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Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro

4.2 5
by Phil Gaimon

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Phil Gaimon has no business being a professional cyclist.

Inexplicably forsaking his former life as a couch potato and gamer, Gaimon begin riding in 2004 with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds. By sheer accident, he discovered he was a natural, advancing so rapidly through the amateur ranks that he entered the pro peloton utterly ignorant of a century


Phil Gaimon has no business being a professional cyclist.

Inexplicably forsaking his former life as a couch potato and gamer, Gaimon begin riding in 2004 with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds. By sheer accident, he discovered he was a natural, advancing so rapidly through the amateur ranks that he entered the pro peloton utterly ignorant of a century of cycling etiquette.

During the 2013 season, Gaimon was recruited from the minor leagues to join Team Garmin-Sharp, the moneyball-style, ragtag cycling team of anti-doping advocates that races at the topmost levels of elite cycling.

In his story Pro Cycling on $10 a Day, Gaimon wields the full powers of his sardonic wit to present a hand-me-down guide for aspiring bike racers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Much of Pro Cycling on $10 a Day spins as pure pleasure—an inside account of what it's really like to race for a living and occasionally be among the sport's elite" "The best parts read like an unpretentious insider's diary, full of the kind of wisecracks, gossip and advice traded on memorable long rides." ' — Wall Street Journal

"At a time when pro cycling has struggled with its image, Phil Gaimon has emerged as a refreshing voice from the peloton — intelligent, humorous, articulate, and above all, transparent. As a college-educated latecomer to the sport, as an outsider who struggled to be given a chance, and as someone with the perspective to laugh at the absurdity of being paid to ride a bicycle for a living, Gaimon's insights into the pro cycling world resonate with a wide audience. His self-effacing humor, commitment to clean sport, and extraordinary talent have made him a bit of an everyman hero within pro cycling — a rider you want to hear from, and know more about, win or lose." ' — Velo magazine

"Having watched Phil race over the past few years we know he is a great, versatile rider with a huge amount of talent. Beyond that, he is also funny, smart and unique addition to the team. We think he'll be a great fit both on the road and off and we look forward to helping him take the next step in his career." ' — Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Team Garmin-Sharp

"An outspoken proponent of clean competition, Gaimon sports a tattoo of a bar of soap with the world "'clean' on his right bicep, and he was attracted to Garmin-Sharp for its ethical code." ' — CyclingNews.com

" Pro Cycling on $10 a Day is the story we all want to hear: a regular guy who rides from overweight amateur to European pro in a short time, finding his way and making the best decisions from the resources he had. Phil's story inspires hope in up-and-comers about what hard work can produce. If you listen, pay attention and surround yourself with the best people you can, then no dream is out of touch." ' — Jeremy Powers, professional cyclist for Jelly Belly Cycling Team and Team Rapha-Focus and two-time U.S. Cyclocross National Champion

"We have discovered a light-hearted, hard-working rider with strong convictions." ' — Podium Café ©

"I believed in Phil and he worked hard to make the best of his opportunity in racing. He lived out of his car, trained hard, drove hours to get to races, and always showed up ready to fight at each race. He didn't have it easy" "I never knew what was going to come out of Phil's mouth but I always knew he would race himself into the ground to try and win for himself or the team." ' — Frankie Andreu, Team Director, 5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda, 9-time Tour de France finisher, and 2-time Olympic cyclist

"The first thing you'll notice about Phil's house is a sit-up bench in his living room instead of a TV. The next thing is all the framed Calvin and Hobbes cartoons on the walls. In the strip, Calvin's bike was always trying to kill him and this was true for Phil when he needed race results so bad, he was willing to risk it all. Phil's book tells the story of the guy who mastered his bike, worked hard, and finally found a contract that pays a little more than $10 a day." ' — Gwen Jorgensen, professional triathlete, Olympic athlete, and two-time U.S. National Champion

"Phil Gaimon embodies what every aspiring cyclist wants to be: skinny, fast, and clean. He attacked his dream of going pro so hard he ended up in a nightmare with me. Read his book and you'll realize that Phil speaks the truth: bike racing is hard, but becoming a pro is even harder." ' — Brad Huff, professional cyclist for Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


I’d always wondered what might happen to make a rider dope for the first time. I’m sure every situation is different, whether it comes from a doctor, outside pressure from staff or teammates, or a just a dark moment of personal desperation. I wondered what I would do if, by some miracle, I was signed to a top team and someone handed me a needle at training camp, explaining that I’d be on the next flight home if I didn’t take it. After all I’d been through to get there, would I have the courage to say no? It was a scary thought.

