The Pre-race Practices and Habits of our Pros: Josh Amberger
by Josh Amberger and Chris Bagg
Ed. Note—We launch the Josh Amberger Limited Edition WarMaster Collection today, and there's no better time to grab a few seconds with the Australian Wattie Ink. Pro to talk about some of the habits and practices that put him at the top of the sport. Amberger is fast, multifaceted, and funny—if you haven't read his race report from 70.3 World Championships, stop what you're doing and read it now.
Pre-race routine—do you have a set schedule you do every morning before a race?
With all our races being early starts, I'm pretty much waking up as late as possible, whilst still giving enough time to get a feed, a sit down coffee and a couple (a few is ideal!) of toilet stops before I leave to get down to transition at least 75mins before the start. Basically, it's get up and go to do what needs to be done, no time for routine!
Is there something you do in racing or training that you view as sacred but someone else might think of as strange? Would you mine sharing it with us?
Actually, there's a lot of things that I don't do that people would probably think are strange. I don't really keep much of a routine in training, I have a general idea of what key sessions I want to do for the week or the fortnight, and then plan other training around these sessions day by day. I don't try to ever hit any totals volumes or total hours, or have scheduled day off, it's a complete day by day feel approach to training. If I wake up and feel I need a day off, I'll take it. If I wake up and feel good, I might do extra training that what I've got planned. A lot of athletes or coaches want to map things out very rigidly, but I've done that before and don't really respond to it. If I'm too structured with my training, I often end up training in a perfunctory state with no purpose to the sessions that I'm doing.
Piece of gear/purchase (other than big ticket items such as bikes/wheels) that you couldn’t live without—doesn’t have to be racing/training related:
I can't travel anywhere without my coffee equipment. That includes beans, grinder, scales and aeropress. I'm 100% self-reliant for my daily coffee rituals when travelling, and I couldn't have it any other way!
Book/movie/music you have recommended most to others and why:
No one ever really wants to know about what music I'd recommend, because my tastes aren't fitting into anything that's considered normal. But if you're into extreme metal, I'm most happy to offer some recommendations to my taste. I'm always recommending any film works by David Lynch, he's got a film for each one of my moods, and I can watch all his stuff over and over. Again, not the most accessible artist! Books; probably On the Trail of Ghengis Khan was the last book I recommended someone read. That's about an Aussie who traveled on horseback for three years from Mongolia to Hungary, following the routes of the old nomadic peoples. That was fascinating.
The most important thing you’ve changed in your approach to the sport in the last eighteen months:
I've come to a greater understanding of what my body is capable of, and what it's not capable of. That's an obvious advantage in training, in knowing what not to do. It's a great advantage also for knowing how much I can do in absorbing workloads, and actually progressing from it. But most importantly, I'm learning how to not exceed my own abilities in races. I've always been the kind of racer who wants to race at the front, thinking it's the only way to win a race. But most often, it means I'm way out of my comfort zone and end up burning matches too quickly. It's totally unrealistic that I'm going to win or podium in every race I ever do, so I'm becoming okay with the thought of letting races go down the road if the pace is not sustainable for me.
Interested in checking out the new kit? See the design above on Josh, and below, fresh off the sewing room floor in Vista, California.