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

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

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by Phil Gaimon
     
 

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Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. Now, in

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Overview

Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. Now, in his book Pro Cycling on $10 a Day, Phil brings the full powers of his wit to tell his story.

Presented here as a guide—and a warning—to aspiring racers who dream of joining the professional racing circus, Phil’s adventures in road rash serve as a hilarious and cautionary tale of frustrating team directors and broken promises. Phil’s education in the ways of the peloton, his discouraging negotiations for a better contract, his endless miles crisscrossing America in pursuit of race wins, and his conviction that somewhere just around the corner lies the ticket to the big time fuel this tale of hope and ambition from one of cycling’s best story-tellers.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day chronicles the racer’s daily lot of blood-soaked bandages, sleazy motels, cheap food, and overflowing toilets. But it also celebrates the true beauty of the sport and the worth of the journey, proving in the end that even among the narrow ranks of world-class professional cycling, there will always be room for a hard-working outsider.

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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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937715243
Publisher:
VeloPress
Publication date:
05/05/2014
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
268,145
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

RIDING CLEAN

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.

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