My Proudest Moment on a Bike: “Thank You,” by Paul Guyot

03.17.2011 | 6:34 am

A “Start Thinking About Questions You’d Like to Ask” Note from Fatty: Next Wednesday, Johan Bruyneel will be joining us at 5:30PM (ET) / 2:30PM (PT) for a live online chat. Which means you get to ask him questions. Which means you ought to start thinking about those questions now. And also, you ought to make sure to schedule your time so you can be here then, cuz this is a pretty rare gig.

A Note from Fatty About Today’s Guest Author: Paul Guyot is a shrinking Clydesdale who began cycling in January, 2010. Since then he’s logged over 3,000 miles, climbed over 35,000 feet, and lost 33 pounds. He will soon take ownership of his first-ever carbon fiber bike (Project One), and has been told it will be like going from a 1972 Ford Country Squire station wagon to a 1990 Ferrari F40. His goal for 2011 is to ride 5,000 miles and lose another 20 pounds. He will ride in the Livestrong Challenge Austin among other centuries. When he’s not on the bike, he writes for the television series LEVERAGE on TNT.

201103170617.jpg My proudest moment on my bike was November 20th, 2010.

Christmas of 2009 I was a fat tub of goo. My day job is quite sedentary, and though I was a fan of pro cycling, as well as other activities, outside of golf now and then, I did nothing, but sit and eat. Then my brother – a coach with Carmichael Training Systems – gave me a road bike for Christmas. I had not been on a bike in seventeen years, not since the “Winery Incident.”

Seventeen years prior, my then girlfriend/now wife and I were invited to go on a cycling tour of several wineries. At the first winery, I collapsed onto the floor, exhausted from the treacherous four miles we’d ridden to get there, and proclaimed that I would never again park my tuckus on a bike. I took a cab home. Seriously.

But Christmas of 2009 I got back on. And I began to learn how to ride. How to shift, how to steer, how to eat before, during and after. And as 2010 arrived, a strange thing happened: I became addicted to cycling.

Then I found Fatty’s blog and became inspired. Not only were there health and lifestyle reasons to ride, but I could actually make a difference. I learned what it means to Fight Like Susan.

So after seventeen years of physical apathy, I couldn’t get enough of cycling. In 2010, I rode my aluminum triple crank over 2500 miles, culminating on November 20th, with the EL TOUR DE TUCSON, a 109-mile race.

People told me it was too much. I should start with the 40-miler, or the 66-miler. My sister-in-law, an avid cyclist, told me horror stories of how she vomited over and over after her first “109.”

But by now, I was in love with the suffering. I was in love with getting healthy. I’d dropped over thirty pounds during the year. And though I’d never ridden more than 62 miles in any one ride, I knew I had to do the 109.

Being such a newbie, a friend of my brother’s decided he’d “help” me. Since there were over 4,000 riders, the start could be insane, and the idea was to get away from all the craziness so you could relax and ride. Sounds good to me.

The start of the race is broken up by ability. Platinum riders – those who will finish in under 5 hours are up front. Followed by Gold, then Silver and so on. I felt a little out of place as my brother’s friend lined us up in the Gold section, me with my 21-pound triple crank, and my FAT CYCLIST jersey. “Just stay with me,” was the last thing I heard as we rolled off.


We started, and within the first few miles of my first ever group ride (oh, did I forget to mention that?) I was digging with all my strength to try to stay with him. My Garmin Edge 500 (thank you, Fatty) registered 19, then 22, then 24 mph.

Less than six miles into the race, that was it. I was cooked. I watched my brother’s friend’s wheel get farther and farther away and all I could think of was Tom Hanks in CASTAWAY… Wilson!!!

As I slowed I was being passed by hundreds of cyclists. And my mindset crashed. My outlook sank. I had blown up within the first 6 miles of a 109-mile race, and now I was sure there was no way I would finish.

I was among 4,000 other cyclists and never felt so alone. I began to cry. Yes, I admit it. I was riding my bike and crying. I had built this moment up all year and I had destroyed it within the first six miles.

And then, around the 22-mile mark, a miracle arrived in the form of Team Fatty. From behind me came a voice: “Hey, a fellow Fatty!” And there were two riders in Fat Cyclist jerseys. They asked how I was and I told them I wasn’t going to make it. They told me I was wrong. That I could do it. And they told me to get on their wheel.

And they pulled me for over three miles. Not just to physical recovery, but emotional recovery. For no other reason than we were part of a family. Team Fatty’s family.

