Ask a Pro: Everything You Should Be Scared to Know about Pro Cycling by Phil Gaimon
ASK A PRO is a compilation of Q&A covering lots of different cycling topics. Many of the answers are tongue-in-check, but some are serious. I found it fun to leaf through the questions, stopping on subjects of interest. A lot of the questions are from pro wannabes, who try to pry “power” secrets from the author.
I noticed that quite a few of the questions revolve around male bikers shaving their legs. This is obviously a hot topic. Here’s one example:
Q: I’m 17 and a new racer. I’ve started shaving my legs, and my girlfriend makes fun of me for it. How can I be accepted by my friends?
A: The truth behind leg shaving is that there’s really no good reason for it, other than being accepted by the racing community and looking cool.
Another one on same subject, from a fan trying to cope with questions from the fairer sex:
Q: How should I explain my shaved legs to girls? Do you shave yours year-round, or only during the racing season?
A: You don’t owe them any explanation. Instead, explain why they should thank you:
On a more serious note, when asked about how he handles the inevitable accident, the author explains his “Stages of crash reaction:
Stage 1: Denial; Stage 2: Screaming profanities.
Judging by my history, if I die in a bike race, my last words will almost certainly be four letters at high decibels.”
Sometimes, I couldn’t quite tell if the author was kidding or not. On the subject of obeying red lights: “I wouldn’t say that I run red lights, but I also treat them as four-way stops.”
Aside from the zany and light-hearted topics, I was happy to see the author address safety—namely wearing a helmet:
Q: Why do so many pro riders still feel the need to train with no helmet?
A: That’s a darn good question. A lot of guys are too cool for helmets, which makes them just cool enough for debilitating brain injuries.
So all in all, I found ASK A PRO to be a fun, quick read. There are some good tips for the aspiring racer, but mostly a lot of light-hearted banter. The illustrations and photos are fun. There are some useful appendices at the rear of the book:
Appendix A: HOW TO WIN THE RACE BUFFET
Appendix B: A GUIDE TO HOST HOUSING
Appendix C: RACE WARM-UP ROUTINE
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.