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

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

by Phil Gaimon


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In his book Pro Cycling on $10 a Day, Phil Gaimon brings the full powers of his wit to tell his story.

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.

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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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937715243
Publisher: VeloPress
Publication date: 05/05/2014
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 718,816
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 17 - 18 Years

About the Author

Phil Gaimon is a cyclist, writer, and entrepreneur who retired from laziness and computer games in 2004 in favor of riding a bike to lose weight. On a whim, he started racing and soon discovered that he was a natural. Phil advanced rapidly through the amateur ranks and turned professional in his second full year, still ignorant of a century of cycling etiquette. He slowly learned the rules and clawed his way to the top of the American pro ranks, joining Garmin-Sharp in 2014. He maintains a website where he chronicles his ceaseless pursuit of the best cookies and milk in America.

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.

Table of Contents


1 Riding Fixes Everything
2 Take What You Can Get
3 Pay Your Dues
4 Get in Your Damn Car
5 Pay Your Dues Again
6 Purgatory
7 Patience
8 Get Serious
9 You Gotta Believe
10 I Don't Believe It

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