David Chick, 47, gears up to put himself to the ultimate test
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.
David Chick on the bike at IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast.
David’s family help him maintain a balanced approach to training.
David says customers to his sport apparel shop inspire him to stay focused and motivated.