Why I Ride

09.8.2011 | 10:26 am

Note: While Fatty is cycling away in France with ANDY FREAKING HAMPSTEN, Paul Guyot has been guest blogging for him.

For my final post here I wanted to get a bit more serious. Not a lot, but some.

First, I want to thank Elden for letting me come into his house and roam around, play with everything, raid the fridge and just be goofy. He is a first-class human. More on that later.

Second, I want to thank all of you. Seriously. You made these two weeks fun, and to be honest, when I accepted the gig, I was slightly terrified. I write stuff that millions of people see each week, but writing for Fatty and Team Fatty is true pressure. Anyone can write a good post here or there – but to do it day in and day out, year after year as Fatty does – well, I could never do that.

And an extra BIG thank you for all the kind words about Bucky. He loved his 15 minutes and hopefully we’ll see a lot of you in Utah next year.

So… this cycling thing is new to me. As mentioned, I only started riding in January of 2010. Since then I’m on my second bike, spent way too much $$ on gear, have had a serious mtn bike crash, done a couple of centuries, lost a bunch of weight, and became completely addicted.

I’m addicted to the pleasures of riding. Seeing, hearing, smelling things you cannot experience in a car.

I’m addicted to the health aspect of it. Addicted to the weight loss. If they’d only lock up the people who make fried food I’d lose even more weight. But it was tough in the beginning. I had to be convinced. I had to be inspired.

One of the first blogs I came across was the Amazing 39 Stone Cyclist. Who is now the Former 39 Stone cyclist. For those that don’t know – 39 stone is equal to 546 pounds. That’s what he weighed. 546 pounds. His doctor said he needed surgery or he would die. So what did he do?

He did not have surgery. He started riding a bike. A lot. And he lost weight. A lot. Now he is a local hero and motivational speaker in Great Britain. He’s won awards. And he continues to push himself. Check out the photos on his blog – if you want your mind blown. His name is Gary Brennan. I call him Gaz. And he’s one of the major inspirations on my early rides where I was learning to push myself.

I also ride because of Fatty. I found this blog in February of 2010 by googling “cycling” and “fat” together. I had no idea who Fatty was, but I was entertained by his writing, and then I became moved and inspired by his story of Susan. Everyone one of us knows what it means to Fight Like Susan.

Though Fatty and I have never met face-to-face I call him a friend. I believe he is one of the most generous, kind-hearted and dedicated people I know. I’m not sure all of you truly grasp the amount of time and effort he puts into this blog and his fundraising. And he does it all for nothing. Sure he gets some SWAG now and then, but when you do the math, he is basically doing all this for free. And a lot of people take it for granted.

I also ride for my job. As a writer, a lot of my “work” time is spent thinking. Imagining. Observing. Making up crap. Riding a bike has been the best muse I’ve ever had. Being outside just flat feels better than being inside. Being healthy feels better than not being healthy. And when one is feeling better, one is thinking better, and thus – I’m a better writer now because of cycling than I ever was before.

But what I ride most for is the suffering. I’m addicted to the suffering. I love the pain. I love the agony. I love it because I know what’s on the other side. I love it because I know – when I don’t quit, when I don’t give up, when I push through the pain – the feeling afterward is unlike anything.

I joked yesterday about what I’ve learned on the bike. Well, the single greatest thing I have truly learned on the bike is what Ken Chlouber from Leadville preaches every year.

You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.

I have not ridden Leadville. I could not. Yet. I have done nothing like it. A lot of you have not, and could not. But…

We can all DIG DEEP. We are all better than we think we are, we can all do more than we think we can.

This is an absolute truth. I have not ridden Leadville, but I have experienced exactly what Ken preaches – I have learned from the past year and a half on the bike that I can do WAY more than I thought I could. I am WAY better than I thought I was.

And so are you.

That is why I ride. To push myself. To be better. To do more. To dig deep. To hurt. To suffer. And then come through the other side. When I ride there is no red carpet at the end, no buckle, no photographers. It is just me and my bike. But the feeling is the same.

Whether it’s the 100 miles of Leadville, or whether it’s the 6% hill at the end of your neighborhood – You Can Do It. You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.

My son knows it now. A lot of you know it. And the rest of you will know it. I promise you.

Lastly, Fatty’s blog led me to Livestrong which I’ve already talked about here. And I now ride for Livestrong and the 28 million. This is the part where I post a link to my Livestrong fundraising page and ask you to donate. And tell you that you could win a new Trek Livestrong bike courtesy of Trek.

But, wait. There’s more!!!

