Following a four-week high volume training block at altitude in Colorado Springs, pro triathlete, Michael Weiss, headed to the island of Cozumel, Mexico. The heat and humidity offered a perfect opportunity to prepare for the upcoming Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and 70.3 Cozumel on September 24th would be the final lead-up race.
"I don't like to call a competition a "training race," but I definitely went into Sunday's half Ironman without any specific preparation/sessions or tapering. I toed the line of this race pretty beat up, therefor I kept my expectations realistic."
Normal race conditions welcomed the 70.3 Cozumel participants on Sunday September 24th. Michael completed the 1.2-mile ocean swim in 25:41 without any pain or discomfort, a huge accomplishment after surgery for a collarbone fracture and AC-joint dislocation sustained earlier in the spring.
"My shoulder still has the metal plate bolted in place, so I suppose you can call me a real "iron man." The plate connects my collarbone and acromion (part of the shoulder blade) and must be surgically removed in the offseason. Initially, the doctor was unsure if I would be able to swim with the plate inside, so it's a great relief to be here racing."
Compared to Michael's consistently strong bike performances, it was an unusual sub-average day for him on the bike. "I had no power from the beginning of the 56-mile ride. I felt flat all the way and just kept on trucking aboard my Diamondback Andean. My coaches and I were aware of that there will be some residual fatigue from all those long rides and runs over the last month and that I would feel it on the bike, but still it was pretty unexpected."
Coming into T2 Weiss stayed focused and confident that he could deliver a solid run. "The half marathon went better than ever before in training," he said. "Although the heat and humidity factor certainly were an added challenge." It turned out to be one of Michael's best runs in Kona-like conditions (01:17:37), giving him a big confidence boost going into the Ironman World Championship.
Michael finished 5th overall in 03:57:32. The win going to Terenzo Bozzone, followed by Matt Chrabot and Mauricio Mendez (last year's winner).
"To sum it up, 70.3 Cozumel was not the result and bike performance I was really hoping for," Weiss admits. "In hindsight, I should not have expected much more given my recent racing and training condition. After some reflection, it was likely just the right effort needed 20 days before Kona."
Michael will spend ten more days at El Cozumeleño Beach Resort before heading to Kona. "My coaches and I know that once rested up, I will be able to deliver again on the bike and show my biggest strength as I do in the majority of triathlons. The key will be to stay focused and cool at the same time, trusting in my training and abilities."