Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snake River 2: Electric Boogaloo

There are two ways that any serious cyclist can think about their bike. The more pragmatic look at their ride, no matter how expensive it might be, as a collection of parts...nothing more than a tool in the cycling experience.

The rest of us connect with our bikes as an extension of ourselves. At the very least, we apply human qualities to these inanimate objects. We defend their foibles and tout their accomplishments. They become important to us.

Today when I was dismantling my Specialized(which cracked on the downtube/bottom bracket weld) to send back to the factory for replacement, I was saddened by how this bicycle slowly transformed in front of me from an old friend to a thing. As each component was removed, it lost a little bit more of it's soul.

I'm looking forward to my new frame...I don't like having a collection of parts.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smell The Glove

Carmichael Auditorium
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
$12 Ticket
(Mongo goes to first never the same)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Au Revoir...Ebay Allez

"Double butted elegance born from the storm of the earth
Rigid in stance-subtle in purpose-loyal by nature
Meticulously maintained-gleefully enjoyed… an industrial friend"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Keeping Me Motivated

Though I have a great many pleasures in life, there are few things more enjoyable to Mongo than laying the "smackdown" on poseurs, and whenever possible, "stickin' it to the man".

I hate when a great bicycle is wasted on an undeserving rider. You've seen them... The yuppie on the Litespeed: The fat, dot com guy on the Colnago: The old, retired, hipster on the Serotta. They're all decked out in their Assos and Sidi's, but they don't have the legs or lungs to match. Worst of all, they are rockin' full kits of either their team du jour, or their latest corporate outing. I'm not hating on these people because they have means to buy a great ride... just don't act like a douchebag about it.

Today when Mongo was enjoying a solo ride, jamming on the mp3 to some Tool, and cruising along at about 21, he got jumped by what he thought was one of the above mentioned villains. A blur of logos on a bright orange kit flew by me at a about 27.

Though I was a little surprised how fast this one passed me, I got out of the saddle and did my best Erik Zabel to get on his wheel. It was when I got behind him that I realized that I was in trouble.The Powertap hub...The full Dura-Ace components...The carbon fiber everything else... The impeccably fast cadence. This was no poseur! This dude was a racer... and I was now committed to a showdown.

I wish this tale ended with a triumphant win for Mongo, but unfortunately that didn't happen. The truth is I hung with him for about ten miles (no drafting) in the mid to upper 20's before he jumped me at a light. I didn't have the sprint legs to catch him, so I let him go.

The moral of this story is that I did pretty well for an old guy, but I'll have to keep working hard if I want to beat more than the usual fodder. I'll be ready for you next time "Powertap Guy".
Now, if I could only find that weasel on the Lynskey!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sharpening The Saw

I have always loved the expression "Sweat Equity". (I'm sure I first heard it back in my corporate/management days when I was thinking outside the box and workshopping ideas that turned into a zero-sum game.)

It implies an investment made through hard work rather than financial backing. There is honor, and more importantly, "Street Cred", in sweat equity.

For cyclists, sweat equity is the hundreds of hours in the saddle each year...rain or shine. For skaters, it's getting up after every fall and getting back on the board to try again.

For both, the pursuit of the perfect shred requires 113% ... but that's not a lot to ask when you're doing something you love.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Random Precision

Each one a unique work of art. Form and function expressed with emotion and individuality. Ideas and resolutions in the shapes of possibilities. 169's and 85A's are the messengers of the dream. Live life... Live the dream.

East Carolina 41 (#24) Boise State 38


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Smyrna Bicycles:The Best Bike Shop In The World *

There comes a time in every man's life when he stares at himself in the mirror, casts aside his selfish wants, and looks inward to see how he can do more to help humanity. Unfortunately for me, this hasn't happened yet...I've heard it can be a nice moment.

In this season of praise and togetherness, Mongo wants to thank his pit crew at Smyrna Bicycles. These guys are my buddies, but they also know more about bikes than you do. Without Brown and Tom, my quiver of trusty steeds wouldn't be in such sweet condition.

Don't let the humble exterior of the shop fool you, money is no object for these two where it really counts...Inflated salaries and business trips to Aruba. When they're not scuba diving or "makin' it rain" at some fancy club, you'll find the owners working hard to make sure you love cycling as much as they do. Please check them out...Here (* Northwestern suburbs of Cobb County)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Where Have You Gone...Andy Hampsten?

Not literally... I'm pretty sure he's alive and well, running a bike company with his brother in a small, high-altitude town out west in Calizonaradogon. Maybe it's New Jersey? Anyway... My sentiment is more about lamenting a simpler, more exciting time in bike racing.