A while after my Fatty angels were long gone, I was cruising along, happy to be back amongst the living, when I encountered another Team Fatty member. He was a large guy, very large, and riding a too-small-for-him hybrid as opposed to a road bike. And he was suffering. A lot.

And I was able to pay it forward. I turned back to my fellow Fatty and said, “Get on my wheel, you’ll be okay.” And I pulled him. Just like the others had pulled me. Up a hill and over, to where he finally recovered. And as I turned off at an aid station to refill my bottles, that Team Fatty member looked at me, smiled and said “Thank you.”

I went on the finish the 109. But hearing that “thank you” is my proudest moment on my bike.


  1. Comment by Larry | 03.17.2011 | 6:48 am

    awesome story

  2. Comment by Nic Grillo | 03.17.2011 | 6:55 am

    Man, I have sooo been there. Aluminum triple and all!

  3. Comment by Gregg | 03.17.2011 | 7:08 am

    Great story, inspiring to say the least. To be able to have both of those experiences, being helped and being able to help, is a great opportunity. You should really think about writing for a living. Oh wait…

  4. Comment by Mark J. | 03.17.2011 | 7:27 am

    Are you trying to make me cry every day Fatty??

    Great story. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Comment by Bob | 03.17.2011 | 7:52 am

    What Mark said X2.

    Thanks Paul and thanks Fatty!

  6. Comment by Debi | 03.17.2011 | 7:57 am

    I can relate to being addicted to cycling. Great story! I can’t wait to get my Team Fatty jersey next time around.

  7. Comment by Barbara | 03.17.2011 | 8:35 am

    Great story, Paul – you have me sitting here in my office crying. Here’s to the power of Team Fatty!

  8. Comment by NYCCarlos | 03.17.2011 | 8:38 am

    :) Fatties are the best cyclists out there… we may not be the fastest, or the most accomplished, but we’re definitely the best.

  9. Comment by MattC | 03.17.2011 | 8:42 am

    AWESOME story (and very well told) Paul! I’ve done 3 of the LIVESTRONG rides now as part of Team Fatty, and a huge part of the fun of those rides (beyond the MOST EXCELLENT support from all the volunteers and the ENTIRE atmosphere of the event I mean) is the numerous Fatties you meet along the way. Like you, I’ve both pulled and taken pulls, and made lots of new friends along the way. I pretty much stopped all other ‘pay to enter’ rides, as they just don’t hold a candle to the LIVESTRONG events. It’s just so great to be part of a really fun TEAM! Keep the rubber-side down and thanks for sharing! FIGHT LIKE SUSAN!

  10. Comment by zach in a cubicle | 03.17.2011 | 8:43 am

    truly awesome.

  11. Comment by Jenni | 03.17.2011 | 8:44 am

    Man, that is a GREAT story.

    Team Fatty is such a family. Really and truly.

    (((((((group hug)))))))

  12. Comment by RedNBlondies | 03.17.2011 | 8:52 am

    Great story. I think I’m going to go for a ride now!

  13. Comment by Limey | 03.17.2011 | 9:05 am

    Great story, very inspirational, I hope we don’t have to nudge heads with a “blob misty thing”. (((((((group hug))))))) too.

  14. Comment by chickenbocks | 03.17.2011 | 9:08 am


  15. Comment by Dan in Sac | 03.17.2011 | 9:10 am


  16. Comment by 3d brian | 03.17.2011 | 9:17 am

    Fatty you shouldn’t let your readers be guest writers – they show you up! Awesome!

  17. Comment by Rosemary | 03.17.2011 | 9:18 am

    Thanks. Tears on St Patricks Day are a good thing. Keep riding. If you see me struggling along soemday, I’d be grateful for a shout out.

  18. Comment by Roses | 03.17.2011 | 9:20 am

    Amazing. I know it’s been said but it’s all I can think.

  19. Comment by hannah | 03.17.2011 | 9:21 am

    Great story Paul. You’re a heckuva human being. Chapeau!

  20. Comment by rich | 03.17.2011 | 9:22 am

    Great story! Thank you for sharing!

  21. Comment by Kirsten | 03.17.2011 | 9:25 am

    Wow. I definitely got teary-eyed reading that. What a beautiful story of caring.

  22. Comment by Wheels | 03.17.2011 | 10:04 am

    Near defeat and camaraderie, and their retellings sure have a way of touching the human spirit. Thanks for sharing, Mark! Proud to be a part of this family!

