Sam Appleton has trained the house down in Kona and is now ready for Ironman 70.3 Geelong

With Ironman 70.3 Geelong just a week away, we caught up with Sam Appleton to chat about the race and get his predictions for next Sunday.

“It’s the first race of the year, and I’m feeling ready. I’ll probably get a bit more anxiety as I get closer to the race,” Appleton told Trizone. The young Aussie, now based in Boulder, has been at a training camp in Kona, Hawaii, and will be travelling south for the IRONMAN Geelong 70.3 race next weekend. “Whether I’m race fit is a different story, but Geelong 70.3 isn’t the end goal for me anyway. It’s just a stepping stone,” he said.

While ‘Appo’ sounds fairly laid back about the upcoming race, he’s been training hard in Kona and has his sights set on the podium. “I’m definitely not finishing second to Berks (Tim Van Berkel),” he emphasised. “That’s not OK! I’m really looking forward to getting out there and getting the first run on the board for 2017.”

Sam Appleton’s Kona camp lead up to Geelong

Already halfway to Australia from his home base in Boulder, Sam Appleton is race ready thanks to his squad training camp in Kona. “The camp has been a really good launching pad into the event,” said Sam. “It’s been a solid two weeks to build my fitness. The weather is much nicer in Kona than Boulder too!” Sam laughs. “Today I rode for 4.5 hours. It wasn’t fun but it was a lot easier in good weather.”

Kona is a tough place for training, and Appleton has been working hard. We asked him what a typical training day looks like. “We’ve been doing building hill reps,” he explained. “Then I did 2 x 20 minute TT’s on the flat after I’d already ridden for over three hours. Then we got off the bike and did a 30 minute run with specific 70.3 run (like a Fartlek session) It was only 30 minutes, but it certainly wasn’t easy running! Then we finished with a 2km recovery swim to get the blood flowing.”

And it doesn’t end there. “Then we backed it up the next day with a longer endurance run and swim, with a recovery ride in the afternoon. That was lower stress but more endurance-based.”

It’s clear from the intensity of his training camp, Sam Appleton will be a key player at Geelong 70.3.

Sam Appleton’s new custom race suit

Appleton has changed up his sponsors in the past few weeks, and he’s excited about the new additions. “Wattie Ink is my apparel sponsor now,” he said. “Since I’m based in the US now, working with Wattie is something I can do more personally. His personality and branding is something I’ve been into for a while.”

Sam enters very impressive company, including Wattie Ink team members Josh Amberger and Kona World Championship regular Heather Jackson.

Geelong 70.3 will also be the first time we’ll see Appleton’s new custom race suit. “We are looking forward to working with @samappo this season. We are in the process of manufacturing him a super fast custom race suit,” Wattie Ink commented on Instagram. All eyes will be on Appo as he gets to T1!

Appleton steps into the spotlight

Apparel isn’t the only change in Appleton’s support crew. “I’m not racing for the Bahrain Endurance Team for 2017,” said Sam. “That has run its course.” Appleton is backing himself for 2017, and stepping up from behind the shadows. “I’m excited to build my own brand, and create my own image. I don’t want to be just another guy who races for Bahrain in a red kit. I think it’s going to be really good for me.” said Appleton.

Loyal sponsors are still supporting Appleton for 2017 though. “I’m still on board with Giant, and Fast Forward is my wheel company. And I’m sponsored by Roka for swimming apparel,” said Appleton.

Sam Appleton’s predictions for Geelong 70.3

After placing second at Geelong 70.3 in 2015, Sam Appleton knows a thing or two about this race, and even he’s impressed with the pro line up. “38 male pros, that’s quite a lot!” Appleton said. “It’s one of the strongest fields I’ve ever seen at a race in Australia. Geelong has always had a strong field. It’s a well-run race. It’s a bit prestigious to wine Geelong,” he told Trizone.

Swim predictions for Geelong 70.3

With prestige and a strong start to the year in mind, countless pros are key contenders for the podium, and Appleton knows it. “There are plenty of really strong swimmers this year. There’s Amberger, Clayton Fettell, Dan Wilson and Jake Montgomery. They’ll all be at the front of the swim pack.”

Bike and Run predictions for Geelong 70.3

As we all know, athletes winning the swim aren’t guaranteed a spot on the podium. “There are great guys who will come from behind later in the race,” said Appleton. “Tim Berkel is a great rider and runner. Cyril Viennot is also a strong athlete. Then there’s Todd Skipworth who can swim, bike and run, he’s a solid all-round athlete. There are probably five or six guys who could easily win on the day,” said Sam Appleton.

Will Sam Appleton be on the podium?

“If I swim well, I should be up there. I’d be disappointed with anything less than a podium,” Sam told Trizone. After such a heavy training load to his Kona camp, we’re sure Appo and his new custom Wattie Ink racing suit will be in the top three next Sunday.

Check back into Trizone soon to get more predictions from Geelong 70.3 pros before the big race.

Shawn Smith

A cyclist and tech geek at heart with a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of Australia's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.