Blinkhoff's second chance
HAVING stared death in the eye, Mick Blinkhoff wanted to make the most of his second chance.
Lucky to survive a car crash after hitting a culvert at more than 100kmh he wanted to achieve more with his life.
That led to a new relationship with triathlon and the 34-year-old has cast aside his life of smoking and heavy drinking. On Sunday he will undertake his first long-distance event at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.
"Triathlon has completely changed my life physically and mentally," Mick said.
"Physically, I'm in much better shape. I have dropped about 25-30 kilos, but your outlook on life…you are very positive, you are a go-getter. My work has improved and I'm one of the top reps in the country and that has all come from attitude.
"It really helps to change your life. You start eating better, feeling better and start thinking better and that all filters down to your professional and personal life."
The life-changing moment occurred between Emerald and Longreach in June, 2013. Mick doesn't remember full details, but he could have had a microsleep, and the vehicle he was driving left the road, hit a culvert, then rolled several times.
Yet he managed to walk away with superficial cuts, abrasions and whiplash.
"I remember being in the car and coming off and then it being in the air and I just closed my eyes and gave up. I figured that was it," Mick said.
"It probably took another couple of months to realise the importance of what I had been through."
Mick attended counselling sessions to address nightmares, and it was there he found new inspiration.
"I felt a bit guilty that I had perhaps wasted a portion of my life and hadn't really achieved much," he said.
"I came to the realisation that if I'm not dead I better start living my life otherwise I might as well have died in the crash."
Mick had played casual cricket for years leading up to the accident, but two minor knee operations saw his activity levels dwindle.
He was encouraged to attempt triathlon by his brother, and he began training the next day for a short "enticer" event.
Losing about 5-10kg within six weeks, he got through the 200m swim, 5km bike and 2km run, but felt "guilty" he hadn't done a proper triathlon. That led to the Olympic-distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run) event at Noosa last year, which was followed by Mooloolaba. Now, 70.3 is the next challenge.
Although his preparation for the event has been interrupted and filled with sadness. Mick's mother passed away three weeks ago after a long battle with cancer.
"With the death of my mother it has been really hard to commit to doing all the training. But I made up my mind that mum wouldn't want me to stop doing anything and she would be really proud if I did do it," he said.
The Sunshine Coast Daily features stories such as Mick Blinkhoff in its fortnightly Multisport Mecca e-magazine. To be on the free mailing list, email multisportmecca@ apn.com.au