Man...If I didn't hate pretty much "everything" about Cervelo and their douchebaggy culture, I really could see myself supporting the new Cervelo Test Team. They've got a great mix of riders, and are already a serious threat in any Grand Tour for stage wins and GC podiums...And most importantly, my nominee for "Kit Of The Year".
Comeback cyclist of the year so far, Thor Hushovd, in the first of the Spring Classics, wins a very "crashy" Omloop Het Nieuwsblad...Formerly, the much easier to pronounce, Omloop Het Volk.
Mongo may have found his new future wife. Continuing with my fetish/fascination for good looking, British, professional female cyclists, I ran across young Emma Pooley while I was perusing the Cervelo website.
Cute...Smart(Cambridge educated)...Talented(Olympic Silver medalist)...Where do I sign up?
"Beware the old man in young guy's clothes. If he's over 35 and comes to pick you up looking as though he's headed for a skateboarding competition while you are dressed to go to a nice restaurant, this is not a good sign."
Mongo has just returned from a preseason Hammerfest ride, or as I like to call it, "what the f**k is up with all these climbs", with two of the strongest riders in the group...and it wasn't pretty.
Though honestly, it could have been worse. I still have a long way to go before the official opening day of the season. I figure two days a week training on hills only, and losing another fifteen around the gut, and I'll be back where I belong...in the rear-middle of the peleton.
Mongo was feeling his inner HeikeSorsa today, so I decided to go snowboarding. Unfortunately, there's no snow on the ground...and the last time I snowboarded it was called "Snurfing". Who's with me on this, rope holding old timers?
Not ruining the moment with boring details, I rocked my new Spyder jacket and matching beanie, slapped on my i-Pod and Oakleys, grabbed the Alva, (Or as I like to call it, the "Burton of Summer".) and did a nollie-manual-hardflip-stankyleg down my driveway...and off into the backcountry.
The highlight of the session was either the twinkletoes-yardsale-runout, when I was cut off from a high speed turn by a truck going wide, or rolling in on the steepest hill I do not knowing that it's been freshly paved...and going from 35mph to 40+mph.
While Mongo's attention has been focused this week on the Tour of California... and the inevitable victories for both LBM and myself...his in the Tour and mine in my Fantasy League...there was another race going on.
El Pistolero wins the Volta ao Algarve in a top heavy but average field. The good news is that Mongo's boy, and forgotten man, AK47, finished fifth on GC and looked strong in both the TT and mountain stages. If they let him ride in the Giro, and Bruyneel doesn't put the fix on for his boy, I think Kloden should go for the win. They definitely won't ride for him in either the Tour or the Vuelta.
On a personal note...Mongo would like to thank Super-sub, Hayden Roulston, for coming through like a mofo in yesterday's stage and picking me up valuable second place points.
It doesn't get much cooler than this...Four of the top seven sprinters in the world, and Tyler Farrar, battle it out for the Stage 4 win at the TOC.
1. Cavendish 2. Boonen 3. Haedo 4. Hushovd
Remember when I said my fantasy team was front loaded and I wouldn't need my reserves? Well, I've lost Cancellara and now Kirchen. And two of my other guys, Landis and VDV, both crashed today. So much for that idea!
Mongo is now forced to ride Davide Frattini of Colavita/Sutter Home and Hayden Roulston of Cervelo all the way to the end.
Mongo is a sucker for nostalgia. Idealized Americana, in all it forms, can always tug at my emotions. I will always buy into a good comeback story, and root mightily for the underdog.
You all, by now, know my opinion of Live Astanastrong...I 'aintbuyin'. But I have decided to quietly get on board with the Floyd Landis Titanium Hip Tour '09.
I know in my gut that Floyd is guilty of something. The thing is...what happened to him is so outside the traditional parameters of doping, that we haven't seen a case like his before or since the 2006 Tour. His case dragged on for years. Doping cases involving CERA and EPO are resolved in months.
The French cycling snobocracy hate Lance Armstrong...for the right and wrong reasons. When the opportunity came to do to Landis what they were unable to do to Armstrong, they jumped all over it. Corruption, shady labs, payoffs...were all exposed during the Landis case, yet there was still enough scientific evidence to prove in several courts that Landis was guilty of...something?