I am a fan of professional cycling in the same way that I'm a fan of NFL Football. I know the league, I follow the teams, and I have my favorite players. I'm as disturbed about the state of cycling as I am about the beaching of my beloved Miami Dolphins. Obviously, there are a few slight differences worth mentioning. Cycling today is full of cheaters, liars, greedy bastards, and the French... The Dolphins get the #1 pick in the draft!

I remember when America was the "scrappy little mutt" of international racing. Most people forget how, not too long ago, the good ol' USA was treated like a rented mule by the peleton. Two American cyclists, the Han Solo and Luke Skywalker of scrappy, slapped the smug off the face of those bastards and scared the no deodorant wearing crowd back to their 17th century plumbing and bitterness. Before Armstrong's seven wins and Landis's disgrace, there was Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten.

Three Tour de France wins, a Giro d'Italia win, three Tour de Suisse wins, and a couple of World Championships. Between 1986 and 1992, these two ballers were goin' old school when it was still new school, and showin' Alpe d'Huez what was up, yo!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Greatest Story Never Told

In my own personal Pantheon of mankind's greatest inventions, right up there with nose clippers and the Tokemaster, is the most versatile lubricant and de greaser of our time...WD-40 !

I could spend literally three or four more lines extolling it's virtues, but instead I will reveal the "dirty little secret" that both bike manufacturers and snooty bike mechanics (You know who you are...Tom) don't want you to know... When used properly, WD 40 can keep the drivetrain on everything from your Carbon BMC Team Machine to your newly restored Takara in perfect shape.

Here's how in a few easy to follow steps.

1...Park a '93 Saturn with a Yakima strap rack in your driveway.(Any color, mine happens to be red)

2...Place bike on rack and pull up the hose with the high pressure nozzle

3...With the chainring side facing you, spray WD40(using the red extension thingy) directly into the chain links while backpedaling.

4.. When the chain is saturated, also spray your chainrings

5...Using the hose, rinse off the chainrings and the cassette(If you don't know not to spray water directly at your bottom bracket and hubs, then maybe cycling is a little too complicated for your lifestyle)

6...Stand behind the bike and spin the rear wheel towards you

7...From up close, spray water through the chain as it spools through the derailleur (Make sure the cranks rotate at least four times)

8...Dry chain with towel or t-shirt

9...Lubricate chain with appropriate cycling specific product (I use Pro Road by Finish Line)

10...NEVER, EVER, EVER, use WD 40 in any other way on your bike (Ok, maybe for some light rust removal on the vintage Merckx, but thats it !)

Your Welcome !

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Can Rebuild Him ...

There's nothing better than a cool nickname. Pro athletes, college buddies, little kids, they all have them. What makes them cool is that these names, no matter how silly they sound, were earned. Whether because of an athletic endeavour, a shared experience, a missing chromosome, or simply because you actually do look like Mr. Miyagi, cool nicknames rock!

It is with great pleasure that I announce that I, Mongo Pusher, have been bestowed with a great nickname. I am doubly proud to announce that the nickname comes from a TV character who was played by the actor who starred in my favorite TV show prior to 1980.

Due to my recent dumbass/idiotic/no helmet wearin'/I'm lucky to be alive/ crashes on my mountain bike and skateboard, I will now be known as... Colt Seevers..."The Fall Guy"


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Read A Skateboard Magazine Lately ?

-240 Pages Total

-190 pages of shoe advertisements
-30 pages of pros doing tricks you'll never do...Ever!
-15 pages of semi-retarded interviews with above mentioned pros
- 5 pages of semi-retarded letters from likewise affected skaters and lurkers
-I know I'm old but... Come On !

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cold War Is Over...Trek Shacks Up With Astana !

I was on my regular Monday group ride today, which consisted of only two people, though it regularly draws eager crowds upwards of eight or nine, sometimes including a girl or two, and the peleton and I began a discussion on the state of pro cycling.

After much debate on the wheel sucking abilities of Cadel Evans and who would be more fun to party with, Mario Cipollini or Marco Pantani, we squared off on whether Trek signing with Astana was worthy of an old fashioned embargo "Cuban" style.

Though they are officially a Swiss team, Astana is funded by a conglomerate of investors from Kazakhstan (a.k.a. Russkies). Trek is an American company who previously supplied American teams U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel on their way to seven Tour de France wins. (Thank you Lance "I never doped" Armstrong)

The marriage of these two just seems wrong to me. It's the same thing as the marriage of Olympians Bart Connor and Nadia Comaneci. (I know she's Romanian, but back then it was all the same) It's... Un American.

Do I Have To Like Cyclocross ?

I have been a cyclist my entire life. Road bikes-Mountain bikes-BMX- Beach cruisers-I've rocked them all. I purposely didn't mention Recumbents or Trikes because you have to be upright and uncomfortable for it to be considered cycling.