In the spirit of all of Fatty’s great fundraising contests, the prize pool has just increased. In addition to the Trek Livestrong bike being given away, and in addition to the second Trek Livestrong bike that will be given away if I hit $10,000, there is a NEW INCENTIVE:

If I hit my fundraising goal of $10,000 one lucky donator will win a VIP VISIT TO THE SET OF TNT’S LEVERAGE – Currently being shot on location in Portland, OR.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness first-hand the magic of television. Mingle with writers, stars and dolly grips! Eat your own weight in snacks from the craft service table.

TERMS: Based on availability and to be scheduled at a mutually convenient date, you and a guest will have a 3-hour visit to the set of LEVERAGE. Please note that due to production scheduling restraints, most likely you will have approximately a two-week notice to book the trip. You will liaise with a production representative to work out all the logistical details. Airfare, transportation, and accommodations not included. Must be redeemed within calendar year of 2012. Cannot be transferred, re-auctioned or resold. Must be at least 18-years of age to redeem.

For every $5 you donate you will get one chance at the raffle for this amazing prize. Prize to only be awarded if I hit hit the $10,000.00 goal. So dig deep. Give hope. Be courageous.


Once again, thanks for putting up with me. I know we are all looking forward to the return of Fatty and his stories of France, and getting this blog back on track.

PS – thanks to everyone who donated to my Livestrong page!


  1. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.8.2011 | 10:33 am

    Granted OI have not finished my first bowl of coffee, but where’s the link to your page, Paul? Is it in the post and I missed it?

    Thanks for housesitting for Fatty! You did what few thought could be done, filled his shoes. Despite all the teasing about Fatty who, he is certainly much loved and vaunted and you were a brave man to step forward!

    Hope you reach your goal for Austin and I know we all look forward to continuing to hear about your own cycling progress, as well as that of the 2023 Maillot Jaune. Thanks for playing and again, job seriously well done!

  2. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.8.2011 | 10:34 am

    Argh – hit submit before the editorial check and all before coffee. Dammit – I would pay good money to have comments be editable!

  3. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.8.2011 | 10:49 am

    This blog has never been OFF TRACK! Your efforts, I am sure, have convinced Fatty to take many more vacations. Since you did, in fact, “fill his shoes” (like my wife said above) you might do the generous thing and get him some new ones since you definitely stretched them out.

    Looking forward to Fatty’s next trip away. And Paul, THANK YOU.

  4. Comment by Chris | 09.8.2011 | 11:35 am

    It’s been enjoyable reading your guest post(s) vs not getting my Fatty Fix. Thanks

    I was curious what shops/trails/rides you like in the STL.

  5. Comment by Dan in Sac | 09.8.2011 | 11:50 am

    Thanks for sharing your stories and “interviews” while Fatty is out.

    Donation made to LAF. Let’s make that goal for $10K!

  6. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.8.2011 | 11:54 am

    thanks for your enjoyable efforts, Paul!

  7. Comment by Turn The Damn Cranks | 09.8.2011 | 12:07 pm

    Thanks for a couple of weeks of great writing. Really enjoyable stuff. Maybe Fatty can have you pop in for an update in the future — about Bucky, of course! :)

  8. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 09.8.2011 | 12:46 pm

    I enjoyed your posts very much, Paul! I would love to see future Bucky posts and posts about your own cycling adventures and progress.

  9. Comment by skippy | 09.8.2011 | 12:55 pm

    This is i hope the link to “former 39 stone”’s blog which comes to my email regularly :http://wp.me/pJToq-CH

    Visiting Bowden,UK i regularly ride in the area he lives but not seen him on the bike .

    Your blog address please as your family like the Flanagans provide inspiration to others and as 911 is current i wish you could do one more post highlighting the Armed and Civilian services that we all take for granted many of whom join in the 100MON !

  10. Comment by Lynda | 09.8.2011 | 1:32 pm

    Thanks Paul for a very enjoyable two weeks! I admire how you have made cycling a part of who you now are, and I hope maybe I can do some of the same. Love the quote from Ken Chlouber. And thanks for a chance to donate to Livestrong on your page.

  11. Comment by Lynda | 09.8.2011 | 1:33 pm

    …and give our love to Bucky–what a kid!

  12. Comment by Susie | 09.8.2011 | 1:51 pm

    Thanks for your guest blogs — I loved every one. In case you didn’t know, Bucky got a shout out on Dave Zabriskie’s blog at http://davezabriskie.com/?p=725.

  13. Comment by Dave T | 09.8.2011 | 2:59 pm

    Thank you Paul for writing such fantastic posts over the last few weeks, I have really enjoyed every one. Although I try and ride every weekend with my son, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3_A44HUeII I don’t seem to have time to ride during the week. I have a bike at work but it needs a few parts after today’s post I’m defiantly feeling very motivated to fix it and get out there. Thank you for that.

  14. Comment by Jolene | 09.8.2011 | 3:16 pm

    Great to read your posts Paul- and welcome to the addiction! Come ride with us here in Utah!

