COVER STORY:

David Chick, 47, gears up to put him­self to the ul­ti­mate test

Life & Style Weekend - - INSIDE TODAY - BY Layne Whit­burn

Age is an is­sue of mind over mat­ter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t mat­ter. For lo­cal triath­lete David Chick, em­bark­ing on a 1.9km ocean swim, 90km cy­cle and 21.1km run in the Mooloolaba IRON­MAN 70.3 World Cham­pi­onships at age 47 isn’t a mat­ter. He says it’s all about the mind.

“Go­ing into the race that’s prob­a­bly the area that I’m think­ing about most,” he said.

“You can be as fit as you like and be as tal­ented as you like… but it’s go­ing to come down to be­ing a bit of a mind game and be­ing well and truly di­alled in when you’re there to per­form.

“If you can’t pro­duce it (the mind) on the day then you’re re­ally not go­ing to get the best re­sult that you’re af­ter.”

David’s wise ap­proach comes from years of ex­pe­ri­ence. As a fresh 24-year-old, he made his de­but at the 1993 Hawai­ian IRON­MAN World Cham­pi­onships.

Fast for­ward over two decades, a mar­riage, two kids, a move to the Sun­shine Coast and a suc­cess­ful sport ap­parel busi­ness, David is hooked back on the triathlon bug.

“Up un­til last year I hadn’t been back, so it had been about 20 years. But this one is one you don’t want to miss when it’s in your home town. It’s a lot eas­ier to get to when it’s in Mooloolaba,” he said.

“It’s awe­some hav­ing it here. The im­pact for the area is re­ally huge.

“When you have peo­ple spend­ing money in the area and peo­ple com­ing with them, it’s go­ing to have a ma­jor eco­nomic im­pact on the area for sure.”

Owner of Allez Sport Mooloolaba, David is feel­ing the im­pact first-hand.

“Ob­vi­ously with the triathlon in town we will be very busy work wise so I can’t sort of sit back and rest up to the de­gree that I would like to be­cause it’s our prime time to ser­vice ev­ery­one who’s here,” he said.

Run­ning a busi­ness isn’t David’s only com­mit­ment. Husband to Lu­cia and fa­ther to Ben, 8, and Kate, 6, it’s fair to say David has a lot on his plate with or with­out train­ing for a world cham­pi­onship.

“When I was sin­gle with no kids and not run­ning a busi­ness I had a lot more time to ded­i­cate to triathlons,” he said.

“I wasn’t re­stricted to the same de­gree with time pres­sures and fam­ily com­mit­ments that I would be th­ese days.

“So I have to get up far ear­lier to get things done.”

Set­ting an ear­lier alarm isn’t the only change this fam­ily man has made.

“I think as you get older as an ath­lete or even just in general, the older you get the more you have to pay at­ten­tion to the diet be­cause your body just doesn’t re­spond the same way as it used to,” he said.

“It’s more dif­fi­cult to re­tain the right weight to race and it’s eas­ier for it to bal­loon out if you’re not pretty care­ful about what you’re putting into your mouth.

“I pay a lot more at­ten­tion to the vol­ume that I eat and also the sorts of foods that I have. I try and limit al­co­hol con­sump­tion as well.

“Lit­tle things all add up to big re­sults. It’s im­por­tant if you can con­cen­trate on those lit­tle things it helps you over­all.”

De­spite his smart train­ing and diet tweaks, it’s David’s life ex­pe­ri­ences that bring a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to rac­ing.

“I want to spend as much time with my fam­ily too. I don’t want to be away all the time train­ing and miss­ing out on fam­ily things,” he said.

“They give you bal­ance as well and keep things in per­spec­tive. It’s just a sport. Ul­ti­mately it’s just a pas­time, I don’t earn a liv­ing out of it.

“So don’t take it too se­ri­ously.”

