Mikael Staer Nathan on racing a stacked field at 2018 Barrelman

We’re excited to profile one of our talented local pro athletes in the men’s field at Barrelman this year — Mikael Staer Nathan. Mikael has been a longtime supporter of the local Ontario race scene for years and we’re excited to have him return to Barrelman for what’s shaping up to be our most competitive men’s race to date. He won the MultiSport Canada Toronto Island Triathlon last weekend, and we caught up with him after to chat about his goals at Barrelman:

How has your 2018 season been going so far?
My 2018 season has not been going very well at all. Despite all-time high fitness, I have struggled to put it together on race day so far. High and low points are Chattanooga 70.3: high, because I had a solid main pack swim and golden legs on the bike that had me rocketing toward the front of the race, proving to myself I can be competitive at that level; low, because I fell into a hidden hole in the sidewalk during my warmup run, spraining my toe and beating up my knees and elbows – which really messed me up for the run.

Why did you choose to race Barrelman this year? 
 The local scene in Ontario is great. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with people I don’t see at the international races and it’s always a more relaxed atmosphere. And I don’t have to travel far!
What are your goals at Barrelman?
We’ve had a growing pro field every year the men’s race this year is shaping up to be our strongest yet.
It’s definitely looking like a pretty good field. Many of us are closely aligned in ability, so it should be tight racing.
What’s your favourite part of the Barrelman course? You’ve raced here before, know it well, and could definitely give some insight to our first-timers – is there any aspect of the course that you’ll be training for specifically? 
I love the run course, especially by the falls where there are lots of people and car traffic – flying by while they sit idle is fun. The flat course can be relentlessly windy, which can be challenging to fight through. I won’t be doing anything specifically for Barrelman, other than chasing greater fitness and getting into the right frame of mind to give my best.
On that note, what’s one piece of advice you can give to our age group athletes?
Be prepared for any kind of weather! At this time of year, race day can be mega hot or grey and rainy and anything in between. Also, while a flat course means you don’t have to contend with varying terrain, it does mean you have to hold aero without break, and stay on top of your power (remain focused, don’t zone out and let your speed dip).