Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hey my brother, can I borrow a copy of your "Hey Soul Classics?"

No, my brother, you have to go buy your own.

A classic line from what is now, at least to the kids today, a classic movie. I was reminded of this line while reading Phil Gaimon's "Pro Cycling on $10 a Day." I would love to loan you my copy of the book, but no, my brother, you have to go buy your own. If you would like to borrow a book, I'm sure I have an old copy of "It's Not About the Bike" lying around somewhere. That book you can borrow. You should actually crack open your wallet and buy Phil's book. After you read it, you'll be glad you did. First and foremost, it's a great book. Second, he deserves the money.

If you have ever wondered what your life may have been like if you were just a little faster, this book might make you happy that you were born with middle of the pack genetics. That was the case for me in any event. Phil provides what appears to be a very honest look at what it can take to become, and actually stay, a Pro cyclist. To a large extent it isn't pretty. For a few, it might be a quick ride to the top, but for most, it is a long road of lousy pay, bad food, crappy hotel rooms, road rash, broken promises, misguided team directors, and lots and lots of training while living like a monk.

His book is refreshingly honest. Surprisingly honest in many cases. If a sponsor or racer did right by Phil, he will let you know. Although he has moved on from the Bissell team, he still regularly pimps their vacuums on social media. If a team did wrong by him, well, he will definitely let you know that, and he'll name some names while doing it.

In the Twitter age we occasionally get brief glimpses of what is actually on a Pro cyclists mind, but by and large we are outsiders. The public gets to know very little about what really goes on amongst the professional ranks. This book truly pulls back the curtain, giving far more than a glimpse of what it might be like if you were a little faster, and whole lot more motivated. I should probably remove the word "you" and change it to "I."

After reading the book, I wondered what I would do if I was born with Phil Gaimon's genetics. If I had to guess, I'm guessing that I would have wasted them to a large extent, and I'd still have my day job doing everything that Lloyd Dobbler didn't want to do. For the record, here's what he didn't want to do: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

Well, that's my second Say Anything reference in one post, so that's a sure sign that it's time to wrap this thing up.

The only problem I have with the book is that it turns out Phil's nickname at one point was Skinny Phil. I guess there can be two Skinny Phil's, but let's face it, Phil Gaimon could probably kick my ass in an arm wrestling competition. I don't want to be known as Skinnier Phil, so I'm going to keep going with my non-ironic nickname of Skinny Phil. Maybe some day if Phil Gaimon does a 'cross race in New England, I can put him into the tape as he's lapping me. There can be only one . . .

So to recap, buy the book. Don't loan it to anyone. Be glad if you have a stable job, unless of course you're one of the rare individuals that has what it takes to make it. If you've read Phil's book, you'll have been warned.

Skinnier Phil

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