Stoked to roll into year three of training, racing & recovering with AltRed …, I take one pill 2hrs before all training sessions & races, & another every 2hrs during longer efforts…, why???? In simple speak: to go harder, train longer, recover faster & race clean…, that’s why I take AltRed.
Use my AltRed discount code “TKELLER-ALTRED” to save 15% on any order in 2020.
It’s that magical time of year, when all training plans get derailed
and ideas of what training smartly is get tossed to the side.
It’s the Rapha Festive 500… what is this you ask, and how does one accomplish this? One must ride 500k(we speak of no miles this time of year) between Xmas Eve and NYE & it must all be outdoors… no Watopia for the Festive!!!
Family time, holidays, work, weather… these will all challenge you… but I’ve spoken with a 7-time #festive500 completer Mr. Mike Wolford, and he has dropped some knowledge on us. Mike said “the Festive is a state of mind” and he always sticks to his 8 tips that we will just call rules… cause in Mike’s dad voice… nothing ever just sounds tips he’s sharing!
Sometimes you spend a lot of time trying to find an answer for a item that doesn’t exist… so you MacGyver a solution… and then you find out that Topeak already has a solution. Haaa… you got me good on this one Topeak. The SPORT CAMERA MULTI-MOUNT (free shipping code: “TopeakTom”) is a versatile action camera mounting solution… and even more importantly it will allow me to run a Garmin Varia Radar, a Cycliq Fly 6 CE with a saddle bag for all my flat fixing supplies. You win!
The Long Story: My MacGyver Process
So there has to be a way to have it all… the awareness of the Varia radar, the security of rear-facing video footage captured from my Cycliq Fly CE, and all the supplies to fix a flat without weighing down my back jersey pockets. SIDE NOTE: jersey pockets should obviously be saved for Skratch chews, bars and other treats.
The brand PRO makes a saddle with some rear mounting options, but I’m a Specialized guy, POWER saddle all the way…, so what options have I found?
Some Specialized mounts are available for rear StiX lights, some off-brand options to mount a camera but it’s so close that a saddle bag would be tough… plus if those velcro straps aren’t secure that saddle bag won’t survive railroad crossings or wooden camel-back bridges… I just want the Cycliq to be a little further back… so what can I make?
Well I already had a ton of GoPro mounts… I’ve owned a GoPro Hero 2, a Hero Session, Hero Session 5, GoPro 6 and now a GoPro 7 Black… so I got mounts and accessory parts everywhere… so could I make my own mount? YAS… I can! But would it work? I think so… I’ll just need these two parts: a K-Edge GoPro rear-facing mount and a Cycliq universal adapter. So here is what I was able to make.
So here are my takeaways so far on the two options:
For those who are new to group rides I’d like to share some tips I have learned over the years. Usually they were delivered in anger, lecturing dad voice or mid-race rider arguments… there are probably 100’s of tips but here are a few that hit home with me.
Don’t Be A Wildcard
Hold your line. What does that mean simply put? Be predictable, if you are going to move, look around first, do you have room to make said move?
Use hand signals. Alert others around you what is ahead, what you are doing, where you are going. Learn to point if you’re looking to exit a tight group position.
Don’t overlap wheels. Allow space and be focused as you get more comfortable and confident in groups. You are benefiting from the draft in front of you, so you need to make sure the person in front has some room to move and freedom to do so. Then in return they will provide you cover from the wind and hopefully call out and point to road hazards and features ahead as the lead rider.
You thirsty bruh? Not sure when it’s safe to drink? Nervous? You see the person in front of you drinking, boom, that’s when you drink. As you get more comfortable in a group this is a non-issue, but can definately be nerve racking at first. Also when you are last in the pack is a good time to eat and drink but make sure you don’t get dropped when you aren’t focusing just on holding the wheel in front of you. As all these items practice and time in the saddle makes perfect… or at least good enough. (Thanks Chris “the storm” Curran for the submission.)
