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Jonathan Rea: I am inspired by my sister Chloe and her brave work on the NHS frontline

 

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Family man Jonathan Rea enjoys a cycle with wife Tatia and sons Jake (5 - right) and Tyler (4).

Family man Jonathan Rea enjoys a cycle with wife Tatia and sons Jake (5 - right) and Tyler (4).

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea

Getty Images

Jonathan Rea in action

Jonathan Rea in action

Getty Images

Family man Jonathan Rea enjoys a cycle with wife Tatia and sons Jake (5 - right) and Tyler (4).

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to  Templepatrick-based five times World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea who rides for the Kawasaki team

Q: How are you keeping?

A: Really good. These are strange times, especially as I am used to being on the move, but I am keeping in a positive frame of mind. I wake up every day with a target to accomplish and that keeps me going, albeit at a slower pace.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: Obviously the racing season being put on hold has had a big effect on my day to day life and routine. There is a possibility World Superbikes could resume in August, so I am working towards that in terms of my fitness. Also I try not to watch too much TV news, one bulletin a day at most, as they are saying the same things over and over. Likewise the conspiracy theories on social media - I avoid those, too. I believe the best approach is to listen to the official advice from the scientific and medical professionals who know best.

I realise a lot of families have suffered as a result of this pandemic and I am fortunate to be able to spend time at home with mine that otherwise wouldn't have been possible with my racing schedule taking me all around the world. My mum, Claire, is isolating here at home with us, but there are other family members I miss being with in person. I am thinking especially of my sister, Chloe, straight out of university and into the deep end, nursing at the Causeway Hospital. People in the NHS are making the biggest contribution to society in this crisis and I am full of admiration for them. I've seen Chloe from a distance at the end of our lane and really miss not being able to give her a hug for the amazing work she is doing.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: Physical fitness is a big part of my professional life. I've set up a home gym in my garage with some equipment from the BLK BOX gym I go to when I am here. I am in regular contact with my Kawasaki team coach in Spain and also cycle a lot. I have the Zwift cycle racing computer platform indoors where I can test myself against other cyclists online. For outdoors, I have my Vitus bike. I really do love cycling and, again, I am lucky to be able to do that in the countryside where we live, without breaking any rules. It is great stimulation. In this lockdown situation, it is important to strike the right balance between mental and physical health.

Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: Another big miss for me is hanging out with the team. We are in constant contact, by video or WhatsApp. The upside is quality time at home with my family. My boys have so much energy and it is a full time job keeping them occupied and interested. My wife, Tatia, and I take turns at home schooling on weekdays and on Fridays, we have a fun theme night where we all dress up. Last week I was Shrek, Tatia was Catwoman and the boys were Spiderman and Batman.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: My greatest inspiration comes from my sister, Chloe, and the job she does. When the reality of this crisis comes that close to home, it really does focus the mind.

Q: Is there a book, film or box set you would recommend to stay at home sports fans?

A: I loved the Manchester City documentary on Amazon for its behind the scenes insight on a big Premier League club and the way Pep Guardiola works. I am also into a Spanish series, Money Heist, on Netflix and QB1, also on Netflix, which follows the career of American football quarterbacks. If you are into cycling, you will love The Least Expected Day, the story of the Spanish Movistar cycle team last season, which is full of complex relationships and rivalries within the team. I must also mention the amount of free content on the World Superbikes website that was previously pay per view... not forgetting my own YouTube channel, of course.

Q: What life lessons have you learned from this?

A: A lot. We are all learning the importance of hygiene, which is good. It is an especially good education for kids, learning to wash their hands regularly. I love when I am out walking that people smile and say hello as they pass by - at a distance, of course. There are bad things out there we can't control. We should use this time to reset and focus on seeing the good in small things.

Q: What is the first thing you will do when all this is over?

A: I will have the whole extended family round for dinner. It will be great to have everyone around a table again.

Q: And your message to sports fans?

A: Stay healthy, follow the guidelines and be respectful to others. We love sport but it is not a priority right now. And when it does start again, I can assure my fans that I will be working my butt off to fight for a sixth world title. Positive vibes will get us through.

Belfast Telegraph