Josh Amberger writes some of the best race reports. They are always honest and well written with plenty of information on how his race went.
This is his latest from Ironman 70.3 Muncie where he posted a second overall for another podium.
Muncie 70.3 wasn’t on my race calendar four weeks ago, and to be honest I never expected to return to the namesake town after I raced there two years ago. It was one of the most desolate race experiences I’ve ever had as the event was held in the middle of the heatwave. The earth was scored and the land was barren. The atmosphere, the vibe of the race has to be right for me to go deep, and mother nature didn’t present Muncie well the last time we met.
That being said, if the timing is right for a race, I will still show. Muncie fitted well as it has HyVee points attached (I didn’t make the first round of qualifications), and it was better to get a 70.3 out of the way a week earlier before I traveled back home, rather than travelling home straight off the 70.3 race course. I’m racing Kansas 5150 tomorrow and then travelling, which makes more sense (again, I need the HyVee points).
Straight up, my experience this time around in Muncie was fantastic. The climate was nice, the fields were green and my mind was in a great space after a successful training block. The course is fast, but not entirely flat. There was still gain on the bike and run to be found, though the run was certainly more challenging than the bike. The competition was tough but not deep, though I knew winning here was always going to be a challenge on two accounts. Arguably the best cyclist (on flatter courses) in the sport, and best runner in the sport (valid but I confess still moot) were both present. I would need to be on top of my game to conquer both Andrew Starykowicz and Lionel Sanders. If you haven’t heard of the latter athlete, get out of the gutter and pay attention!
The race plan was simple. Swim strong and at the front. Ride until Starky catches me then grit the teeth and see how long I can play, then run faster than he does, whether I’m behind or in front. Lionel has been cycling very inconsistently, but I knew that his bike leg was lethal enough to put him close behind and in striking distance for the run if he was having a good one.
The day started with a wetsuit swim in dangerous 24c/75f water temp (measured with the ‘WTC’ thermometer). This swim was all about trying to keep to a steady pace without overheating. As soon as the gun went I took my cap off and went about breaking things up. I was swapping leads with David Kahn until I make a push for the front at half way and stayed there. I could see the shore from 800m out, quietly teasing me while I baked in the reservoir. The water was warm and the core temperature much warmer.