I wanted to raise the stakes on myself, to help remove any temptation I might encounter, so I decided to get a tattoo. The design would be a bar of soap with the word “CLEAN” on it. If I was ever tempted to take something, a tattoo would be another incentive to avoid it, and maybe enough of a statement that my next doctor wouldn’t close the door to ask what drugs I was on. I’d place it on the inside of my lower bicep, to be plainly visible in a victory salute.

I’d never had a tattoo, so in the spring, I mentioned it to my teammate, Nick Waite, at national championships in Greenville. We decided to get it that night, peer pressuring each other into action, but on a Sunday in rural South Carolina, our options were limited. I made some phone calls and convinced one shop to stay open. It was such a simple design, Nick and I didn’t think we needed to go somewhere good. What could go wrong?

We hesitated when we arrived at the small building behind a gas station in nearby Spartanburg. A tall African-American man was walking out. He’d just gotten his son’s name on his chest, and was explaining it to a friend, who wondered why he hadn’t gone with his wife’s name. “See, my son’s gonna be my son forever. But my wife? That bitch could leave me any day.”

Nick and I held strong. We explained our idea to a heavily pierced female tattoo artist with a shaved head. She was pale and overweight, she wore a leather jacket filled with shiny silver buckles and spikes, and her teeth looked like a box of crayons. I went first. Nick looked at my tattoo, which ran the full width of my puny arm, and got the same design 25 percent smaller.

Her work was shaky; maybe she had never worked on anything as scrawny as a bike racer’s arm. Nick and I both had to get our tattoos touched up a few weeks later, but we’d formed a club and made a pact. We’d do our best to spread the word and convince more athletes to get CLEAN tattoos. And if anyone doped, the rest of the club would come and scrape it off with a cheese grater.

Meet the Author

Phil Gaimon is a professional cyclist who will ride for Team Garmin-Sharp in 2014. He is a writer and entrepreneur who retired from laziness and computer games in 2004 in favor of riding a bike to lose weight. Gaimon maintains a blog, Philthethrill.net, on which he chronicles his ceaseless pursuit of the best cookies and milk in America.

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Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
ChristinaU More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as a recreational cyclist and a writer who enjoys good writing. It's neat to hear about the life of a pro cyclist (makes me feel in good company as a starving freelance writer) and Phil is hilarious. So worth picking up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be interesting and fun. Its mostly centered around shorts stories about his experience in pro cycling. Phil's stories are entertaining and give a good look at what the typical pro racer faces in his/her journey to making the pro tour. If you're an avid cycling fan and follow the sport than you'll have no problem following him and if you've ever raced you'll be able to relate to some of what he says also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is simply not a good read.   The format of the book is quick little snaps of stories one after the other in sort of a chronological order.  But the thoughts are so random, its like the author just included some ideas he jotted down on a napkin or something.   Also, if you get this book, you must have some interest in pro cycling, but he is dropping names all over the place.... and I guess they are important people, but if you don't follow the sport --  it really doesn't have the impact that the writer intends.    Also, I feel the book title is very misleading.  "From  Fat Kid to Euro Pro," sounds like a really interesting story.  Except the transformation from "fat kid" to pro cyclist occurs in the first chapter.   The book starts, I was fat in high school, so I started riding a bike.  I lost weight.  In college I joined the cycling team and began a pro career that summer.  Really.  Thats how fast it happens.  Its like he discovered cycling, and BAM- he became a pro.   He even has a pic of his "fat" self as a teen ager... and he's not fat.   I think this is a cheap ploy to make his story seem more remarkable.    I was hoping for a bit of a fun read and an inside look onto the pro tour...while he does share some great insighs of the true life of semi pro, amatuer and small -ball club racing...  really i wish some one else wrote it.   Its meh.   Not worth the cost of admission...worth checking out at your library though- especially if you are really really into pro cycling. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may a little biased because I race bikes and love racing stories.  Phil has a way of bringing things to life that makes you feel like you are on the bike with him.  I devoured his book, reading it in two sittings.  Like a spoon and a half gallon of  Edy's slow churned Cookie Dough ice cream, I couldn't put it down until it was finished.  I can't wait to read what he has next.  Maybe some good fiction.  He reminds me a little of Steinbeck's Tiajuana Flats.  A rousing good time that has you cheering the hero, Phil, all the way