So You Wanna Be a Pro? What One Rider Learned the Hard Way

Photo courtesy Phil Gaimon

Kenda Pro Cycling Team rider Phil Gaimon shares the lessons he learned as a first-year pro, jumping from amateur racing into the Amgen Tour of California.

Make Friends — An enemy in the wrong place can cost you a win or even a contract.

No Excuses, No Complaining — Racing is hard on everyone, and it can put you in some miserable situations. You may be cold, wet, tired and sore, but no one wants to hear it. Do your job.

Don't Tie Your Happiness to Your Racing — Races are full of ups and downs, and you'll crack if you get carried away after every win, and get down after a streak of bad luck. I was on cloud nine after a stage win in San Dimas, and then bummed a day later when I failed to take the GC win.

Get Over It — You're going to see your teammates naked, and they're going to see you. Especially if Brad Huff is on your team.

Keep It Light and Relaxed — It can be a miserable and sometimes silly sport, but we're all in it together. Leave the competition and anger for the road.

No One Else Cares — You can win all the bike races you want, but when you go home, don't expect the mayor to hand you the key to the city. In fact, they'll still honk at you to get off the road.

Don't Think You're Going to Get Rich — There are about 100 dudes who would do your job 90 percent as well as you, and wouldn't ask for a dime. Put in the time, and you'll get what you deserve.

Phil Gaimon currently races with the Kenda Pro Cycling Team. His first pro cycling season was with Jelly Belly in 2009. Find out more about his racing, coaching and writing at or follow him on Twitter at

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