Article image

by Mary Jimenez

April 18, 2002

Six time Hawaii Ironman winner

Dave Scott has aged, but his talent hasn't.
 Scott, six time winner of the Hawaii Ironman, is not without dramatic comebacks.

At the Hawaii Ironman he 1986 he "unretired" and won the event for the fifth time. In 1994, for his second comeback and at the age of 40, he ran a second to Greg Welsh.

The question is what will Ironman Dave do in his third comeback in 2001 at the age of 47? And why?

Scott will be standing with the pros on Kailua Pier in Kona for the October 6 edition of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.

Why race again, is an easier question than guessing his performance.

Training is Scott's livelihood. In Boulder, Colo., with his wife, Anna and three children, Ryan, 13, Drew, 10, and Kara, five, Scott's work is coaching, promotional work, writing for publications and making appearances such as Sportspectrum's River Cities Triathlon in Bossier City, Louisiana on August 5.

Of course he loves the sport of triathlon and is strangely drawn to the dual against body and pain, but it's simply time to get his name back out there.

"I always knew I would race it again, it was just a matter of when,'' said Scott in a recent interview when he made a guest appearance at the Sportspectrum River Cities Triathlon. "I figured now was a good time before my children get too much older and I still have the time to train."

What happens next is everyone's guess. Scott—the type of man who smiles and jokes with everyone and remembers your first name—is himself the most informed on his condition, but even he admits it's hard to know how his body will swallow a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and marathon, all in one gulp. After all, it's been five years.

At River Cities, Scott raced in an exhibition capacity, but he still led the field in the sprint distance event. He was one of the first out of the water for the 1/2-mile swim in 10 minutes, 59 seconds, which many racers felt may have been a long course after slow swim splits across the board. For the bike, Scott recorded the second fastest bike split in the 18.2 miles at 42:44; (Bill Shirer of Dallas rode a 42:16) and he blazed the 5-kilometer run with a 17:35, only Gary Grilliot of Shreveport (17:31) was faster.

And although sprint distance just isn't Scott's cup-of-tea, Scott's race made him feel good about his training. And there have been other events that have suggested to the 47-year-old that there's no rust that can't be cleaned on his machine.

"I have been surprised at my performance on the bike," said Scott. "I bought a new bike, so there's probably a little bit of psychological edge there, but I've felt surprisingly good."

Scott has raced some smaller events and also has several time trial courses he uses in his hometown of Boulder to set benchmarks for himself.

"About two months ago I was riding close to what I was doing in 1996. I've hit a really flat spot on the bike. I just don't feel very good on it. I felt O.K. today, but not great, but hopefully that will pass."

Earlier this year, Scott also realized his strength on the run during a Half Ironman event in California. He flatted on the bike and lost 17 minutes. He was ready to just to pack-it-in and go home, when a friend talked him into running the 13.1 miles to get a time.

"I went pretty slow the first two miles because I was still kind of upset about flatting, but then I ran 11 miles at a 5:45 pace and I think I could have run them at 5:38. I was encouraged by that."

"I can look at all these times separately, but I really don't know how that will translate to the whole distance."

Scott did add that he felt he could go "well under 8:40." The winning time in 2000 by Peter Reid was 8:21:01.

As far as training his 47-year-old body to return to pro-level racing, Scott's formula has changed, but not as much because of age, but because of wisdom. In his own journalist writings on training Scott says there's two big areas that triathletes generally fail at—diet and mileage.

"I think there's a lot of misinformation on diet. People are really gullible and they want a magic pill,'' Scott said.

Scott does use three products as supplements, Power Dream for your pre-workout, Accelerade by Pacific Healthlabs during a long training session and Endurox R4 as a post workout for recovery.

The other area Scott feels triathletes are misguided on is mileage for Ironman distance events.

"Just doing long training is the curse of a lot of athletes. They end up capable of long stuff and just go slow. Your aerobic machine responds pretty fast, but you lose your strength to respond to faster racing. That's something I've been vary aware of since I'm getting older—not to lose that power," Scott said. "You have to mix in speed.

For example, during Scott's 92-mile training ride the day before River Cities (he also swam 3,000 meters and ran 1.5 hours), Scott worked in interval work and strength workouts. The strength workouts consisted of four, 3-mile blocks of standing while riding.

Scott also believes in weight training year-around. He does a lot of isolated and one legged exercises.

"You're never really balanced while you ride, so this is way of strengthening those muscles that will help you maintain stability."

On winning, Scott says there is some skill to that too.

"You have to be a little mean,'' he says joking.

What ever that winning secret is, Scott is proving he still has a streak of it in him.

September 25, 2001, Runner Triathlete News