For Boulder-based (US) Sydneysider Sam Appleton, 2019 may not have gotten off to a rocky start, but the 29-year-old pro from the Panthers Tri Club is making the most of the second half of the season. Even if, he’s not thoroughly satisfied with his latest result.
“Some days I am happy with the race, and other days I am not,” Appleton told Triathlon NSW following his top 10 finish (eighth) at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France won by Norwegian Gustav Iden last week.
“I think that's part of our nature as professional athletes. Always analysing our performances and wondering what we could have done better.
“There were some crucial moves made in the race that I was not able to go with, and that 'what if' feeling has been plaguing me a little since the race,” he continued. “Overall, I think I put down a good solid performance, but I am always wanting more out of myself.”
Appleton won his third straight Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa — fourth in five years dating back to his inaugural win in 2015 — back in July. It was a race bookended on the podium by fellow TNSW pro and 2016 70.3 world champion Tim Reed (Ballina Tri Club).
What’s more impressive, is that Appleton continued his hot-streak in the race formerly known as Vineman despite having suffered a broken collarbone in April. The injury resulted in a late start for Appleton, who normally packs five to six races under his belt before the world champs.
“Of course I want to win the 70.3 World Championships, but at a race like that, with so many of the world’s best, I try not to focus on position,” admitted Appleton. “I am more intrinsically motivated, and if I can get the best out of myself on race day, and race to my potential, I am happy with that, regardless of position.
“If I race to the best of my ability, I know I would be vying for one of the top position, so that takes care of itself.”
Appleton says he is currently in the process of finalising his racing schedule for the remainder of the year 2019, but that he does have a few plans a perhaps a surprise included at the end of the year. However, he was mum on the details.
As for next year, the main objective is a return to the 70.3 Worlds — this time to be held in Taupo, New Zealand — as well as continuing to hone his craft as one of the triathlon’s very best.
“For 2020, l I just want to keep racing and keep improving,” he claimed. “The sport is getting so competitive and the bar is getting lifted every year. I need to keep evolving and keep improving if I want to move with the sport — that’s my main goal.
“If I keep improving I know the results will take care of themselves.”