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Face of the Race: Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette

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Mathieu at the 2017 Wilmington Whiteface MTB.

Two-time Wilmington Whiteface MTB champ Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette is returning to race on June 2 with one goal in mind — to claim win #3. Find out what draws Mathieu to Wilmington, what he loves about the race and how last year’s second-place finish is motivating him.

1. How many times have you raced Wilmington Whiteface, and what were your results?
It will be my fourth consecutive WW100. I won in 2015-2016 and got second in 2017.

2. What made you decide to race again this year?
I really love the Lake Placid area, it is only a couple hours from my hometown of Quebec City and it is one of the only major long-distance events at this time of year. It is also a good test to start the season.

I had a bittersweet feeling with my second place last year, and I want to get back and grab the win again. I am really looking forward for that weekend as it will be a big goal for me this year. I am bringing a large crew from Quebec City, and I hope they’ll love it. 

3. What’s your favorite thing about this race?
There is a really good vibe before and after the race, and the pack is usually pretty fast. The course suits me well, so it is always nice to have an event that makes you look good 😉

4. What do you find most challenging about it?
The course is an out and back, and on the way back there is a big ass climb that really separates the men from the boys. It seems like this hill is endless, but believe me — when you get on the top of it, it feels pretty good.

5. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s race?
Honestly I am looking forward to the whole weekend. We usually rent a cabin with some friends and have a big dinner the night before the race (and after obviously). It is a fun weekend, especially if we can get some extra riding the day after the race.

6. What advice do you have for people who are racing Wilmington for the first time?
Look at the course before the start, save your energy and remember the race does not start until 50K.

7. You mentioned you’re planning to do the Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race as well. What’s your strategy for racing both mountain bike and road events in the same weekend?
I did a bunch of MTB stage races in the last few years, so I am kind of used to adding rough days over rough days. However, it is still tough to manage your energy since you want to do well on both days. The 100K is my priority thought.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss about your 2018 season?
Depending on the result, I still have Leadville on the back of my mind. I also want to do some other 100 milers and a couple of stage races here and there. I would also like to thank my sponsors: On The Edge Canada, Pivot Cycles, Enve Composite, Oakley, ESI Grips and Xact Nutrition. Without them I would not be able to race all these crazy events year after year!

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