Zipp News

Back 10.23.2017

Josh Amberger Makes Splash as Kona Rookie

Josh Amberger was motivated but relaxed before this month’s Ironman World Championship race. “It’s my rookie year, so it feels good,” the 28-year-old Australian said. “There’s no pressure on me.”

All Photos © BrakeThrough Media

Amberger is a longtime Zipp athlete’s who’s shifted his focus from 70.3 to full Ironman distance. He showed his potential to be an eventual Kona contender with a victory and course record at the Ironman Cairns Asia-Pacific Championship in June.  A blazing-fast swimmer, Amberger said he has led the pack out of the water in every race he’s competed in this year. 

In his first Kona race, he scorched the swim course, climbing out of the water with a time of 47:09. He’d go on to finish 29th among pro men. We caught up with him to wrap up his first Kona experience: 

What was it like to be first out of the water and lead the race?
It was cool to be first out of the water, but it was no a goal in and of itself. I was expecting some company up front from some other key athletes who could have formed a strong front group on the bike, but that never materialized. I got caught less than half way through the bike by the main players, so there was no macro effect on the race to have a fast solo swim. But it was fun to be racing off the front, and at the least, I hope it can inspire some athletes to work hard over the next 12 months on their swims so we can really shut the door on the slower swimmers who can still influence the race dramatically, albeit being so far back out of the water.

What did you learn from your Kona experience that you hope to bring back next year?
I learned that there really is no other event like Kona. The depth of the field has a massive impact that you don't see in other races. Yes, the best in the world are on the start line. But so are 40 other guys who plug a lot of holes on the swim and on the bike. I swam and rode at a career-best level, but still couldn't differentiate myself considerably from a long line of men who were swimming and riding smarter. Of course, I over-biked somewhat and didn't have the freshness left to go with the group from Hawi. I need to find a middle ground for next year that enables me to conserve more but still be aggressive and soften the front group up before the über bikers arrive from the rear. 

How did the 858NSWs wheels perform?
I was really impressive with the 858 NSWs. The switch from 808's earlier in the week was noticeable, and I was able to ride the relentless crosswinds to and from Hawi with confidence. I found they wound up a little quicker when acceleration was needed, and found the Cognition hubs stiff and responsive under load during key points of the course. 

You’ve also recently switched from the older Zipp Ski Tip Extension to the new You’ve switched to the Zipp Vuka Carbon Evo 110 extension. Why?

It’s everything I’m looking for in an extension. My hands are comfortable. I’m able to get really narrow on the arm pads. It’s really optimized my front end.

What Josh Rides

Wheels: Zipp® 858 NSW Carbon Clinchers
Aero cockpit: Zipp Vuka Aero with Zipp Vuka Carbon Evo 110 extensions
Shifters: SRAM® RED® eTap® Clics™ on extensions, eTap® Blips on base bar
Front derailleur: SRAM® RED® eTap®
Rear derailleur: SRAM® RED® eTap®
Cassette: SRAM RED XG-1190, 11-26
Chainrings: SRAM AERO, 55/42
Power: Quarq
Frame: Felt

 Follow @JoshAmberger on Twitter and @josh_amberger on Instagram