Athlete Interview

Interview: Dave Bishop – Coming Back from Serious Injury

David Bishop a 68 year-old resident of Schoolcraft, MI has been a triathlete for close to 25 years.  His amazing wife has supported him through the highs and lows of his triathlon career. He describes what it’s like to feel like at the top of your game and what it’s like to come back from devastating injuries.  Find out about Dave’s goal to qualify for Long Course Worlds in Sweden in 2015 and his experience with being there in the past.

Q: How did you get started in triathlons? A friend of mine, Terry Hutchins, got me involved in multi-sport races in the late 1980’s. I then got into triathlons a short time later and have been doing them ever since.

Q: What’s your favorite discipline and why? That is a toss-up between the swim and bike segments of the triathlon. But, I would say that I like biking the best, maybe that because that is what I really excel in.

Q: What was your triathlon highlight moment? My highlight would be finishing fifth in my age group (65-69) at the 2010 Wisconsin Ironman. My wife was there for me at the finish, which was especially sweet since she was scheduled for cancer surgery on the following Thursday. It was great to have her there and that she was able to attend the awards ceremony. She had decorated our hotel room and also had some cold beer waiting for me when got back to the hotel. It was a great surprise.

Q: What’s been your greatest challenge?   [I had a] crash [that] resulted in a broken collar bone, four broken ribs, and a concussion, resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury. It took ten weeks of cognitive rehabilitation to get back mentally, and I am now into my second ten-week period of physical rehabilitation on my shoulder. My range of motion is improving and I am now allowed in to swim (breaststroke only). The biggest challenge will be to get back to reach 75% recovery so that I can start moving into the crawl stroke.

Q: What does your weekly training schedule look like? At the moment, I am gradually getting back into running. That is the easy part, as my ribs are healed and I can use my right arm for that without difficulty. As I mentioned, I was encouraged to start swimming last week. I am spinning at two different locations, albeit with restrictions. I am not supposed to lean on the handlebars and have to get off if I feel dizzy. So far that has not been a problem, but it is astonishing how much endurance I have lost. Actually, biking is currently forbidden; of course, it is impossible due to the weather. I do have an 18-week training plan that I will incorporate into my weekly schedule as soon as possible.

Q: Any pre-race rituals? I don’t have any pre-race rituals as such. I do like to have a good pre-race meal two days before the event and get plenty of sleep that night, as the day before is usually a busy day for me. I still get anxious before a race. This year I will be traveling to Grand Rapids on Saturday for the GR TRI packet pickup and stay in town that night, because I really don’t care to travel a long distance for an early morning event. I like to get there in plenty of time, have a relaxing evening, and have a room close to the transition area.

Q: Who inspires you? My wife, Diane, inspires me. She is now three years into her recovery from two types of cancer and is doing well. Whenever I am tired or something hurts, I tell myself “get over it.” as it is nothing compared to what she has gone through.

Q: How do you reward yourself after hard training or tough races? There is nothing like a cold beer!

Q: What are your race goals for 2014? I first want to qualify for the Worlds Long Course Triathlon Championships in Sweden. I competed there in 2004, my first time out of the USA for an event and I was extremely nervous. We, Team USA, were there as a team for an entire week before the race which added to the excitement. I did fairly well once the event started, but up to that point I was edgy. One thing I should mention here is that the long course is exactly what it says it is– LONG. In the 2004 event in Sweden, the swim was 2.5 miles, the bike was 90 miles, and the run was 30K. There may be changes to the distances depending on the venue, but the total distance is definitely longer than the standard 70.3 half-ironman.
Second, I want to start serious training for 2015 Wisconsin Ironman. I will be 70 years old at that point and I want to finish in front of the great crowd. And, more importantly, I want my wife to be there again to celebrate with me.

Grand Rapids Triathlon

Grand Rapids Triathlon

We are the largest independent triathlon and proud host of five USAT National Championships over the course of our nine-year history. While our event brings in some of the best athletes from across the country, we have also been named one of the Top 5 Best Triathlons for Beginners in the country according to Triathlon Business International. This triathlon event is a chance for athletes of all skill levels to compete on a scenic riverside course, perfect for the novice through the seasoned triathlete. Offering Sprint, Olympic, and Half distance Triathlons, Aquabike, Swim and Relay events, this USA Triathlon sanctioned event promises heart-pounding excitement from start to the finish.