From the Library: Pro Cycling on $10 A Day


This is a story filled with cheap food and even more cheap motel rooms, of contract negotiations, of feeling good (relatively speaking) about a $15,000 per year salary, and this from someone with one of the most recognizable names in the current roster of American cycling who, even in my heyday, would have dropped me in the first mile, no better make that five miles (i can't believe i would have ever been that bad) of a training ride. It makes you wonder what less well known pros have to put up with.

Gone are the days when we would have to wait until a person would reach their death bed before publishing an autobiographical accounting of themselves, or at least until they had reached retirement age. Has Phil even reached the mid-point of his cycling career? Has he even had enough race experience to fill a book? Or will the content all be so much drivel? These are some of the questions i asked myself while waiting in the slowly shuffling line to purchase my copy. After reading the first number of pages i was a little apprehensive that the story would be little more than a collection of incidents on the bumpy road to Continental Pro-dom and, while there is certainly a lot of that, i found myself getting more involved the further into the story that i read. It is intriguing the ways that riders of Gaimon's calibre and credentials must forge a balance between their lives within racing and outside of it. They ride that fine line of moderate success, with failure on one side, and glory on the other; any number of obstacles capable of sending them one way or the other. 

There is also some terrific insight in the pages, things that i had not considered, never been in a position to do so, such as: "A lot of guys end their careers that way. They ask for more money than they're worth, and act surprised when they don't get it. It's a way of quitting while leaving the final decision to someone else. Maybe he wasn't emotionally ready to make it himself, or admit it to others."

Gaimon, Phil   Pro Cycling on $10 A Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro   Boulder, CO: Velo Press, 2014

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