Sunday November 26th marked the 9th edition of Ironman Cozumel. For Michael Weiss, SRM's Pro Triathlete, it was his fifth year racing the full distance Ironman in Mexico. With two wins, a third and fourth place finish on the island, he was confident in wrapping up the 2017 season strongly.
Race morning brought typical Cozumel conditions; hot, humid, and windy, and ~1,800 participants lined up for the 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 marathon run.
Weiss pushed through the point-to-point swim, feeling only slight discomfort from the metal plate in his shoulder (due to fractured collarbone repair earlier this year) in 44:56 and started the bike approximately three and a half minutes behind the main group.
Once the three loop, 112 mile bike leg was underway he began to move up through the field on the Diamondback Andean. Staying on pace with SRM, Michi managed to ride into second position, posting the second fastest bike split of the day, 4:12:57 - which was also almost five minutes faster than the bike course record he set last year!
Michael completed the bike and entered T2 with a six minute gap to leader, Sebastian Kienle, and a comfortable buffer of around nine minutes to the next group including Stefan Schmid and Ivan Raña.
The run was a hot and flat three loops, totaling 26.2 miles along the island coast. Michael kept a consistent pace and ran one of his best marathons with heat considered, in 2:50:47.
Weiss finished second overall (behind Sebastian Kienle) and set a new Ironman Personal Record of 7:53:27 which was largely due to a stellar bike performance.
Coach Garth Fox shares some insights into Michael's Cozumel 2017 bike where he delivered his overall highest race watts, 316W (323NP), of the Cozumel series (5 races between 2013-2017).
Stripping out Michi's 2015 performance of 291W when he had stomach issues before the race, the average over the other 4 races was 310W, this years 316W is within normal error but average speed has risen over the years for similar watts though which highlights improvement somewhere in the aero package - position or bike or both. Bottomline he needs slightly less watts to go the same speed now versus 5 years ago. Here we have his SRM race file overview:
Michael averaged 329W for the first 3hrs, during which he rode a 10 minute segment at nearly 400 Normalized Power (383 average watts) as he caught and passed the main group. Clearly he felt good and had fresh legs. In the last hour of the bike Michi's average power was 18% lower than the previous 3hrs (277W vs. 329W). A combination of fading after a massive 3 hour effort and in the last hour the temperature hit 28C (average in first 3hrs was 25C) and this has historically been a threshold temperature for Michi when, in combination with building fatigue, a significant performance decline occurs.
Here is a closer look at his 10 minute effort, earlier in the bike, when he made the attack and broke away from the main group. Michael hit his max power (617W) and max speed (57kph) in this section:
Cadence average 82-83rpm over the whole bike leg which was the lowest average I have seen from him whilst still producing watts at the top of his performance range - lowest cadence/highest watts - which just shows how good his legs felt, not carrying residual fatigue from a Kona marathon.
Michael's bike performance was the key to his Cozumel success this year. It was expertly paced and combined with strategy led him to second place overall and a new Ironman Personal Record. Congrats, Michael, and thank you for sharing this performance data with us.