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The active career of a professional cyclist is a relatively short one. While there certainly are some exceptions, most pros retire in their early 30s.
As an athlete, their whole life revolves around the next training session, the next race, the next goal and the next season. Their lives are filled with travel and their social circles tend to consists of other cyclists with the same lifestyle.
And so, being a professional cyclist is so much more than a job. For most, it’s an identity and a way of life. Losing that when retirement comes can be very difficult and each athlete copes with it differently.
In this mini-series, we spoke with four cyclists about retirement, and their lives after racing. While some have moved away from cycling, others are finding retirement quite difficult.
In this first instalment, we chatted with American Phil Gaimon about his self-proclaimed “worst retirement ever.”
The freshly crowned American national hill climbing champion, Gaimon retired at the end of the 2016 season while riding for UCI WorldTour team Cannondale-Drapac.
Gaimon is a noted blogger, podcaster and author of three books. Since retiring, he’s been going after some of the hottest-contested Strava segments in the US, capturing his attempt in a YouTube series entitled, Worst Retirement Ever.
“I still get to compete, even if it is just with myself and even if it’s just setting personal records,” Gaimon told CyclingTips.
“There are still no regrets [about retiring]. It was pretty clear to me what I was going to miss and what I needed to do in my life to replace those things, who I was going to keep in touch with and how I was going to still be competitive. So far it seems like I haven’t screwed up too bad.”
Enjoy our chat with Gaimon here, and be sure to come back later for chats with Swedish rider Emma Johannson and cycling couple Will and Shoshana Routley.