25 January 2012

David ParsonsAfter a childhood spent riding through the streets of Adelaide, 21 year old UniSA student David Parsons is about to chase the dream of becoming an elite professional cyclist when he leaves for Belgium next March.

As the heart of Adelaide beat softly to the push of pedals during the Tour Down Under (TDU), David took part in support events with his local team Euride. 

But by the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under, should his trip to Europe pay off, David may well find himself competing with an elite cycling team and feeling the rush that is the TDU.

In Europe he will team up with his Adelaide coach, Kevin McIntosh.

“My coach is head of one of the Korean teams and I’ll be riding with them when I head over in March,” he says.

“For the first year it is really going to be about gaining experience. Racing in Europe happens all the time – you can jump in a race every day of the week. The quality of the riders is quite high too.”

David hopes his lifetime of training up and around Adelaide’s hilly suburbs and his current training schedule of about 100 km each weekday, will give him a distinct advantage when he hits the mountainous terrain of Europe.

“The Corkscrew which is on Corkscrew Rd in Adelaide is one of the toughest local rides I have been using to train up. One day my coach made me climb it ten times in a row – that was very grueling,” he says.

“There are a lot of days where you get up and you look at the bike - in the cold, especially in winter - and you just think of the suffering you’re about to undertake. It is incredibly painful, but it is also an amazing challenge so I don’t find it boring.”

While getting the mind and body ready for professional cycling David has also balanced a hectic schedule of part-time work and full-time study.

Last year as a second year student David studied Industrial design - a career he hopes to pursue once his cycling days have slowed down.

“From a very young age I have always wanted to be an industrial designer and I was so excited that UniSA offered the course. The first year was great and the lecturers were really understanding with all of my other commitments,” he says.

“The first semester I actually did study full-time and that was incredibly difficult to balance with my riding, I remember during the under 23 championships I was on the start line almost falling asleep because it was around exam time.

“I hope to keep up with my studies so when I eventually return to Adelaide and UniSA I can continue to study the course and it will still be fresh in my mind,” he says.

The University of South Australia offers an Elite Athletes Program to help students who want to pursue study while also embarking on a professional sporting or artistic endeavor. The program currently hosts around 140 participants.

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