The Phil Cookie: Ask a Pro Book and Cookie Review

I mentioned previously I read Phil Gaimon’s book Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro, so when I needed something to read when relaxing without classes for a month, I looked for another light read. I did not plan on finishing the book in a day, but I did, so I needed a new activity. Then I saw the cookie recipe in the back of the book.

Ask a Pro Phil Gaimon

This book is a compilation of Phil Gaimon’s Ask a Pro columns from Velonews with the occasional additional witty comment you would expect at this point if you are familiar with his work. I enjoyed Pro Cycling on $10 a Day, so I knew I would probably enjoy Ask a Pro, and I was not disappointed. It is rare I laugh out loud at a book, and this was one of them.

The book is split into multiple parts, based on Phil’s journey as a pro, and you can see how some of the answers seem to change throughout the book. Another thing is that some questions may get answered twice, because the answer changed, the same way cycling has changed over the years, just like how now aero bikes are for a lot more than time trials. His answers are honest, sometimes sarcastic, and on occasion point out how ridiculous some of the questions people constantly ask him tend to be when looked at from his perspective.

At the end of the book, he includes the recipe for the Phil Cookie, which includes, peanut butter, peanuts, chocolate chips, pretzels, and homemade peanut brittle. Just reading the ingredients I knew I needed to make this cookie. I also really like cookies and am always hungry right now from beginning to get my training on track for some possible 2020 racing.

Phil Cookie Peanut Brittle
Phil Cookie Cookie dough

I went to the grocery store, bought all of the ingredients, made a huge mess of my kitchen, and learned a few things about baking cookies. Number one was that a stand mixer is a great addition to any kitchen. I went ahead and used mine for all of my mixing for this recipe and highly recommend it. Number two is that this recipe makes twelve big cookies, meaning I had to run three batches in my single oven. If you have two ovens it will be a lot faster. Number four, peanut brittle is actually super easy to make.

The Phil Cookie Ask a Pro

After all of my struggles with spilling flour all over the kitchen when trying to sift and then pour my dry ingredients into my mixer I managed to burn my fingers a few times on the oven when adding toppings to the cookies, but the final product was worth it. The cookies are chewy in the middle, and crisp on the outside, with a texture kind of like a peanut butter cookie. They are also extremely rich, and I could only eat half of one, so I am also sending some to Ohio to my family with my dad this weekend, and I am thinking about bringing some to a group ride one night to share.

Top 5 Cycling & Training Books I've Read

I like reading books, but mainly when they have to do with cycling or triathlon. Lately, I have been picking up a book at night to read instead of watching something on TV or playing on my phone, because it is supposed to help you fall asleep. Sometimes I like to read inspirational stories, other times I like to just read about someone’s journey, and other times I like to read about training.

How Bad do You Want it?  Mat Fitzgerald
Pro Cycling on $10 a Day Phil Gaimon
  1. The Triathlete’s Training Bible - Joe Friel
    This one has a lot of science in it, and I enjoy it for that reason. I am always trying to learn more about how and when I should train and recover. I recommend this especially if you are training for something and coaching yourself, because it can provide a wealth of information. There is also a version specifically designed for cyclists, and I recommend that one as well.

  2. How Bad do you want it? - Matt Fitzgerald
    I bought this book before Ironman Louisville in 2016 in order to help myself mentally prepare by reading stories from top athletes. The one that stuck with me the most in this book was Siri Lindley’s chapter, and I took that with me into my race. I highly recommend it, because it offers something for people like me who have trouble with the mental side of training.

  3. Pro Cycling on $10 a Day - Phil Gaimon
    If you are looking for something funny, enticing, and all around entertaining, this is my top recommendation. I started it and read probably 75% of it in one day. It starts with when Phil first started cycling and chronicles his journey in the world of pro cycling and the struggles that came with it, while not focusing too much on how he was not making enough money and living on people’s couches at times.

  4. Surfacing - Siri Lindley
    Like I mentioned before, I was really interested by Siri Lindley’s story in one of the other books, so I went out and bought her book when it came out, and I was not disappointed. I read the entire book in one flight from Nashville to San Diego shortly after Ironman Louisville in 2016. I found her journey from beginner to world champion triathlete to be very intriguing, especially seeing the way she trained progress throughout the book.

  5. Bike Snob Abroad - BikeSnobNYC
    This is one of my current coffee table books, and a little different from the others, because it is looking at cycling from a different lens than that of a pro cyclist or triathlete, and more from the perspective of an ordinary cyclist exploring how the norms in one country differ from the norms of another when it comes to cycling. I like it, because it is one of those books where I can read a short section, and then step away and come back much later and still enjoy it without feeling like I missed something.

Training in Nashville

I work in a bike shop and we get questions all the time about where people should go to train, so I thought I would create a post with just that. Here is your guide to training in Nashville.

Centennial Sportsplex

Centennial Sportsplex


Pool Swimming. Do you like a cold pool or a warm pool?
If the answer is cold, my recommendation is the Centennial Sportsplex on West End. This is also a good option if you are staying downtown. It is a Olympic size pool, set up short course most of the year, except during the summer. They have anywhere between two and seven lap lanes available and the pool is open 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you prefer a structured workout, I work for Nashville Aquatic Club as a masters coach and highly recommend you look into joining us for a workout.
If the answer is warm, the local YMCA’s are a great option, if they have enough lanes. They have between three and six lap lanes, depending on the Y. I recommend Maryland Farms in Brentwood at 6:30 p.m., because it is normally quiet then, and it is open until 9:45 p.m. if you are a night owl.
An option in the middle would be also in Brentwood, the Indoor Sports Complex, which is an Olympic size pool with four to eight lap lanes available and is not too warm or too cold.

Open Water. I recommend going with the Nashville Aquatic Club group out to Percy Priest Lake. You can go to the public areas on your own, but some have heavy boat traffic, which is why I recommend a group in a cove.

Natchez Trace Bridge

Natchez Trace Bridge


If you are downtown, your closest option will be Shelby Bottoms Greenway, from there you can get on roads and follow the Music City Bikeway, which goes all the way to Belle Meade or follow the Music City Bikeway the other way on Shelby Bottoms to the Stones River Greenway, ending at the Percy Priest Dam.

If you are on the west side of town, I recommend either finding the greenways in Percy Warner and Edwin Warner Parks or coming out to where I like to ride on routes near the Natchez Trace. I can provide Strava links to routes or map some, but my favorite is to ride out the Natachez Trace from Highway 100, headed south. You get off at the Lieper’s Fork exit and stop by either Red Bird Coffee or Puckett’s Grocery for a minute and then take back roads back through Franklin. There are a few options for the route back, and I can provide the exact route if someone is interested. It has a lot of rolling hills, but only one significant climb up the trace entrance.

Belle Meade Boulevard

Belle Meade Boulevard


If you want to get out of the city, any of the greenways I recommend for biking are also good for running. Aside from that, I also recommend Belle Meade Boulevard as a good option for running. It connects to an entrance to Percy Warner Park, and is about five miles total if you go out and back. It is a rolling route, and very shaded in the early morning hours, but it will get extremely hot in the afternoons.

There is also a path in Brentwood starting by the Brentwood Library on Concord Road that is very flat if you prefer a flat route, and another path I like in Franklin. This one starts at the soccer fields at the Franklin Recreation Center and goes along the river, through a neighborhood and into downtown Franklin where you can continue onto a new extension I have not run or on to the sidewalks in Franklin.

Those are all of my best suggestions for where to train. I have lived in Nashville since 1996 and once in a while am still finding new places to go run or ride, so I will definitely try to share those with pictures as I stumble upon them.