The Working Man - Tristan Schouten
Many know you as the “working man”, but you also juggle a family with three young children. Tell us what your typical week looks like. Where do you squeeze in the training hours?
Tristan: Well, I work full time at Sargento Cheese as an industrial electrician, so I have a full schedule there of about 40-45 hours a week. I am usually up at 5am and home from work by 2:30. A quick snack and I get on the bike as soon as I can or my body goes into relax mode and it only gets harder the longer I wait. I am usually training 1-3hrs a day, so I am back home by about 5-6. Then its supper, home projects, family and kids. I try to be in bed by 9:30 if possible. It's usually just a matter of making sure I have the ride time scheduled in and just doing it. I don't have much time if I miss my opening.
When the schedule gets to be just too much, what keeps you going?
Tristan: Well, if I didn't race I probably wouldn't ride half as much. I'm not someone that would go out and just ride for fun on a daily basis when I have other responsibilities. I really enjoy racing and I also want to be competitive and win. So, it's my drive to be in the hunt for the win that keeps me motivated. I guess it's the motivation to stay at the front and be fit enough to win that keeps me going when I don't want to train because I know my training has to be consistent since I don't have a ton of volume.
We are seeing the new gravel adventure races popping up all over. Why do you think these are gaining so much popularity?
Tristan: Because just about anyone can do one on any style of bike and many of the events are just that - events. Sure the elite guys race, but maybe 75% of the people doing them are just out there having fun and trying to beat last years' time. Lots of people get into crit racing or mountain bike racing, but an adventure race for distance appeals to a lot of people and it's something they can work towards completing and train for.
Mountain bikes for mountain biking and cyclocross bikes for cyclocross, what is your go-to bike for the new gravel races you’ve been entering?
Tristan: I go to my cross bike mainly because it's light, goes fast on the pavement and gravel and can get me through the dirt if it has to. I always run my Rolf Prima 4CX Disc carbon tubulars because they are the perfect wheel for that kind of racing. I use 33mm cross tires and it's an almost bomb proof setup for gravel. Fast and light on the road, almost flat proof on the gravel. It's basically my cross setup, but I feel it is the most advantageous of them all.
If I was just getting into gravel road races or events I would try to go with a good wheelset and tire combo because of the chances of flatting is much greater. For most people that might mean trying to get setup on a tubeless system in their current wheels so they can get away from tubes, which are easy to pinch flat on gravel. Tubulars are the more expensive option and for most people not ideal, but having a nice wide rim setup tubeless would probably be the best thing a new rider could do to improve their setup.
Do you have any fun rituals before race morning? Go-to foods, lucky socks…
Tristan: At this point, I just hope my socks match when I pull them out of the bag. Rituals ended when life got hectic, now I just try to keep organized and focused.