TMC: You are the lone Canadian lining up in Cape Town, South Africa at the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town this weekend, how do you feel going into the race?
Matthew Sharpe: I’m really grateful for a chance to race in Cape Town. It’s been two years since my last WTS and I still can’t believe the road I’ve taken since then to finally get here again. I’m just so excited to be at this level again because it’s where I want to be competing—against the best in the world.
TMC: The field of 70 in the men’s race has some of the heaviest hitters in the sport including Javier Gomez, local favourite Richard Murray and Mario Mola. Is your mental preparation different for a race that stacked?
MS: Having the best athletes to compete against, including two thirds of the Olympic podium definitely influences the race. For myself competing with them provides an opportunity to race against the best. I live for that. That being said, I know what I need to do to execute on race day, regardless of who is on the line. I won’t be preparing any differently for this event.
TMC: How have you been tackling the 10-hour time change? Has your body adjusted?
MS: I actually made the decision to travel here early so I could get used to the time zone. When I went to Europe from my training base in Australia I was wrecked for about a week so I kept that in mind this time. I’ve based myself just outside of Cape Town in the training heaven of Stellenbosch. My friend Marie Rabi who lives here organized for me to stay with her brother and his roommates for the week I’ve been here. I’ve really enjoyed my time here as it’s always refreshing to meet new people and train in a new location. We are a few days out from racing now and I definitely feel like I’ve adapted.
TMC: How has your training been going this year and have you done anything differently with the Pan Am Games in mind?
MS: Ever since October I’ve had the most consistent period of training in years. This has given me a whole new level of confidence as I’m now able to train consistently with the other members of our World-Class training squad. The Pan American Games are definitely a focus for me this year, however I haven’t really changed my training other than not getting injured. Which, as it turns out, can be really effective preparation!
TMC: Who is your biggest mentor in the sport and why?
MS: I’ve had some amazing opportunities to train alongside exceptional athletes. I learned a lot training alongside Simon Whitfield for a couple of months in 2012. At the moment I have an exceptional group of people to learn from in our Wollongong Wizards squad including Gwen Jorgensen who is simply the most professional athlete I know. I’m also a huge fan of Laurent Vidal as he’s a keen student of the sport and knows how to prepare for a big event. When he’s talking Triathlon, you better be listening.
TMC: What’s your strategy for the race this weekend?
MS: It’s no secret that the Olympics is going to feature a smaller breakaway group off the front. I want to be in that group. This race is an opportunity to execute a strong front pack swim, bike and run.
Good luck this weekend Matt!