Josh Amberger had a big task defending his IronmanÂ 70.3 title inÂ Port Macquarie just over a week ago. He had some very fast runnersÂ on the start line with him andÂ he was going to have to swim and rideÂ at his best to take the win. Josh always writes great race reports and here is his report from Port Macquarie. He is honest andÂ insightful and it is worth a few minutes of your time. Read on…
For me, racing this time of year is always hard. I’m bouncing from race to race in attempt to wring out every last drop of performance out of the body. As a professional early on in my career, I think it’s the only way to go about my business if I want to continue on some sort of linear progression in terms of exposure, strong bonds with my sponsors and general opportunity in the sport. The years’ worth of training is still there driving me forward, but the body is getting tired. Race, recover, train a little & race. That’s what it’s pretty much all about from World’s until late November. December is the month for rest.
Without having won a 70.3 this season, I came to Port Macquarie in anticipation of defending my title from 2013 on a course that I know suits me. The race has been won on the bike in the last five editions; with me the past two, Clayton Fettell the two before that and then Joe Gambles before him. If my bike shape was good, a repeat win was always likely. I had proven bike fitness in my last three races, with World’s in Mont Tremblant, the Beijing International and Philippines 5150. I had seen in my previous two weeks of training since the Philippines that my bike form was carrying through so I was confident going in to Port.
The course in Port is great. It’s a nice swim through a shallow salt water estuary. You’re cutting tangents in and out of yachts to the buoys which keeps it interesting, and also kept me very reliant on the lead kayaker. Sighting this one cold turkey would be hard yakka. After getting out of the water & the wetsuit, it’s off onto a two lap gander on the bike over classic rough rural roads. I like to break this course into two sections; the first hilly coastal section, then the rough and flat dead road out to Lake Cathie. At this point you drop a u-turn and head back the same way. After a net descent on the bike the last 10 minutes, you hit T2 and get in the shoes for another two lap course, mostly flat but exposed to wind and a climb up from the lovely breakwall at the mouth of the Hastings River.