A professional road cyclist’s resume might be full of stage wins, King or Queen of the Mountain honors, and time trial records. But barring any victories in the Grand Tours—la Vuelta a España, il Giro d’Italia, and especially le Tour de France—few outside of the pro tour pay much attention.
Ex-pro Phil Gaimon found that out late last October, the same weekend he also found out his pro career was over. After the team he’d been hoping to sign a contract with named its 2017 roster, and he wasn’t on it, Gaimon went out on a group ride in Los Angeles. Without intending to, he set a new fastest time on the Strava segment that runs up Nichols Canyon Road to Mullholland Drive—one of more than 10 million user-generated timed routes on the social cycling app.
In his eight-year career, Gaimon won the Redlands Bicycle Classic twice, in 2012 and ’15, and finished second to Colombian Nairo Quintana in the 2014 Tour of San Luis—that same year, Quintana won both il Giro and la Vuelta. As proud as Gaimon was about his achievements as a pro, somehow people were more impressed by this 9:57 Strava record on the Nichols Canyon route. And, Gaimon says, “I could name 50 guys who could smash me.”