Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie Pro Men’s Race Review

Amberger runs to his second victory here in Port Macquarie

There was no doubt that a real race was to be had at Port Macquarie with a field of five or six evenly matched guys turning up to race. Throw in a couple of potential surprises and a couple of guys with unknown form and the result was not a foregone conclusion.

There was no doubt in everyone’s mind that Josh Amberger was going to be the who everyone would be chasing all day. How the chasers were going to combat Amberger was the big question. There was no doubt that working together in a chasing pace line was going to be needed.

With a lead out of the swim of around 45sec Amberger got the expected jump on the field and now it was up to the chasers to get going.

With eight plus guys all hitting T1 at the same time there was enough fire power to amass a good pace line. for the first 45kms Casey Munro, Sam Appleton and David Mainwaring pulled a majority of the work and rode some big watts only to find that Amberger had put three minutes in to them in the first lap. It will be good to see some power files for the first lap and see what unfolded.

In the second lap Alex Reithmeier decided he was not going to hang around and boldly rode off on his own for the entire second lap. Munro, Appleton and Mainwaring decided to share the workload for a bit of the second lap after a couple of the others had dropped off. Reithmeier’s coach Peter Clifford from HPT mentioned to us on twitter that this is off the back of strong consistent training that is allowing Reithmeier to make these sort of decisions and back himself to go on with it.

Going forward the media (including Trizone) will be including Reithmeier in the ‘guys to beat’.

Recently back from his New York millionaires club Sam Douglas swum strongly as he does but dropped off the bike early on only to dig deep and make a decent comeback. He got back on to the chase pack and surprised the guys by carrying on to the front and pulling a turn after digging deep to get back on. This lasted until about 75kms when Douglas finally spent all his race dollars and wisely moved in to training mode. It is great to see Sam back on home soil and we are looking forward to seeing the big guy racing this summer.

Mainwaring was by now doing what he could to hang on to Casey Munro and Sam Appleton. Mainwaring is still relatively new at the long course game as is Appleton and Munro. building the miles in the legs takes years and he is not yet in to his season proper and therefore a bit behind the other main guys on the bike. He knew that he did not have 90kms at redline in his legs and the run would suffer.

Not helping Mainwaring was an off he had while heading back out on the second lap on the descent at Matthew Flinders. He crashed in to the barriers, smashed his hip, grazed his arm and managed to get a swollen left thumb.

Amongst the chase pace line was the seasoned campaigner Brad Kahlefeldt was is the most seasoned campaigner racing and knew what he had to do to get the job done.

From all accounts the chase pack was fair with the only remarks around the sharing of the work load but they weren’t complaining remarks. To be fair the guys not taking their share were most likely biting their bars and hanging on for dear life to the faster guys in the group as they tried in vain to reel Amberger in on the first lap. There is nothing written in the rules that says someone has to take a turn at the front of a pace line. The guys know this but still get a bit frustrated at times with some who use the drag that you still get at 12m to aid their run. Always a tough one and the young guys need to learn how to play the same game. Or just swim off the front and ride in to the sunset.

On to the run and possibly one of the most naturally talented runners in the field David Mainwaring had spent all his run dollars on the bike. At 500m in to the run Mainwaring was struggling and along with the rest of the pack watched Kahlefeldt sprint off in to the distance in pursuit of Alex Reithmeier and the leader Josh Amberger.

Mainwaring and Appleton yoyo’d for a few kms with both passing and making comebacks before Appleton got the upper hand. Casey Munro had also passed Mainwaring and with a few back and forths taking place.

Appleton and Mainwaring know each other well from their junior ITU days and will have some battles in the future over this distance as they both get their recipes sorted. As they will with Casey Munro as well. Munro was a talented junior triathlete before focusing on a professional cycling career. Munro is now back in the sport he started with and building his swim and run legs back up.

Just behind these leading guys was Michael Fox. Fox and Douglas spent a few years having some great battles in the NSW triseries and the Kurnell Sprint Series. Both are strong swimmers and will always be in a good position in every race to capitalise on this.

Mainwaring came in to the shop on the Monday after race day walking with the aid of a walking stick. He had strained a tendon in his hip that was giving him some grief. He said that at 500m in to the run on Sunday he knew he was going to struggle and did all day. Mainwaring still has some work to do to get the miles in to his legs to be able to run the sort of run he can off the bike. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the fastest natural runners in the game and is currently sitting around the 30min mark for 10kms and we saw his 1:14 at Challenge Gold Coast recently off a 40km bike.

Likewise Appleton and Munro are also building their long course careers and miles. This wave of young guys will be difficult to beat in 2-3 years on the international stage.

With the race coming to a close Kahlefeldt had devastated the field on the run and was running down Amberger like a steam train. Eventually he ran out of road and Amberger held on by 33seconds to take his second win in a row at Port Macquarie. Alex Reithmeier held on to a solid third with Sam Appleton 4th, Casey Munro 5th, David Mainwaring 6th and Michael Fox in 7th.






Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.