The point I'm trying to make is that I love cycling in all it's forms and machinations but I have never been able to sink my teeth into cyclocross. Maybe it's because my name isn't Sven, or because I don't live in a country with limited daylight and humor, but I just never got it. Oh, I get it as a test of technical and masochistic skill, but my big question is always why?

Give me a four inch travel Mountain bike or a laser fast Road machine any day. I don't see these Euro-weirdos four wheeling in their Ferrari's!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Inner Gator

This is where I've been ripping (and by ripping I mean lots of body slams and bone bruises) lately. It's called the Piedmont Ditch. I'm channeling some early Dogtown while rockin' my old school Vision kicks.

Winter Riding Is Not For P#$%ies

That is a picture of Mongo in his Castelli witness protection gear. I don't make a habit of having ridiculous photos of myself taken, but my friend thought my getup looked like a cross between the Unabomber and that annoying guy on the Litespeed from your group ride. So, photos were taken and laughs were had.

Today was cold. Sub 40 degrees with 20+mph wind. Not too long ago I would have sucked it up and done at least 30 miles on my trusty old school/ tricked out/ bad weather/ hardtail/ Raleigh.

Today my oldness became a factor and I didn't power through it. Worst of all, I didn't care. Even after going through the endless ritual of layering up for a winter ride and prepping my bike, I only made it two miles down the street before I said... "Not today".

Skateboarding...Isn't That For 13 Year Olds ?

I must admit that I have recently returned to the fold as an active skateboarder. I never left skateboarding as a culture, but geography, women, jobs, and all around lameness kept me off the board for many years.

There are probably many people like me who fall into the lost generation of skaters. Born in the mid to late 60's, we fully embraced the Dogtown and Z Boys era when we were kids, but when skating went underground and eventually focused primarily on street in the 80's and 90's, we had moved on to other activities like golf and shame.

My first board was a Logan Earth Ski with Bennett trucks and Roadrider wheels. My second board was a Bahne with Tracker trucks and Sim's Pure Juice wheels. Based on what these bad boys are fetching on Ebay, I should have held on to them. At the time though, they represented freedom to a young kid.

Cruising down the street, bombing a hill, small launch ramps, this was the skateboarding I knew. It is also how I became a mongo pusher!

I'll weigh in at a later date on the modern stigma of pushing mongo as it pertains to street skating, but let me just say that having your weight over the rear wheels is much safer for pushing over long distances.

Now I'm back, and boy how things have changed. Boards are designed like projectiles with rock-hard wheels and so many concaves that my size 12's can't find a flat spot anywhere. Ollies, Nollies, Kickflips, Shove its, Tail grinds, Stairs, Rails....W.T.F. happened to setting up a slalom course in your driveway ?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen...Jan

The 2008 Tour day France is just around the corner (well, not really) and I can't wait. Yes I know about all the doping scandals and big corporate pull outs, but I'm chomping at my Keo's for the new season.

Andreas Kloden is my guy. Unless Johan Bruyneel makes him ride an '83 Motobecane Supercane with downtube friction shifters instead of the new Trek Madone the rest of the Astana juggernaut is sporting, he'll be taking the wood to Levi and Contador.

I must say goodbye to my old guy, Jan Ullrich. As his Telekom/T-Mobile compatriots were either 'fessing up or being exposed for rampant doping in the late 90's, he has faded away under a cloud of suspicion. Too bad...Nobody pushed a big gear better than the big German. Hmmm...I wonder why?


Before I defend my honor as an extreme athlete, let me just say that in the future I may need to discuss my early years as a tennis prodigy which included, among other things, a healthy man-crush on Bjorn Borg.

I taught myself to play golf when I was around sixteen. It was the summer before my senior year in high school. My family had just moved to Raleigh, NC, I had no friends at the time, and I was a punk. I read the book, Golf My Way, by Jack Nicklaus dozens of times and took what I learned to the range and eventually the course. That summer changed my life.

In the 25 years that I have been playing golf I have never taken a lesson. I don't recommend it...and to answer your question, no I don't suck! (GSGA 6.5) My particular path to golf mediocrity has introduced me to thousands of teachers, all willing to share the "answer".

The things I've seen and heard on the golf course are as sketchy as a Floyd Landis alibi or a Mike V. acid drop.

Are You Ever Too Old ?

In the spirit of great beginnings, I give to you my very first blog.

Much like The Buggles' song, Video Killed The Radio Star, which heralded in the era of MTV, I hope this blog will likewise do something ridiculous...or at the very least make a couple of people laugh.

Who am I and why should you care?

I'm just a guy who's lived a pretty interesting life and has some opinions and stories to tell. It's more about the road less travelled and the people you meet along the way.

I am a skateboarder and a cyclist who loves each culture, and I'm an unapologetic gearhead.

I look forward to looking forward.