Talles Medeiros is an internationally successful duathlete from Brazil. The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic also affected his race schedule and life as part-time pro athlete significantly. In the interview, he provides insights from his current situation and perspective in Brazil.
Talles, please briefly introduce yourself
My name is Talles Medeiros, 41, professor of the Computer and Systems Department at Federal University of Ouro Preto, Brazil. I was 2 times vice-champion of Duathlon World Championship (2015/2016), 4th place in 2014/2018 and 5th place in 2019. I was champion of Powerman Brasil Duathlo and Vice-Champion of Powerman Alsdorf in 2019. Today I‘m ambassador of Powerman Brasil and Powerman Alsdorf.
At the beginning of 2020, you planned to compete at Powerman Alsdorf in Germany. Due to Cov-19, almost all races have been cancelled. How did those cancellations affect you as duathlete?
I had the entire competition calendar canceled in 2020. It completely affected my planning. I needed to review my goals and set new goals to maintain some physical performance markers, such as FTP in cycling and the pace of the anaerobic threshold in running. In addition, my sponsorship has come to a standstill until competitions return.
How did you and do you experience the covid-19-crisis situation in Brasil?
Is there a positive/negative development from the beginning of the pandemic (March/April) to now?
The situation of COVID-19 in Brazil is somewhat particular, as the number of deaths has reached a plateau and does not decrease. Regarding my training, I stayed for 3 months in indoor sessions only. I needed to improve my ability to concentrate, persevere and keep my focus on training despite all adverse situations.
Is there anything positive you personally could grasp from the crisis?
Regarding training, yes! I had the opportunity to find new tools and alternatives to maintain my training program. Adapting is the word that best describes everything I discovered.
How did your training look like during the hard lock-down period?
I used my building's treadmill and my smart home cycling workout roller for approximately 3 full months. During this period, I used the new applications that exist on the market to help me interact with other colleagues and participate in some virtual events. It was nice to have a chance to compete against athletes from different countries.
Do you currently have any restrictions regarding your training – e.g. access to the gym, workout sessions in groups?
Regarding my training, gyms still have access restrictions. The physiotherapy clinic too. And in all cases, the use of a mask is mandatory and a maximum period of time on site.
Could you give us an example of a typical training week of yours?
Have you changed your athletic and/or allday-life focus due to the pandemic? E.g. did you take time off?, did you volunteer? did you change your training routine?
I maintained my training with some adaptations, since the competitions had been canceled. I stayed without teaching for 4 months and now we have resumed activities, albeit virtual! I had to dedicate myself more to the children to occupy their time with activities at home.
Here in Europe, virtual racing on ZWIFT has become very popular within the last month.
Have you ever competed in a virtual race and how would you describe your experience compared to „normal“ racing? I participated in several unofficial virtual competitions on Zwift. And recently we had an official competition here in Brazil. I loved it! It was really fun because we had the opportunity
The „Tour de France“ just finished and there are other major events (Diamond League) that take place. Do you think, this is an appropriate decision and signal from the sports associations?
I think that professional sports competitions, with limited participation of athletes, can be organized with strict safety controls. However, competitions with large participation of athletes, such as marathons, are still unfeasible.
How does the situation for sport events and athletes look like in Brazil?
Only football championships have returned, just as in Europe. No audience. The other competitions are all canceled or stopped. We should not have any triathlon, duathlon or marathon competitions in 2020.
Are there any races you are planning to compete in in 2020/early 2021?
There are no 2020 competition plans. For 2021, the schedule is still uncertain, but I hope to be in Alsdorf in 2021, a welcoming city that hosts a beautiful sporting event: Powerman Alsdorf Duathlon!
Thanks Talles and take care!