  15. Comment by Cookster | 09.8.2011 | 3:23 pm

    Thanks for all the hard work keeping the blog going. Hopefully as most have suggested you will be able to do guest posts to keep us filled in about the world of Bucky and his support team.

    Well done.

    ps keep the bike race con in the back of your mind it might pan out to something truely funny.

  16. Comment by Paul Guyot | 09.8.2011 | 3:25 pm

    @Susie — I had not seen that. Thanks!

    @Dave T — fantastic video. You guys look awesome!

    @All StL folks — I ride the Wildwood/Eureka area mostly. Sometimes as far south as Fenton, sometimes as far north as Maryland Heights.

    Friday morning around 7am I will be heading west on Wildhorse Creek, to Ossenfort, to Melrose, Fox Creek, up the Six Flags climb, back on Melrose, over to Woods, then to Manchester, back up 109 to Babler, then back home via WHC.

    Any other StL Fatties out there, come along!

  17. Comment by Me | 09.8.2011 | 3:38 pm

    You haven’t ridden in West County if you haven’t done Orrville Rd. Grew up there. If you like Ossenfort, you’ll like Orrville (and Shephard). Since you are on WHC, you can connect via Eatherton to Strecker to Valley to Clarskon and Clayton where you can easily replinish. But’ I’m sure you’ve done this many times.

    Ride to St Albans was better before the development when we had Hhwy T all to ourselves and it was just a corner market by the RR tracks.

    Honestly, didn’t enjoy the guest blogging, but kept that to myself until now. But you’re riding my old stomping grounds, so perhaps you can’t be as bad a the look-at-me blog posts made you to be.


  18. Comment by Paul Guyot | 09.8.2011 | 3:51 pm

    @Me — Actually I am as bad as my blog posts. Even worse to be truthful. I doubt Fatty will let someone as self-absorbed as I am back here anytime soon.

    But kudos to you for being so perceptive.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a mirror waiting.

  19. Comment by Me | 09.8.2011 | 3:58 pm

    Fair enough. As was said in Days of Thunder, “now go get your own car.” Or something like that.

  20. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 09.8.2011 | 4:07 pm

    Thank you Paul for your guest posts.
    They have been a delight to read.
    Good luck to Bucky and you.

  21. Comment by SueM | 09.8.2011 | 4:14 pm

    Paul – this has been great. Loved your writing and your posts. Please come back as a guest now and then and give us updates on your wonderful son!

  22. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 09.8.2011 | 4:16 pm

    @Me – Yes, Paul’s “look-at-me” posts (as you call them) were a huge departure from the humbleness normally shown by the ultra mega superstar hall-of-fame blogger posts that Fatty writes.

    Aren’t personal blogs by design a look-at-me type of thing?

  23. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 09.8.2011 | 4:18 pm

    Good job Paul – I thought everything about these 2 weeks was excellent. I’m looking forward to meeting you, Bucky and lots of other Fatties next summer!

    Oh, and welcome back tomorrow Fatty – sorry about the dents in the Family Truckster, we were just having fun! :)

  24. Comment by dvhansen | 09.8.2011 | 4:35 pm

    thanks for the entertainment, Paul – i’ve enjoyed all the stories. i’d love to get my boys out riding just like you do with your son – thanks!

  25. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 09.8.2011 | 5:04 pm

    true words!

  26. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.8.2011 | 8:22 pm

    Just finished a 10.5 mile ride w/ my kids 8 and 10, and another 8 yr old friend on the lower slopes of Mt Tam. Looking forward to having them ready for the Fatty’s Famous Family Festival and Tour De Donut next summer, and learning new tricks from Bucky. I think Paul (despite his self absorption ) has admirably reflected the main tenet of this blog. Family.

    Thanks Paul. See you in July.

  27. Comment by Carl | 09.8.2011 | 9:01 pm

    Great posts Paul. My favorites were the one about Jack and today’s.

  28. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 09.8.2011 | 9:35 pm

    Paul, you did a helluva job housesitting. I enjoyed each of your posts. I didn’t find them to be “look-at-me” posts at all, but funny enough I am looking to you now because I, too, believe we are all better than we think we are, we can all do more than we think we can. Thanks for the reminder.

  29. Comment by Elizabeth | 09.8.2011 | 9:58 pm

    Bucky’s kind of stardom will shine much longer than for 15 minutes. In a non-creepy way, of course, we’ll be watching for him throughout the years! :)

  30. Comment by wil | 09.8.2011 | 10:03 pm

    Really enjoyed the posts! Thanks Paul!

