Top10 finish to kick off the season – you can have luck and bad luck, let’s take it like it is
The swim leg was reduced to about 800m due to a thunderstorm, which was basically good for Michi, but of course he would have preferred to take part in a full, regular IRONMAN distance!
After a good first discipline, he closed in on the leading group together with the Swede Rasmus Svenningsson. The cycling was generally very fair and under constant referee supervision.
After the first lap with over 330 watts average and lying in fifth position, Michi unfortunately had a flat tire. This was probably caused by glass splinters on the track in the Summer Beach start/finish area. The stop caused him to lose his rhythm. Two stops in total and using both his CO2 cartridges, unfortunately were not enough to repair the damage. It was Michi's first flat on tubeless, he had to remove the rear wheel and wait for an official motorcycle with a CO2 cartridge to continue then running the tubeless tire with a tube - trial and error, that's the game
He lost about twelve minutes in total as well as his flow and the sight of the leading group. Nevertheless, he was able to rebuild the adrenaline levels and continued to hunt for a top spot. He arrived at the second transition zone the after 4h30min on the bike (would have been about 4h18min without the puncture according to the SRM power meter).
Running was initially a big mental stress test in very humid, almost subtropical conditions but he fought his way through. After the retirement of some competitors in front of him and the re-overtaking of local hero Matty Trautman, Michi was able to make the Top10 finish certain. Finishing with 9th place in Nelson Mandela Bay is a very positive sign for the upcoming races this year.
Congratulations to the podium and to bike buddy Rasmus on sealing his 2023 World Championship slot!