Michael Weiss made a strategic decision to race the Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl triathlon this Sunday rather than the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont-Tremblant. Challenge's half distance triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in the Tyrolean lowlands, holds a special history for the Austrian pro as he won the first edition in 2010 and went on to his best result in Kailua-Kona (13th overall).
"I now realized how many high profile triathlon events we have in Austria," Michael Weiss laughs after previewing the bike leg.
"I would have had a slot for the 70.3 World Championships in Canada, but when I listen to myself, Challenge was the right decision," the 33-year-old is looking forward to a "great opportunity to present myself again on home soil".
The photos of his Challenge success in 2010 are still displayed widely in Walchsee. "It was a great race with a great atmosphere topped with an unexpected victory!"
Walchsee is the last 'form check' leading up to the Ironman World Championships on October 11th. "The Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau was also a great confirmation on my shape and now after Walchsee I can confidently continue onto Kona." Michael's coach, Mario Huys (owner of a local training center) will also attend the race for support and to give additional pre-Kona recommendations.
Also undergoing a final test in Walchsee is Weiss's final seating position which he has invested a lot of attention and time to perfect. "I now feel much more comfortable in training, it works great. But competition and training are two different things," says the only Austrian professional in the Hawaii starting field.
The strongest competitors for the podium include the two-time 70.3 World Champion Michael Raelert of Germany (celebrating a comeback after nearly a year of injury); Ritchie Nichols from Great Britain; local pro Thomas Steger and the Italian Massimo Cigana who was second behind Weiss in 2010.
Regarding the high profile Ironman 70.3 Zell am See 2015 World Championships: "Next year the 70.3 World Championships in my home country is an absolute priority for me along with Hawaii!"