How I'm Coping with COVID-19: Mathieu Belanger-Barrette

How I'm Coping with COVID-19: Mathieu Belanger-Barrette

Briefly tell us about yourself Mat, who you are, your sport is (and at what level you compete)?

    Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette, endurance cyclist. I race mountain bike cross country, cyclocross, gravel and enjoy doing long distances. I’ve raced in most international bike event in north America. Aside of racing I really enjoy the process of training and go to places to discover. I do have a couple projects that does not involve racing nor timing for the summer.

    What were your original objectives this spring (key races/PBs)?

    I had the chance to compete at the True Grit Stage Race in early march which I ended up winning. So I was relying on this early season event to build some fitness for the spring gravel races such as Rasputitsa and transition in early summer mountain bike stage races… but all races got canceled.

    How has your current training been affected?

    Most of my training is done alone or with my girlfriend Sarah so those training are still going on. We have a pretty good setup for inside bike rides too. However, all the gym work and group training are missing me quite a bit. In fact, I feel like group training is the best way to push yourself and sometime even test your fitness. However, for this time of year I am usually not too concern about being super fit since it is really early season. I usually try to peak later in the summer so it might not affect too much the season.

    How did that affect your motivation?

    Motivation is affected that’s for sure. That being said I like to see the bright side of the isolation. I can sleep better, take time and plan my training correctly, I can eat well and most importantly I can ear a little bit more. For sure I don’t have the regular motivation but I am probably at 80-90% of what I use to be motivated.

    How have you restructured your race season?

    For now I am still waiting for races schedule updates but I have my race season planned until June anyways… so I don’t have a clear view of what will happen for the end of the season. For now it seems like a lot of races are postponed to august through November. Will see how it goes. Again, I am not too stressed out about this.

    How have you adapted your training?

    It is literally back to base. I took the 2 first weeks of quarantine to do endurance trainings and threshold intervals. That being said I will not work on high end power and race specific speed until I have confirmation of the first race. So for now, keeping it relatively easy and steady. I also had yoga and couple of strength training that I was not doing because of lack of time.

    Most important of all, how are you staying motivated?

    My girlfriend is a MVP in keeping me motivated. In fact, we do encourage each other and try to stay positive all the time. When someone is feeling down the other is trying to have a motivating speech. When I feel down and don’t feel to train, when I see Sarah jumping and the bike and killing it, it makes me want to do the same.

    We also workout quite a lot with Zwift software and I watch old bike races on Youtube.

    Bonus question: any new hobbies you have picked up with all this extra time at home?

    We started doing a lot of home made breads and picked up cooking a lot more.