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Five-minute breather with… Rik Cook

Relatively new to Townsville from Brisbane and Central Queensland, Rik Cook and his family are immersing themselves in Townsville’s active lifestyle. With Rik working at Top Brand Cycles on the floor and as a specialist bike fitter, plus dedicating his spare time to running his own coaching business and helping out with the Free Radicals Tri Club; his passion is helping athletes to move better, get fitter and get faster — whether they are chasing a podium finish or just chasing their first finish. We caught up with Rik to find out what makes him tick.

“Persistence and hard work trump natural ability 100% of the time, so just keep going”

Why did you move to Townsville? We moved to Townsville in January this year. We were looking for a location that provided an array of opportunities and lifestyle for our young family (five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl). We wanted a good selection of schools for the kids, a variety of activities for them to get involved in, an opportunity to grow and develop our coaching business and to have a selection of racing available for my wife and I.

What are you doing to get moving at the moment? I do what I can. Whenever our schedule permits, I head out on the Top Brand shop rides. My wife and I squeeze in a few rides on the wind trainers each week, and out on the road whenever we can get there.


Rik has completed two 24-hour mountain bike races.

What activity makes you the happiest and why? Riding my bike — it’s quiet time where I can relax, plus it can also be family time when it’s really crazy and entertaining.

How did you discover it? I’ve been cycling as long as I can remember and, as for discovering a family, well one thing lead to another.

Have you always been active? Yes, for as long as I can remember! My background was in track and field when I was younger, which progressed to cycling, which just stuck. Working in the fitness industry for 20 years also promoted an active lifestyle.

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? Usually a morning person, but right now, whenever time permits.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Being new to Townsville, we are still investigating, but so far it’s certainly the beach at Pallarenda with the family and the dog.

Your most motivating tune? Anything ACDC, plus Motley Crue’s Kickstart My Heart, or Black Betty by Spiderbait.

Motivational quote? “Here to train not to complain”.


Rik hosting a skills session with the Free Radicals Tri Club at Pallarenda.

How do you pep yourself up when you’re craving the couch? I’m not a big couch body: Life is so full that there is rarely time to sit still. If I am on the couch, it is usually just before bed.

Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? I have always preferred to train solo, although any opportunity to get out for a ride with my wife is welcome.

“We work on imbalances, movement patterns, mobility and stability, which helps them not only to be faster, more functional athletes; but also injury-free”

Most annoying fitness fad? Having spent 20 years working in the fitness industry and having a background in sport and exercise science, the hardest thing for me is the fitness industry is fad based, not science based.

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? Completing two 24-hour mountain bike races.

Most memorable active moment? About hour 23 of both 24-hour races. Also, I have enjoyed coaching a variety of athletes over the years including a World 24-hour mountain biking qualifier, an age group winner at the Townsville Triathlon Festival for the Olympic Distance (2015) and a World Age Group Sprint Distance qualifier (2015), plus lots of first time 70.3, Ironman and Olympic distance athletes who’ve become hooked on the sport, just to name a few.


Rik and Gill from Top Brand Cycles.

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Paddling — I’ve tried it before with my father-in-law (it was a lot more like swimming than paddling); however I’d love to be able to find the time to give it a real good crack and learn how to do it properly.

What’s something we don’t know about you? It is a long list…there is a reason why you don’t know!

Rik-Cook-3What’s your next goal? Racing wise, another 24-hour solo mountain bike race. I will probably start with Townsville Rockwheelers’ Hotrock24 in May next year, as I missed it this year, and then go from there.

What are you doing to get there? Right now… nowhere near enough!

Most embarrassing moment on the go? Not sure — I handle embarrassing moments like an everyday occurrence… oh, they are an everyday occurrence.

Who would you most like to train with (e.g. famous person, or someone you look up to)? Jason English — multiple world 24-hour solo champion.

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… Persistence and hard work trump natural ability 100% of the time, so just keep going.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? Definitely my Specialized road bike.

My best local fitness tip is… There’s a difference between exercise and training. Enlist a professional and educated coach/trainer to get you to your goals; and stick to the plan.

Tell us a joke (why not?) Two elephants fell off a cliff… BOOM BOOM.

Last words? I am lucky enough to be able to combine my passions of sport and exercise science, coaching, and bike fitting into my life. I have a scientific mind and approach my triathlon coaching, strength and conditioning and bike fitting from this perspective. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to combine working at Top Brand Cycles, bike fitting, my own coaching business and — as of fairly recently — working with the Free Radicals Triathlon Club.

I am passionate about my athletes moving better. We work on imbalances, movement patterns, mobility and stability, which helps them not only to be faster, more functional athletes; but also injury-free. There is a very deliberate purpose and process to everything we do, which we aim to educate our athletes on.

Remember: There are three phases of athlete development: Functional human, functional athlete, specific athlete.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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