Tristan is a pro athlete who not only races cyclocross but also maintains a full time job and raises three young children. In order to do it all, he has to find a semblance of balance to get everything done. We recently had the opportunity to ask him how between every aspect of his life, he finds the time and balance that is needed with this busy lifestyle.
From the outside it looks like you do a great job at balancing being a pro athlete, having a full time job and being a family man. What does your average week look like when you’re training? How do you juggle everything and stay organized?
Tristan: From the outside it might look pretty balanced, but it's far from easy. I have a hard time trying to keep myself in check and am always reminding myself. When I start my season I am usually doing between 8-15 hrs a week of training. It can be a lot, or it can be manageable. When I have things organized at home (meaning the cars are running, the house is working, and the yard is in check) then it's ok. I usually train from 9-11am during the week. That means I have an hour or two in the morning to eat and do emails, breakfast with the kids and help get them ready. Then it’s on to post ride shower and lunch and basically get ready for work. Most days it feels like all I do is ride, eat lunch and go to work.
With training and a busy life, nutrition is important. What are your go to snacks before and after a race? Any secret sauce you use or make?
Tristan: I don't have any secrets anymore. I used to eat the same things and do the same things, but I quit doing that after I won the Iceman on Eggo Toaster waffles and peanut butter! I decided it doesn’t matter much. Now I just make sure I have Clif bars in my bag for a snack and some sort of sweet drink, like Sweet Tea or something with a little caffeine. For racing I'm lucky to be sponsored by Clif Bar and they have so many different products that work well I always just go with that.
With three young children, what do they think of your riding? I mean do they enjoy watching their dad race or do you think they’ll catch the competitive bug themselves?
Tristan: My kids are still at the age where they don't really care what they are doing as long as they are entertained. I have tried to incorporate specific races into long family weekends either with camping or a fun hotel with a pool. We took one race weekend to St Louis, MO, where I raced. It was fun and worked out for everyone. It goes back to being organized. I bring the bikes for the kids if they want, sometimes they do and sometimes not but I let them decide. Most of the time if there is a playground at a race they like to go back to that.
Tell us how juggling family, work and racing has made you a better rider.
Tristan: I'm not convinced it made me a better rider but I learned to race under different conditions, whether it's lack of sleep, planning, fitness or anything really. It does make you focus on training more when time is limited and you know you have to fit 3-4 hrs of ride time into 2 so my training has changed. I think it works well and I have gotten to a pretty high level following this type of training.
It can be tough getting in training when life is tight. What are some of your go to items when you have to make do and train indoors?
Tristan: In Wisconsin, I spend a lot of time training indoors. I have spent 18 years riding rollers in early spring and late fall for cyclocross. You get a much better workout most of the time so I don't mind and if you have a good workout planned time goes fast. CycleOps has great trainers that I use and I have been training using power meters since early 2000's. I watch TV or YouTube if I can find a cyclocross race to watch or a Nordic ski race is always entertaining. Usually I keep the workouts to about 1:30 or 2 hrs max.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in elite level racing while still keeping up with everything else in life, like a job and family?
Tristan: Stay consistent with training, lots of intensity to make up for lack of time, and keep organized to save time and stress. Those things work for me and I think are pretty key to anyone racing, but when time is crunched, they get more important. I try to make sure my racing isn't taking away from important family stuff, and I keep them involved and having fun so it's not just me going to events, they are experiencing it as well.