FasCat Athlete and Team Cannondale Rider, Phil Gaimon is back in the European peloton for 2016 and off to a good start having just finished Provence and Haut Var. We asked Phil for his take on the racing in San Luis and Europe so far this season plus his winter training, weight loss, jet lag, motivation and of course cookies.
How was San Luis & your first set of euro races and have you bought stock in 3M, yet?
San Luis was long, hot and much more Tegadermy than expected. I’d hoped for a shot at one of the stages where I’d ridden well in 2014, but the lack of skin and sleep derailed that. I was pleasantly surprised just to be able to help the team and finish. The French races last week were good to get reacquainted with the roads and European racing style. I dodged some road furniture, ripped some roundabouts, attacked on some climbs, and enjoyed a croissant and steak tartare.
You tested with Inigo again at CU Sports Med this winter, what else did you do different these off season that you feel has helped you for next year?
With input from Vaughters and the team, Frank and I put together a good gym routine this year. It was complete, but it didn’t have me in there for a million hours, and I was able to do some good endurance in between. A goal for this season will be to stay fit year-round and be useful at every race, rather than big peaks and valleys, so we put in a good foundation.
Any races on tap for you this year that you are most amped for?
Any of the races in Europe are a great experience. There’s an energy here and real fans that can’t be beat, but of course the Tour of California is a home race for me, so that’s always the favorite.
Have a particular playlist or ritual that helps you get amped up on the way to those races?
I mostly just listen to podcasts. I don’t need help getting amped. I use the iPod to be distracted and stay relaxed.
Pro Cycling is very demanding with little reward for most. What keeps you motivated through the difficult times such as being in a foreign country with half your skin gone?
You’re right. I quit.
No, that’s a tough question for here, because I’m writing a second book to try and answer that. The very short version is that bike racing is in me, and I sort of have to do it. I find that the teamwork and competition and work is a metaphor for everything in life, and I’ve grown and learned so much since I started, I’ll keep going as long as I can.
What is your favorite training ride / workout?
Please, don’t make me do sprints anymore, Frank. Every time I sprint, an angel sees me and laughs, and then falls to hell.
Any tips for beating the “Jet Lag” on Trans-Oceanic flights?
I wish I knew. Melatonin when it gets dark (not right before bed), and then set an alarm for the time you want to wake up and use a Philips GoLITE or similar. Those are supposed to help your body adjust, but it’s always a struggle in my experience.
Favorite cookie in Europe? Or non-cookie treat, if that’s possible?
Cookies are hard to find in Spain. I’m thinking about a weekly cookie party in Girona, but I don’t know how to bake. They do great chocolate muffins here, which might get me by for a few weeks.
You’ve leaned up a lot for this season. What’s your strategy for staying on top of caloric intake for the big stage races?
I’ve actually weighed about the same for my whole racing career. My diet these days is lots of veggies and protein and good fats, and then we adjust the carbs for how much I’m riding. So the basic eggs for breakfast, chicken at lunch, fish or steak at dinner, and then during a stage race, I’ll up the oatmeal and rice.
Favorite balm for road rash?
It’s all Tegaderm, keeping it covered until it’s ready for air. Someone at 3M read my book and sends me a box whenever I need it. I’m not proud of that, but it beats the Saran Wrap I was using back in the day.
No cookies were harmed nor eaten during this interview. Phil’s a professional athlete, don’t try this at home. He’s also a FasCat Athlete but you can be too. To inquire, please call 720.406.7444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a New Athlete Questionnaire. Otherwise you can buy Phil’s book, Pro Cycling on $10 a Day. Available worldwide.