180km and with 1600m of elevation gain, the uber biker powered to his 4th successive fastest bikesplit of race, stopping the clock in T2 in a time of 4:24:18. His SRM power meter revealed that Michi's average power for the entire bike leg was a superb 328W and indeed the average for the first 90km loop had been 353W as he went for broke and gave everything to close the 4 minute gap between himself and the lead group of 9 athletes. Astonishingly, Inspite of putting out that kind of power for over 2 hours, Michi only gained 90 seconds on that front group - the only conclusion to draw from that is that they were certainly working rather well together - that much was obvious!
After a bike effort like that, the concern was that Michi would struggle on the run, in part because it was his first Ironman run of the year and would be a true test of the effectiveness of his winter preparation and thus the depth of his absolute endurance. He exited T2 in 6th place overall, 4 minutes behind the leader. By the halfway point Michi had got himself up into 3rd place and then held onto that position right to the finishline. The victory this time went to South Africa's Ben Hoffman for third time with the runner-up position being filled by Nils Frommhold of Germany. Michi posted a superb run split of 2:43:42 to take 3rd place overall, crossing the line with his beloved Austrian flag held high.
"I'm very pleased with today's performance and look forward to another Ironman in 3 weeks," said Weiss, who will be starting at Ironman Texas on April 27.
Photo: Dave Sullivan