That be­ing said, David is a se­ri­ous com­peti­tor with a se­ri­ous goal. Af­ter his Hawai­ian come­back last year, fol­lowed by a few races on Aus­tralian soil, David is aim­ing for a top-five rank­ing com­ing into to­mor­row’s race at Mooloolaba.

It’s such a big triathlon fra­ter­nity up here... It’s just the per­fect life­style to train and be fit.

“You spend a lot of time, more or less, fairly fa­tigued from the ses­sions that you’re do­ing. So you’ve got to try and strike a bal­ance be­tween fresh­en­ing up for the event so that you’re ready to give ev­ery­thing you can on the day. But at the same time if you cut it all back too much then you’ll find that you get a bit slug­gish,” he said.

“If you ta­per it for a few races you have a bit of an idea of how your body re­sponds to that ta­per­ing process.

“I did the Hawaii IRON­MAN last year and didn’t quite get the ta­per right I think. So that prob­a­bly im­pacted the re­sult.

“It’s pretty easy to not get it right.”

Luck­ily David’s ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of his own body is now spot on the mark.

“Gen­er­ally I’ve found that I’m bet­ter so sus­tain a fairly high level of train­ing. The week be­fore, I start to bring the dis­tances back.

“Your body is used to be­ing driven and be­ing pushed and when you stop do­ing that you find it can re­act in a dif­fer­ent way than you like.

“I’ve had a pretty good lead-up to Mooloolaba. And ob­vi­ously be­ing your own boss you can to some ex­tent man­age to get a bit of time here and there to fit some ses­sions in.”

Not only does run­ning a sport ap­parel shop give David some flex­i­bil­ity in his work­ing hours but also pro­vides a boost of in­spi­ra­tion.

“We’ve got a lot of mo­ti­vated peo­ple com­ing into the store and that cer­tainly helps you stay fo­cused,” he said.

“There is al­ways some­body train­ing for some­thing and they are com­ing in and you get in­spired just by what they are do­ing.”

David said mov­ing to the Sun­shine Coast in 2006 was an­other big con­trib­u­tor to­wards find­ing mo­ti­va­tion.

“It’s such a big triathlon fra­ter­nity up here, there’s just so many peo­ple that do it. It’s just the per­fect life­style to train and be fit,” he said.

“We’ve got lack of traf­fic and re­ally good road con­di­tions, good squads, good fa­cil­i­ties, good pools and coaches. We have re­ally ev­ery­thing at our fin­ger­tips that you could want to be able to train.”

Not only does liv­ing on the Sun­shine Coast pro­vide the best pos­si­ble train­ing con­di­tions, it also pro­vides an over­all happy, healthy life re­gard­less of win­ning the gold medal.

“If you’re re­laxed enough and happy enough in your life, no mat­ter what hap­pens, it is what it is,” David said.

“My fam­ily will still love me re­gard­less of how well or how happy I am with my re­sults. Ul­ti­mately it’s per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion that I’ll be af­ter.

“The re­sult won’t mat­ter to too many peo­ple other than my­self, so you’ve just got to keep that in mind and do your best and the re­sult will be what it is.

“The good thing about triathlons if you do them is it’s good for you, it’s healthy for you. You mix gen­er­ally with re­ally pos­i­tive like-minded peo­ple who have your at­ti­tudes to health and fitness.

“It’s very much a life­style sport. If you like be­ing fit and want to be healthy it does take you to an­other level.”

A whole new level, ac­tu­ally. For those whose fitness goals don’t re­quire run­ning over 21km, cy­cling 90km and swim­ming 1.9km, per­haps swap the Ly­cra for pom poms and cheer on the ath­letes com­pet­ing to­mor­row at the Mooloolaba IRON­MAN 70.3 World Cham­pi­onships.

PHOTO: FINISHERPI­X/IRON­MAN

David Chick on the bike at IRON­MAN 70.3 Sun­shine Coast.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

David’s fam­ily help him main­tain a bal­anced ap­proach to train­ing.

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

David says cus­tomers to his sport ap­parel shop in­spire him to stay fo­cused and mo­ti­vated.

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