Indianapolis cyclist finds international success - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Indianapolis cyclist finds international success

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Guy East Guy East
Guy and Marsh East, Guy's parents Guy and Marsh East, Guy's parents
Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News

Lance Armstrong remains a split second behind the leader of the Tour de France. Thursday's stage ran along rain-slickened roads south of the French border in Spain. The tour ends in 17 days.

The seven-time champ has inspired cyclists all over the world, including Indianapolis. One young Hoosier rider idolized Armstrong as a child. He's now riding with a legend.

Guy East's passion has turned into his profession.

"It's been a long road. It's up and down. It's a roller coaster every day," said East, admitting his analogy is a lot like cycling itself.

East, who grew up on the north side of Indianapolis, is now one of the top cyclists in the country in the under-23 category. It's a dream he's had since childhood.

"I had pictures of Lance Armstrong everywhere and he was just like my hero and now I'm racing for him," East said.

A member of the Trek LiveSTRONG Development Team, Guy is one of just 11 riders considered the next generation of great cyclists. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong owns the team and occassionally rides with them.

"Just the amount of professionalism that he carries with him and that he expects from the riders and people on the team; it's unique. It's unbelievable," he said.

"He's grown up a lot through this process and it's been neat," said Marsh East, Guy's mother.

East's success has been no accident. From his first race at the Major Taylor Velodrome on a big wheel at age three, he's had ups and downs on a steady stream of two-wheelers. He was pushed to the limit by his father as a 13-year-old during bike rides to Heritage Christian where he went to school.

"He yells out after about two or three miles, he says, 'Dad, slow down, this is no fun,' and he practically has got tears in his eyes," said his father, Guy East.

That was eight years ago.

"I was just miserable, just trying to chase after him. Now it's the other way around," laughed the young cyclist.

"I think he's still rubbing it in from that first time when he was screaming," said his dad.

Now the fans are screaming at races in the United States and in Europe where bicyclists are like rock stars.

"You have people come up to you and they have pictures of you and you're like, 'what, how did you get this picture? How do you even know who I am?'" said East.

At just 21 years old, Guy's career has already taken him all over the world and some might consider that accomplishment enough, just to be a member of a professional racing team. But he wants more.

"I'm shooting for the 2012 Olympics in London," he said. "That's definitely a dream that I have and would like to see come true."

On a recent visit to Indianapolis, I took a ride with Guy at Eagle Creek Park where he's logged thousands of miles. He gave me some cycling tips about going up hills.

"Just want to stay composed and let your body move the bike," he advised.

East said his career choice is not always as easy as it looks."One day you could be on the top of the world and the next you're experiencing some of the most difficult times you've ever had but I think that's life too."

His life, he says, is about balance. Outside of cycling he's likes rock climbing, hiking, canoeing and is an avid Colts fan.

"It's definitely nice to get away from your bike sometimes when you're attached to it for so long," he said.

While cheering on Lance Armstrong during the Tour de France, Guy East will be watching on television in Italy, where he's currently racing. His journey on two wheels was born in Indianapolis, destination unknown.

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