SA’s Bradley Weiss aims for global triathlon glory
A severe left leg bone injury sustained during a competition earlier this year meant that the 30-year-old would have to do something he simply hates: sit at home and recover from his injury.
“It was a very testing period and I will admit to struggling emotionally with the injury. It definitely tested my patience,” Weiss said.
After an amazing start to the year, in which he dominated the local scene by winning both the Ironman 70.3 championships as well as the Xterra Championships, and two major events in Taiwan, Weiss feared his sporting year may very well be over.
Today, however, the Stellenbosch-born athlete is finally able to crack a smile.
With his leg healed, South Africa’s Ironman can finally return to action for the remainder of his 2019 season.
In a week’s time, he will be jetting off to the Czech Republic to compete at the Challenge Prague event, a middle-distance triathlon on-road race, followed by the Xterra European Championships also in the Czech Republic, and then the Ironman 70.3 Augusta, Georgia, in the US.
Then, there’s the one Weiss has been looking forward to all year: the 70.3 half Ironman World Championships in Nice, France, in September.
It’s one of the biggest competitions for triathletes and includes a 1.9km swim in the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea, a 90km bike course through villages and mountains in Nice and then a 21km run along the Promenade des Anglais.
It’s a challenge Weiss is relishing. “For the entire year, this has been my focus. I’ve been a triathlete for around eight years and the majority of the time I have raced Xterra, which is an off-road triathlon, however over the last two seasons I’ve transitioned into the on-road racing side .
“It is a more lucrative business, and it’s a bigger sport within the triathlon world so it was a natural progression to start racing more on-road especially in this distance.”
Having won the half Ironman in South Africa and also in Taiwan this year, Weiss fancies his chances at the world championships.
“It will be an incredibly strong field but it’s on a course that really suits me well.”
Weiss knows, however, that he has his work cut out. “Preparing for a world championship race takes months of continuous consistency in training and avoiding injuries and sickness.
“A big part of it is also what you eat - making sure you stay on top of your nutrition requirements, not staying out too late, not drinking alcohol, having a clean and healthy diet, and replacing all the calories and nutrients you are burning off throughout the day ... You can’t allow one ball to drop otherwise you won’t get out what you potentially could.”
Despite kicking off his career as a professional triathlete at the late age of 19 - many start competing by the age of 7 or 8 - Weiss has racked up medals.
“The most important characteristic of a successful triathlete is being diligent and consistent in training.
“It’s not about producing these crazy impressive one day sessions that people love to do and show off on social media.
“It is about showing up every day and being accountable for your particular programme and whatever race you are preparing for.”
While Weiss is grateful for the support he receives as a triathlete, he does believe triathletes in the country, and elsewhere globally, deserve more recognition.
“This is a bit of a touchy subject for triathletes. We would love to get more exposure, but unfortunately it’s just a small sport. However the growth of social media has really helped us grow our platform as athletes.
“It’s positive and encouraging when you do see great athletes getting the exposure and respect they deserve.”
Weiss will end off his year competing at the Xterra World Championships in Maui in Hawaii in October, before returning home to compete at the Cape Challenge.