What else did I miss… chime in and I’ll add to the list!
Pomme de Toure. 108 miles. 58+ miles solo w/nasty headwinds…. 6:12 ride time, 17.4mph avg. A painfully awesome day/way to take my first win of the season.
Since it’s my first win of the year, here’s my first race report of the year. Only read it if you’re interested in endurance racing… as it is long, cause well, the races are long, you’ve been warned, it’s the #the108.
Small races are great opportunities to practice the flaws in your game. So on Saturday it was time for me to go to school, take what I’ve learned in earlier @$$-whoppings & tighten it up on race day! (My inner-monologue post LandRun100, DK200 & Gravel Worlds.)
The Pomme de Toure is a 108 mile gravel course with 7.5k in elevation, roughly 13 climbs according to Garmin & 4 mandatory check-points this year at miles: 22, 47, 65 & 87. So the plan was to study the route, know the predicted winds, bring more supplies than needed, read the field… & be aggressive, but smart’er, more patient that usual… I kinda followed this plan.
So a side note here, mass starts with 2 race distances and no differences in number plates causes an interesting scenario with not knowing who exactly you are racing, so more on that later.
So we roll out with a field of 30-40 riders I’m guessing & immediately two guys roll off the front at like mile .25…, odd flex I thought, but I don’t know anyone here & with tailwinds for the first 20-ish miles I think to myself, is that a dumb move…, maybe but it could be a smart move if they knew the winds, I wanna be a part of that dumb move. So I decide I’ll bridge to it… & quickly realize I’m being marked as I just brought 8-10 guys with me…I’m dumb. So here we are 1 mile in & we basically already know if you’re racing, you’re in this group or you’re gonna have to use matches to get here.
MEET & GREET
Fast fwd & we have a small group of 4-6 of us setting the pace & quickly we cut this original group in half & we are now a 6 man dance with 2 bros yo-yo-ing. Then we are only 4 fellas by the time we hit rest stop 1 at mile 22, Joe West, Peter Krause, Paul Erickson & myself. I top off my bottle since all 4 wanna stop, give our race numbers to the volunteers & we bounce. So I’m now carrying a 70oz pack & two 33oz bottles full of Skratch Labs Lemon + Lime sports hydration, it’s not light, but I know I can now get to the final check point where I’ll only need to refill one bottle for the final push… this will make for a quick pit 2 & 3 where I’ll only need to give my number… potentially saving minutes.
Now comes the study the field part, we basically have a solid cross/tail wind for the first half of the race & then it’s a battle back with 12+mph cross/head winds for most of the way. I have aero-bars, I feel semi-fresh after an easy week since the RollFast Fondo & I have enough hydration to make it to pit 4. When should I go?
Now as a friendly group of 4, the get to know you part of the date is happening & come to find out both Peter & Joe are doing the 65 mile race so they are basically racing each other…, so that leaves Paul from the Move-Up Off-Road squad & me for the 108. Paul has 2 regular size bottles, no pack, no aero-bars & from what I can tell is easily 10-20lbs less body-weight than me & is matching my every acceleration so far, so I really don’t want to take him with me & roll the dice on the back half of the course with several climbs still left to go, plus I’ve carried this effin pack 50 miles, I’d be an idiot to wait for my only competition to roll out together with a cash prize on the line. So I decided right there that at mile 47 I’m gonna as the kids say it…, “send it”.
TIME TO GO?
Another thing I’ve learned after my whoopings at Gravel Worlds, be first as as close to first into the pit & be out as fast as you can, you hesitate, you lose, & often polite = off the back jack chasing wishing you were more aggressive.
