Rapid Fire With Development Team Athlete Matheus Menezes 🇧🇷

Rapid Fire With Development Team Athlete Matheus Menezes 🇧🇷

This is our fourth installment of a series of deeper-dive interviews with our 2024 Development Team!

Follow Matheus on Instagram here

Rapid Fire with Matheus

Favorite pump up song? Why? Spotify playlist to share? 

I always have some intense songs playing while I warm up before a race, as I have found that I perform the best when I am extremely pumped before the swim start (quite literally shaking with excitement / nervousness to start). Some electronic music, heavy metal, anything along those lines (like Metallica, Rollin by Limp Bizkit, or Stadium Pow Wow by the Halluci Nation). Anything that is pretty crazy and gets me in the mindset to go extremely hard from the gun. I am usually listening to some more chill and relaxing songs, but before a race I need something that makes me want to run through a wall :)  Eric’s “Shred Till Bed” playlists has some proper bangers.

Favorite local training route? (Run, bike, etc) Why?

There are so many options in Boulder! My favorite pool here is definitely the Scott Carpenter pool, an outdoor 50 meter pool that opens in the summer. 

My favorite bike route would be the loop that fellow Brazilian triathlete Andre Lopes showed me, which goes from Boulder up to Big Thompson Canyon, then up to Estes Park, and then to Ward through Peak to Peak highway. It is a 185 km loop from my house, with around 2,500m of gain. It is a hard route, but super beautiful for a long ride. Also love making up random loops with crazy gravel climbs around Boulder in the summer.

I usually run close to campus and downtown Boulder (the classic boulder creek path or up the Boulder Canyon), but when I have some more time I love to run at the Boulder Reservoir or some trails (like Lions Lair or anemone loop). My coach has been on a vibe of lots of hill reps recently, which I have been doing on Sunshine Canyon. That is a great one too.

Favorite place/town to train? Why?

I really love Boulder, but for the sake of a fun answer I will say towns outside of Boulder!

I would imagine that Santa Cruz is a great place to train, as I traveled there for 70.3 Santa Cruz last year and absolutely loved the town and riding on the pacific highway (and all the tacos and breakfast burritos). Also went to Cozumel, Mexico with one of my best friends once and we had a great time (riding and running are alright, but the open water swimming is insane).

Rank Swim-Bike-Run from most to least favorite & why! 

1) Bike: just so much fun and so much exploring to do. Love some long rides climbing around on the road bike, but also love some TT bike intervals on the flats!

2) Run: mainly because I usually do my easy runs with friends and that makes it a lot fun. 

3) Swim: but I also enjoy swimming a lot! I do quite a bit of solo swimming, which is not the most fun, but I love the two or three swims a week that I do with my teammates. Solo swims are also not that bad, as for me its a bit of a cycle of the more you swim the better you feel and the better you feel the more you want to swim.


What was the time/stats for your kick challenge? (if you did it)

Did not do it :( but I think I would drown. Not really a strong kicker (yet).


What is your big goal or A-race for the year?

My main goal this year is to start racing professionally. I have already earned my pro card last year, but I have not accepted it yet. I feel like there are still a lot of improvements to be made in my 70.3 racing, and I want to really nail a strong 70.3 before accepting my pro card and start racing as a professional. I am racing short course up until mid April, where I will be racing the USAT Collegiate Nationals for CU Boulder. After that my focus shifts fully into 70.3 racing. Definitely racing 70.3 Boulder in June, which will likely be my A race. Possibly doing 70.3 Gulf Coast in May with one of my best friends from Brazil. After that, it’s TBD. The next steps depend on how I do in 70.3 Boulder, but would love to race a professional middle distance race in Brazil if my academic calendar allows for the travel. 


What does training through the winter in Boulder, while going to school look like?

It's honestly not too bad! It’s sunny almost everyday, so the snow melts super quickly. I am able to run outside pretty much all winter. The only time I opt to go to campus and use the treadmill is when it’s too snowy and I have some sort of fast running to do (learned it the hard way that running fast hills in the snow is not the best idea). In terms of riding, I end up doing quite a bit of my training indoors during the week. I honestly have no problem at all with sitting on the trainer and doing 4+ hour rides on Zwift with some good music and some podcasts, and usually ride the trainer during the week mainly to save some time between / before classes. When it’s a sunny day, roads are clear, and I have time for it, I definitely go outside though. I usually swim in the pool on campus, which makes it super easy and convenient to swim before or after classes.


Will you do any training in Brazil this year? Where would that be and how is the training scene there?

I did some training there in early January, when I was home for Christmas break! I went to Bahia (a state in the northeast of Brazil with great beaches) with my father and didn’t have a bike there, so it consisted of a lot of swimming and running. 2 hour runs in the Brazilian heat and humidity made me realize how much I like the cold weather in Boulder. Officially changed my stance on the altitude vs. humidity debate, and now think humidity is harder.

In my hometown (São Paulo), training is not the best. It is a massive city, and with that comes a lot of traffic that makes riding outside pretty much impossible (other than the “ciclovia”, a 7 km stretch of bike path where most cyclists in São Paulo train). I end up riding the trainer a lot over there. Swimming is amazing though, as I have access to a beautiful 50m pool. The running is also not amazing, extremely hard to find some dirt to run in, but lots of route options if you don’t mind pounding your legs in the concrete. I do have access to a beautiful track though, which is a lot fun. Nothing like ripping some fast running at sea level. São Paulo has a massive age group triathlon community, and I admire them a lot for being able to train consistently in such unfavorable training conditions!

Is the collegiate triathlon program you’re part of one of the few schools in the country that has a varsity program with scholarships, or is it a triathlon “club” that competes against those schools with varsity programs?

I study at the University of Colorado and am a part of their triathlon team. The team is a student led club, so no athletic scholarships are given. The team has two great coaches that coach the team and organize it, but is led by a group of student “officers”. Even though there are no athletic scholarships given, we usually have a strong team and attract interest from triathletes from all over the world who want to live, train, and study in Boulder. The team has won 18 national titles, and has had great athletes such as Rudy von Berg. The team trains around 10-12 hours a week, so I naturally end up training quite a bit solo (I usually total between 18-24 hours a week). I have a coach from outside the University that helps me with the additional training needed.


What is your feeling about the collegiate system? Examples: Is it positive? Is it getting kids into the sport? Does it need more teams? More funding?

I think its an amazing option for developing triathletes! If I am not mistaken, there were over 1,000 athletes racing at Collegiate Nationals last year in Georgia. The atmosphere at collegiate nationals is really special, as there is a team aspect to it that is really hard to find elsewhere in triathlon. There is an individual national title on the line, but the most important title is the team title (with a cross country style points system, top 4 of each school scoring points). There are always athletes from all levels, from beginners who have just started triathlon to professional triathletes racing in Continental Cups and World Cups (ITU racing), which makes it fun for everyone regardless of their level. Historically, the collegiate pathway has had great athletes such as Ben Kanute (University of Arizona), Jason West (Penn State) and Rudy von Berg (CU Boulder). Currently, I think collegiate triathlon struggles a bit because a couple of schools give scholarships while most don’t, so it is not really the most leveled playing field. You pretty much know that a couple of schools will be winning, and then there is the fight for the rest of the schools. However, I do think that a rising tide lifts all boats, so other schools giving scholarships to good athletes only forces us to raise our level and be better in order to compete with them, so I think it ends up being a positive thing. I think it’s a good system that gets a lot of people to find and enjoy the sport (including lots of strong D1 swimmers or runners who are burned out or injured from their single sport). Like all of triathlon right now, I think the level is super high and should keep improving even more!

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