  23. Comment by Aaron | 03.17.2011 | 10:05 am

    Thanks! I too have been there. This year is my get the damn weight off. I too am getting my first carbon ride, moving away from my hand me down aluminum tripple.

  24. Comment by sllym | 03.17.2011 | 10:23 am

    Man, I’m crying too! That is a great story!!

  25. Comment by Haven (KT) | 03.17.2011 | 10:30 am

    That’s an awesome story, Paul. Thanks for sharing, and being a good exemplar of Team Fatty. I’m so proud to be a part of this Team!

    Your story is also inspirational– my longest ride was 67 miles, and I’d like to do a full century this year. We’re off to a slow start, but I think I can do it.

  26. Comment by Microchip | 03.17.2011 | 10:36 am

    So nice to have such kind support and then help out another. Another great post!

  27. Comment by Paul Guyot | 03.17.2011 | 10:49 am

    Thanks, folks. Seeing those Fatty jerseys was so inspiring on the road.

    I don’t think I can ever do any century in anything but my Fatcyclist garb.

  28. Comment by Sansauto | 03.17.2011 | 10:54 am

    Great story! My first Seattle to Portland was done on a Huffy 10-speed. I think it was made of lead pipes.

  29. Comment by Stephanie | 03.17.2011 | 11:09 am

    Thanks for sharing! After reading (and loving!) all of the guest blogs this week I think it is finally time to purchase my own Fat Cyclist jersey to wear it proudly in my events! One-day STP here I come!

  30. Comment by Moishe | 03.17.2011 | 11:12 am

    Something about cycling brings out the “pay-it-forward”ness of people. It’s one of the best parts of the sport. Thanks for an excellent story!

  31. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.17.2011 | 11:28 am

    Sing it with me, fatties make the cycling world go round.

    Your brother’s friend, wow, not smart.

  32. Comment by Paul Guyot | 03.17.2011 | 11:30 am

    In Wilson’s defense – I think he assumed I was a much better cyclist, or else thought I was already in his draft – not desperately trying to GET to his wheel.

    And failing.

    God, I’m tired just remembering those first 6 miles.

  33. Comment by Easterday | 03.17.2011 | 11:43 am

    Great story Paul, Thanks for sharing. I plan to ride my 21 lbs aluminum triple on its firt century later this year. I already have my Fatty jersey:-)

  34. Comment by FliesOnly | 03.17.2011 | 11:49 am

    Ain’t cyclists cool!

  35. Comment by Paullus | 03.17.2011 | 11:52 am

    I’ve run into that crazy GO!GO!GO! hysteria at the start of a long charity ride. If you haven’t warmed up, if you are starting to breathe heavy and your liver starts to ache – these are signs it is time to back off, recover, and latch on to a slower group.

    My source of discouragement is when the slower group’s pace is too much for me on a series of hill climbs. I’m still working on improving my power to weight ratio – loose moor flab!

  36. Comment by HeidiR | 03.17.2011 | 11:55 am

    Great story, Paul – thanks for sharing! Fatties really are the greatest, aren’t they? I hope to meet some on the road someday – haven’t met any others in Wisconsin yet!

  37. Comment by Papa Bear | 03.17.2011 | 12:30 pm

    Nice! What a great story! I’m doing my first century on May 21st, and I hope I have as good an experience.

    Keep pedaling!
    -Papa Bear

  38. Comment by AngieG | 03.17.2011 | 12:54 pm

    Wow Paul!!! Awesome story. I had the same experience. My first century was Livestrong San Jose in 2009. My Team Fatty Co-Captain @MattC and his brother Greg really helped me get through it. When I hit Metcalf rd and had to climb and climb and climb I felt the way you did, tears and all.
    Then I thought of Fatty and Susan and heard a few shout outs, “Way to Go Fatty”, “Fatty’s rule”. And took a deep breath and kept pedaling.

    Come to Livestrong Davis. We’ll all ride sweep together. :-)

  39. Comment by Sandra | 03.17.2011 | 12:56 pm

    AWESOME!!!!! HIGH 5!!!!

  40. Comment by Janice | 03.17.2011 | 1:02 pm

    Terrific post, and brought tears to my eyes, too. Last year I, too, returned to cycling after being away from it for about 20 years (raising kids), and have become once again addicted. I realize I will never be fast in any way, shape or form, but it is okay, as I have a blast just being on the bike, and being with so many cyclists who truly care about each other. My longest ride has been 80 miles, and I have plans to do a century this year. Keep up the awesome work, Paul, Fatty and the Fat Cyclist teams, you ALL are an inspiration to ALL cyclists!