  31. Comment by AK_Chick | 09.8.2011 | 11:58 pm

    Say it isn’t so! I LOVED your posts! They were wonderful! I hope to meet you in Austin even though you’re probably going to surpass me in fundraising on Team Fatty. :( I was pretty happy when I joined and smashed the fundraising goal. Alas, I’m not a talented and witty writer like you and Fatty. I don’t know anyone with swag to give away. Sigh. Feel sorry for me yet? ;-) I will miss hearing your stories and reading about Bucky. I hope Fatty has you guest blog when he is on vacation. You are awesome.

    I think that “Me” is really way off base and I have no idea what the heck he/she is referring to with their comment. I would say the vast majority of us really enjoyed your posts.

    Allez Paul!

    Hope we meet in Austin over pie. Or my preferred choice, anything chocolate (but it has to be good chocolate, not cheap chocolate). I’m flying in a week and a couple days early to get in some sightseeing (and WHOLE FOODS!! Born and raised in Alaska so it’s the little things). Can’t wait to hear what is planned for Team Fatty!

  32. Comment by AK_Chick | 09.8.2011 | 11:59 pm

    Dang, forgot to ask, how long do we have to donate? I’m broke until payday which isn’t until next Friday…

  33. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 09.9.2011 | 5:25 am

    For me bike riding has been about seeing how far I can push myself. It is all about showing I am better than I think I am. I reached the point this year where I feel strong on my bike and can just get on it and go. Last year I realized that 50 miles was nothing. Grab some water and some food and just go. This year, that same thing happened for 100 miles. Just get enough water and food and go. Through biking I have gotten below my high school weight and become something at 40 that I never expected to be, an athlete. I can do things on my bike that people I know who are Olympic athletes have been impressed with. Its a strange feeling and in an odd way something I have had to come to grips with.

    Now I am looking at my next challenge. Have some ideas….Maybe something in CO….something at altitude….something with a lot of climbing….something they make movies about…..(But I digress).

    Paul your posts have been great. Above all this blog is about motivating and inspiring people, while being entertaining. You posts are motivating and inspiring and entertaining. Thanks for spending the time with us over the past two weeks. Have a great time in Austin. I rode both LS Davis and Philly this year. I dearly wish I could ride in Austin so I could be the team fatty guy who rode all three centuries this year. But it looks like I am just going to have to be satisfied with a local 100 mile charity ride tomorrow :)

  34. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 09.9.2011 | 5:36 am

    Thanks, Paul! All the best to you!

  35. Comment by The Bike Nazi | 09.9.2011 | 7:49 am

    Paul, Great job. I will book mark your blog and check it out!

  36. Comment by rich | 09.9.2011 | 8:59 am

    Paul, thank you for taking over the reins and keeping things running while Fatty was off messing around.
    Your posts were a joy to read and I hope you start your own blog…you’re a very entertaining writer!
    Good luck on the $10K goal!

  37. Comment by Ginger | 09.9.2011 | 4:46 pm

    Just donated… thanks for your fun posts… I want to be addicted to riding too!

  38. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.10.2011 | 1:01 am

    Fatty! Fatty! What did you bring us from France?

    If you were extremely too busy comparing Champagnes and Brie (it’s a cheese, Elden) in a limestone cave, or just hanging out with Andy (I’m a friend of Fatty) Hampsten, it’s ok. I think we’d all be happy to receive a little picture book from you:

    What page is the Jersey on?

  39. Comment by kevinm | 09.10.2011 | 12:24 pm


    You have done a great job filling in for Fatty. Thank you for allowing us a look into your life and Bucky’s adventures. I enjoy reading about the different members of Team Fatty lives.

    Making a donation to your Livestrong page!

  40. Comment by skippy | 09.10.2011 | 12:45 pm

    Looking at the timeframe of ” me” ’s comments i wonder if there was a thrill in ” having a go ” !

    Spectacular job done by a ” stand in ” over the two weeks ! Fatty will no doubt be full of stories on his return and be wondering at present which of them will measure up to the standard that Paul has applied here .

    Counting on “Fatty” to entertain us and particularly if he has landed a slot on the new ” Trek ” team with his buddy JB or will we have to wait until after the jaunt to deliver the 1125 bikes ?

  41. Comment by ariane.aumaitre | 09.11.2011 | 11:05 am

    Amazing the way you describe what cycling means for you, and also how you talk about suffering, and the way it becomes addictive !!

  42. Comment by Brad | 09.11.2011 | 11:39 am

    Good stuff sir. Don’t be a stranger.

  43. Comment by Jeff T | 09.12.2011 | 11:47 pm

    Great job filling in for Fatty! I enjoyed your posts about your son, Bucky. I agree with many of your reasons for riding. It’s made a big impact in my life as I’ve gotten back on the bike this year after a long, long layoff.

    Now if you want people to tour the set of Leverage, I’m super close as I ride past the sets in South Waterfront all the time. :)


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