I rolled to the pit first, I yell 4-6-1, and bounced, Fader says don’t look back when you attack, go all in or just don’t go…, I hate that, I always wanna know if I’m wasting my matches, but worst case scenario he catches me & we cat & mouse the rest of the way…, so I go for a few minutes all out, I get to the top of the next big hill, I peek, he’s still in sight, another riser & he’s still there, is he closing on me? Gahhhh. How long can he chase all out? The wind is picking up, I’m as aero as I can be…, 10 miles go by…, now I can’t see him…, around every corner I just wanna get out of site, over every hill.., then I hit the 3rd pit, I scare the poor volunteer who’s sitting there & hasn’t seen a person all day, hey…, 4-6-1 & I’m out…, I just wanna be out of site. Miles crawl by & then fly by, then I hit the final pit, fill one bottle & bounce. Trying to keep the pace upper tempo & push it anytime I can.
It’s been a lonely 40 miles & then a moto rolls up along side me…, all I can think was please don’t be a road-rager about to yell at me for being in the middle of a lonely country gravel road…, I put my hand up & say “my bad” as I move over…, he looks right at me & says “you’re crushing it man”…, 2nd place is like 5 miles back…, thank goodness I say…, I’m dying right now & was starting to hit the wall big time…, I look down & I’m at mile 90. Time to throttle it back to a lower tempo pace & just ride in smart…, avoid large rocks & play it safer through turns & descents. Then I start re-playing it in my head, did he said 5 miles or 5 minutes…, it wasn’t clear with his full face helmet on…, gahhhh let’s just goooooooo.
The final nut kicker, last 5-10 miles was soft pea sized gravel which felt like quicksand & had me begging for tarmac…, then I hit the road & I knew I was close…, then across the damn & down the entrance to the park. I rolled into the lot & crossed the spray painted finish-line(thanks for painting that Peter)…, & Chase Crawford the race director walks up & asks you a “108 rider”? Yup…., “You win!” well hot dayuuum I did.
Special thanks to all the volunteers out there today, 4 pits takes a lot of people & 108 mile race means it’s a long day for all…, so thank you…, I appreciate your time & look forward to coming back next year.
On June 1st at 6am I’ll line up for the Dirty Kanza 200 mile gravel race in Emporia, KS. What will my ride set-up look like? You probably didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway cause I can’t say enough about my S-Works Specialized Diverge. I’ve already ridden it this year for the following races: Landrun 100, RoughRoad100k, Barry Roubaix 100 and the two-day Tour of Hermann gravel race. I’ve nicknamed her CASH for her sexy black on black swagger and even dressed her up w/some new brown sidewall treads just for the DK200.
Here she is… senior photo-shoot style… now let’s race!
Dear @amazon what is the width of your sprinter vans? In IL the law is 3ft of space to legally pass me. I am an Prime member and am willing to wait an extra 10 secs to receive my packages, so can you please ask your drivers to wait 10 extra secs to pass me legally and safely? pic.twitter.com/q7chfWu0wE— Tom Keller (@the_tiki) May 27, 2019
Thanks to everyone who watched my video and chimed in on the conversation on Facebook. Amazon responded on Twitter and I have opened up a formal complaint as 3ft is the law in IL to legally pass a cyclist. *For those of you who don’t ride bikes or don’t understand the issue here, just imagine you’re running, walking a dog, or heaven forbid it’s your child on a bike when a vehicle passes like this.
Since I frequently post pictures of my casein cake on Instagram I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me to ask, “bro what’s this cake about?”. So I got my chef in on a quick video to show how easy it is to make this little delight that is fairly low on calories… so you too can use it to help fight the late night sweet tooth and give yourself a dessert to look forward to each night.
[* disclaimer: I have started adding chia seeds for a little extra texture since shooting this video, chia seeds, callogen and sprinkles all optional, just not optional to me. ]
1 scoop casein protein
1 spoon dark chocolate chips
1 scoop collagen
I spoon chia seeds
1 spoon almond flour
1 spoon cocoa
1/2 spoon baking powder
3 spoons egg whites
Mix up, add a little water, stir til thick yogurt like consistency
Get 2nd bowl
Spray dish/bowl thin layer w/olive oil spray(makes it not stick, easier to wash)