Phil Gaimon’s Strava KOM Cleansing

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I saw a few days ago, on multiple internet sites, articles about Phil Gaimon riding around LA and taking Strava KOM’s from Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka, Thorfinn-Sassquatch.   Nick had a doping sanction issue and has a time-out from racing for the rest of his life.  That didn’t stop Nick from setting Strava KOM’s all over Los Angeles.

So Phil, who lives in the area, decided to allocate a month of his soon-to-be retirement and take most, if not all of Thorfinn’s records.  I got a lot of emails, and comments here, about this.  I was going to post on it when I first saw it last week, but didn’t have the energy.  Maybe still don’t.

Although, I think it was my original idea, which was a April Fools post this year, I applaud Phil for doing this.  I wish I hadn’t been out of commission for the full month of November and I would have ridden a few of those climbs with Phil.  I was heading out to LA to ride the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride in early November and was hoping to do Phil’s Grand Fondo a couple days later. (He has lots of cookies for rest stops.)  Maybe he’ll leave a couple for the rest of us.

Phil only went up Latigo around 9 minutes faster than me.  I’ve only ridden it a few times, and have always stopped before the top to eat some watermelon, so he probably only beat me by 4 minutes or so.   I think I need a shorter, steeper climb anyway.

Here is the link to Cyclingtips for Phil’s own description of his quest.  It isn’t a bad way to get the lay of the land out in LA, huh?

Phil and my buddy, Brad Huff, showing off the guns.

Phil and my buddy, Brad Huff, showing off the guns.



18 thoughts on “Phil Gaimon’s Strava KOM Cleansing

  1. KrakatoaEastofJava

    To quote Phil:
    “I really don’t have any beef with Levi,” Gaimon notes. “His situation is a little more complicated than someone who is just doping to get KOMs.”

    Glad he snagged one way from Levi anyway!

  2. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Especially considering that Strava is just as susceptible to “mechanical-specific” cheating as it is to doping-specific.
    …IE, a guy could do a KOM in his car and Strava would be none the wiser. Sounds like Thorfinn just may have been twisted enough to garner those KOMs through “whatever means necessary” to satisfy his ego.

    Phil Gaimon’s time would be better spent going after certain dope-tainted records. For example: How about going after Tommy D’s “Mt Washington” time of 49:24?

  3. FreddieJ


    Back to that April 1 post – you called it, for sure. I would have been happy seeing it come true. Glad to see you’re healing, and happy holidays.

  4. conrad

    So Phil is ostensibly a clean rider that would prefer to keep racing as a pro, but can’t because he wasn’t turning in the results needed. Because at the world tour level everyone is doping. But he doesn’t have a problem with Tom D or Levi. I don’t get it. Does anybody really care that much about strava? Is he out there crushing Pokemon go while he is at it?

  5. DR

    Doping for Profit = good. Doping for Strava KOMs = bad. I’m glad I understand Phil’s doping stance better but I now regret buying his book. From here on out I couldn’t care less what Phil Gaimon is doing.

  6. Terry

    I’ve always thought the individual nature of our sport can make for some extremely dumb, self absorbed people.

  7. Mark

    Strava has KOM’s/Leader boards to add a competitive aspect to every day rides. There are those who insist on playing it down as being stupid or inconsequential because it’s not “racing”. They are correct in that it is not racing. In some ways I am enjoying chasing KOM’s more so than racing these days. I’m in my 40’s now, and all though I’m just as fast/faster than I was even 10 years ago my excitement for racing/training isn’t what it was even 3 or 4 years ago. I still love to ride and still enjoy having the element of competition but also enjoy spending a lot of what was once training time doing other things. Strava allows me to pursue both these days and I get a lot of enjoyment from going after KOM’s. So what I guess I am trying to say is, maybe don’t be so quick to dismiss something just because it’s not your cup of tea.

  8. KrakatoaEastofJava

    To clarify, I don’t think going for Strava records are the masturbatory activity. However, chasing them to unseat this one dude most certainly is.

    And why? Strava probably has more cheating going on than bike racing does. If you’ve trained hard to put your name on that one esteemed climb (especially if in a populated area), you’re probably wasting your effort. Someone else probably wants it worse than you do. Since no one is looking, and there are no officials, there is a massive temptation to cheat. Think of it as dopers combined with anonymous internet trolls. You can’t see them, and their minds are twisted even without blowing thousands of dollars on EPO and other hormones.

    I remember doing the Rosarito-Ensenada (Mexico) 50-mile bike ride back in the mid-80’s with a non-racer buddy of mine. We somehow (all on our own) got a nice position on the starting line. I soon lost my friend to the crowds, and after my little group had reeled-in and dropped the large groups of “early starting” cheaters, we were on our own. And even then, we witnessed situations of people hanging onto VW buses, drafting behind trucks, and then even MORE people who’d simply departed early. I might even refer to it as a PLETHORA of cheaters.

    There’s always someone to fuck it up. Organized bike racing is hardly immune.

  9. stick it to the MAN

    yeah, man! Fuck those guys! I mean, right? Fuck yeah!

    That’ll show em.

    yeah. Fuck yeah. rock and roll.

  10. Chris

    How does one attain a KOM while driving a car in Griffith Park, when there are gates that don’t allow vehicles to access the roads there? Just curious.

  11. Chris

    How would you know what a individual’s personal motivations are, pushing someone to attain their best physical effort on an uphill cycling effort, measured with a stopwatch that also happens to measure geo-position, velocity, and altitude? How would you know if they achieved a time that was higher than most amateurs could measure, via use of performance enhancing substance, if there was testing done and no signs of doping? How would you know if they trained and peaked, possibly utilizing an altitude tent to raise their hematocrit? Would you judge someone who chose to live minimally, sleeping on friends’ couches, essentially out of their car, while bringing a portable altitude tent with him everywhere to ensure a higher than natural hematocrit? Why does it not make sense that a Tour de France “pro” level rider would have to work hard to beat a local rider who frequently trains on a particular climb? Why is is such a newsworthy subject that a skinny climber-type, with a tour background, would be able to break a Strava climbing record set by a rider that weighs 25-30 pounds more, and rides a typical Cat 3-4 racer’s bike with heavy wheels and a 105 gruppo? It’s not newsworthy, and this sort of thing happens all the time. It’s just power to weight ratio. Skinny fast guy will climb better than tall heavy rider. Simple.


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