  41. Comment by 1brownp | 03.17.2011 | 1:32 pm

    Great post, thanks for sharing! Your story is not so unlike my own and I think many others. It’s a great feeling when you start out being inspired by someone else and then go full circle and be able to give that back to someone else.

  42. Comment by The Flyin' Ute | 03.17.2011 | 2:18 pm

    Bro. That story happens all the time to all of us. Speed is relative and so is pain. You will probably never hurt any worse than that ride but you will continue to go faster and faster as you get stronger and fitter.

    Keep after it. I think we have all been on rides where we want to get off our bike and take a cab home. I can think of two Leadville 100’s where that was the case, but if you just keep turning the crank then it get’s better!!!

    Keep riding!

  43. Comment by Michele | 03.17.2011 | 2:49 pm

    Awesome story! Today I cried and I don’t cry.

  44. Comment by Zeeeter | 03.17.2011 | 2:54 pm

    Awesome read, thanks for sharing, and the motivation! I’m finishing (note the positive outlook) my first century in July at Davis, have to admit that I’m scared to death about it at the moment! It beats my prior longest ride by a factor of 10 I suspect, so it’s a good step. Enjoyed reading your story, keep it up!

  45. Comment by Richard | 03.17.2011 | 4:08 pm

    Love it!!! Way to go!

  46. Comment by GJ Jackie | 03.17.2011 | 4:53 pm

    Great story — but am I the one out there who still loves their aluminum triple crank road bike?

  47. Comment by Ian | 03.17.2011 | 5:50 pm

    I didn’t cry. Honest. Kinda.

  48. Comment by elizabeth | 03.17.2011 | 6:13 pm

    the other guest posts were heartfelt and awesome, but this is the one to bring tears to my eyes. i guess it’s becuase i can relate (triple and all). thanks!

  49. Comment by cece | 03.17.2011 | 7:46 pm

    A wonderful story. Thank you so much for telling it! A wonderful team makes all the difference. Allez!

  50. Comment by BamaJim | 03.17.2011 | 8:00 pm

    Great story! I had a similar experience on my first century, getting some help early on, but then being the stronger one later in the ride (though in my case it was the same riders throughout).

    And, I still like my (mostly) aluminum triple.

  51. Comment by Amy | 03.17.2011 | 8:11 pm

    Wow. Great story. The wisdom of Captain Pete comes though…”He wasn’t going very fast, but he was going!” And pretty soon, you have a whole crew of awesome encouraging folks making it all work out.

    I still ride my 1989 Schwinn Aluminum 754, even though I did upgrade to carbon 10 months ago.

  52. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 03.17.2011 | 8:33 pm

    Paul, great story. Team Fatty is a one of a kind group of people for sure. I’ve pulled and been pulled and each time ended up hearing great stories of from my fellow fatties. By the way, Leverage is my favorite show. Can’t wait for new episodes this summer!!!

  53. Comment by Scott R | 03.17.2011 | 10:17 pm

    Another wonderful story – reminds me of how much I love to wear my Fatty jersey to local rides.

    At the Tour de BBQ this past year (Kansas City, where I live), I was a approached by a rider from Lawrence, KS, who apparently is a cousin (or second cousin) of Fatty himself – he saw my jersey and came over to say hello.

    And, as a side note, my wife and I also love Leverage. Can’t get enough of it :-)

  54. Comment by Jenn | 03.18.2011 | 1:57 am

    Awesome story!! Thanks!

  55. Comment by ChrisL905 | 03.18.2011 | 5:42 am

    Fatty you cried a little over this one didn’t you?

  56. Comment by Linda | 03.23.2011 | 6:40 pm

    Oh wow. I read this blog all the time but almost NEVER comment . . . today I must–what an incredible story, and so very well told!! A true inspiration. Thank you!

  57. Comment by Ian | 03.24.2011 | 12:10 am

    Actually, I am mostly worried about that person next to you, Paul. What happened to their face? Did they drink to much water?

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    [...] Friend of Fatty and a writer / producer for Leverage, to write this blog for me for a couple weeks. Paul’s guest-posted here before, and honestly, my biggest concern is that after having him write here for a couple weeks, I [...]


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