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Watch: Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever”, Episode 1: Palomar

"This is all I have left"

Phil Gaimon’s step away from professional cycling has drawn a lot of attention. The former Cannonale-Drapac rider retired at the end of last year and was in the WorldTour ranks for two seasons. Gaimon rode for Jonathan Vaughters team in 2014 and 2016 with a year with Rally Cycling sandwiched in between.

Now, in place of participating in the world’s biggest races, he has taken up tackling prestigious Strava segments embarking on a post-retirement KOM hunting tour. Taking advantage of his post-WordlTour form, Gaimon has targetted some of the most prestigious Strava segments in Southern California where he lives and beyond. He’s called this part of his cycling journey “The Worst Retirement Ever”.

“My climbing skills took me to the top level, but at the end of 2016, at 30 years old, I had to accept that I wasn’t quite good enough to keep at it,” Gaimon admits with a measure of disappointment. “It was time to retire from the pros and get a job.”

The transition to traditional employment has in part taken place with Gaimon working for talent agency Wassermann. However, in his spare time he has target segments on Strava to capture for his own, especially if they belong to ex-dopers. “I was probably top-50 in the world at a riding a bike up a hill, and while that wasn’t enough to keep me in the pros, I doubt I’ll ever be that good at anything again,” Gaimon says.

Gaimon explains, in the first episode of his mini-series which focuses on his Palomar KOM attempt, that real pro’s don’t care about getting Strava segments. “Now this is all I have left,” Gaimon adds which a laugh.

In order to have the best shot at capturing segments, Gaimon has carefully selected his equipment and even made modifications to his Cannondale SuperSix Evo bike including chopping off the ends of his drop bars. “I want to be as obnoxious as possible with this bike setup,” Gaimon says about the bike.

There are a planned 10 episodes in the “Worst Retirement Ever” series.