Guest post: CiclaValley talks next Sunday’s Malibu Gran Cookie Fondo with pro cyclist Phil Gaimon

I had the pleasure of attending the LACBC’s Firefly Ball last night as a guest of BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass. Unfortunately, that kept me out late enough that I wasn’t able to get today’s Morning Links ready.

Instead, here’s the guest post from CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew that was delayed by yesterday’s breaking news, as he talks with Toluca Lake resident and pro cyclist Phil Gaimon about next weekend’s inaugural Malibu Gran Cookie Fondo.

Come back over the weekend and we’ll catch up on all the news we missed.

………

Being Mr. CiclaValley has its perks. The top one is that I get to live in the valley, but to add to this charmed lifestyle, I’ve also befriended Toluca Lake resident and pro cyclist Phil Gaimon.

Phil Gaimon, all photos by Zachary Rynew

Phil Gaimon, photos by CiclaValley

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he’s just another regular guy, not this famous, elite athlete with a cult following.

Maybe being really fast and riding expensive bikes would tip you off too, but even then….

Since he’s made this city his home, he’s always made time to help the local cycling community and took it upon himself to organize a cleanup of Mulholland.

To add to it, he’s hosting his inaugural Mailbu Gran Cookie Fondo on November 6th to give enthusiasts a top notch cycling event while also benefitting the City of Hope.

Phil is a pretty straightforward guy and answered some questions about life on the tour and his up coming ride.

Participants in Mulholland clean-up

Participants in Mulholland clean-up

Question: Why Malibu?

Phil Gaimon: Every time I tell someone that I live in Los Angeles, they ask how the hell I can train in a town known only for traffic and movie stars. The truth is that I’ve ridden all over the world, and I can’t say L.A. is the very best, but it’s part of a 20-way tie for a climber like me. Just north of the city, you’ve got the Pacific Coast Highway with the ocean on one side and a ridge of mountains on the other. There are tons of tiny roads up and down that ridge, with Mulholland on top — this twisty, beautiful road where they film every car commercial. You can climb around that ridge for days and never hit the same road twice. SoCal doesn’t have a proper post-season gran fondo, so I thought that the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough would be a fun way to show off my home roads and help L.A. get the reputation it deserves as a cycling destination.

Q: What’s the route like?

PG: We have three lengths: 46 miles, 87, and 118. They’re all really hilly, finishing off with an optional dirt climb that even the locals rarely tackle. Lots of suffering up steep climbs along the oceans, and then at the top you’ll see snowy mountains in the distance and dolphins in the water behind you. The weather is always perfect, and it’s a magical area to ride.

Q: And the cookies?

PG: Cookies are my thing. I think I mentioned in a blog a long time ago that I like them, and it snowballed. Now people bake cookies and bring them to me at races, Team Cannondale and Castelli are selling a cookie-themed team fan jersey, and I’m just embracing it because it’s the best thing I have going, and my teammates are all jealous.

There’s a cool restaurant in Santa Monica called M Street Kitchen, which is known for cookies. When I found out their celebrity chef rides bikes, we got to be friends. Jeff Mahin had just returned from the White House when I met him, so basically Obama tested the cookies for me. Jeff loved the idea of the Gran Fondo (which we’ve now dubbed the “Gran Cookie Dough”). Now we get to offer a great bike ride, and a celebrity chef providing cookies at the top of the climbs and a real gourmet lunch after. Team sponsors are all jumping in, so we’ll have some great swag to go with my local pro friends and Cannondale teammates.

Q: Tell us about the charity you’re supporting.

PG: My dad died of cancer last Fall, and City of Hope is a leading cancer research and treatment center. There’s a cycling club in L.A. called Fireflies that raises money for City of Hope with an annual five-day ride, and my friends there helped make the connection.

Q: Where do we get more information?

PG: Easiest way would be to visit our website, www.philsfondo.com or visit your local Cannondale Dealer for more info.

Q: When/Where/Why?

PG: Sunday, November 6th – Malibu, CA. Bikes, Cookies & Fun!

granfondo

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