Anyway, he did the crime and paid the time and is on the comeback trail with a Continental team. I picked him for my fantasy team, more out of hope than expectation, and he's done...ok. Which is more than I can say for VDV and Kim Kirchen. WTF! At least Thor came through for me today against all the big sprinters.
The Shetland pony of unstoppable forces, Li'l Bronze Medalist, rides a strong race today in the crappy weather and takes the lead in the Tour of California...It's probably over. None of the traditional GC contenders are riding like they're serious...so far.
Remember when Rock Racing used to be run by douchey, Michael Ball, but they had cool team kits and innovative paint schemes on their bikes?
Well...this year they are still run by douchey, Michael Ball, but their kits look like they came off the rack at Chess King... in 1983, and the team's Kestrels have a very basic black and red paint scheme. Some riders did opt for the custom, spray-painted, graffiti package...you know, for that ever important "street cred".
Also, another nice addition to the new, minimalist approach from Rock Racing, was the use of the low-tech, P-Touch labeling system.
Mongo would like to offer a hearty congratulations to the members of the posse who participated in the 2009 Tundra Time Trial.
Though the hotly contested Men 35+ Masters Division produced the closest competition, what amazed me the most was that the two oldest guys in the group, Irish Brian and DooDoo Brown, finished within 2/10ths of a second of each other.
"And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England's pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land."
Mongo is really looking forward to the Tour of California. Many experts believe that it's the best field ever on American soil.
Teams like Saxo, Garmin, Columbia, and Cervelo, are all bringing Tour caliber squads. Add in Landis, Basso, Boonen, Freire, Gesink, Cavendish, and other #1 or #2 team riders, like Dessel and Hamilton, and it certainly has all the makings of an exciting race.
Mongo and some of his buddies are also partaking in the Fantasy Challenge...put on by Versus. It's a fun way to add some trash talking at the bike shop. Below are my nine starting riders. I also have five backups, but my team is extremely front loaded so I'll probably never use them.
Christian Vande Velde Levi Leipheimer Floyd Landis Vincenzo Nibali Dominique Rollin Janez Brajkovic Kim Kirchen Fabian Cancellara Thor Hushovd
"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."
Mongo just wrapped up a four day stretch of cycling where I logged close to 175 miles on my mountain bike, Li'l Pony Express. My road bike has been dry-docked for a couple of weeks because of major upgrades to the transmission...along with other mechanical and cosmetic improvements.
This has given me the opportunity to log some solid miles on my old friend. Eccentric, uncomfortable, and cranky, but always dependable, LPE is like being friends with benefits with a chunky, Goth chick.
Ol' Lightnin' will be back in the water this week, but it's been fun doing a little suffering for the cause.
Mongo has always liked Gert Steegmans... Maybe it's because we kind of look alike and have similar riding styles.
Whether he was launching Robbie McEwen back in the OG, Davitamon-Lotto days, or Tom Boonen with Quick Step, Steegmans has always been one of the premier leadout guys in pro cycling.
He's now teamed up again with McEwen on the best team Russian mob money can buy...Katusha, and managed to sneak out a win when McEwen failed to come around in the opening stage of the Mallorca Challenge.
...This might be the greatest nickname of all time.
The world of cycling is steeped in tradition, including powerful monikers for it's heroes. Names like Cannibal...Badger...Pirate...Kaiser...Professor...and Lion King have been revered throughout the evolution of the sport.
With no disrespect to these great champions, Mongo has come across a local talent in the underground world of illegal, Alleycat Draft Cycling. Renowned for his ability to blend into his surroundings, coupled with near silent tracking skills and the propensity for unsustainable bursts of speed, this individual has rightfully earned his nickname. He is...SNOW BUNNY. (As played by Kevin Sorbo in the upcoming made for TV movie, "I Am Snow Bunny")
1. Tom Boonen (Bel), Quick Step, at 12:55:25 2. Heinrich Haussler (Ger), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:08 3. Roger Hammond (GB), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:10 4. Daniel Lloyd (GB), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:25 5. Andreas Klier (Ger), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:27 6. Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:28 7. Angelo Furlan (Ita), Lampre-NGC, at 1:07 8. Gabriel Rasch (Nor), Cervélo TestTeam, at 1:43 9. Mark Cavendish (GB), Columbia-HighRoad, at 2:11 10. Tom Veelers (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 2:35
Cavendish wins the final stage...Boonen takes the overall win...Cervelo has six in the top ten....Heinrich Haussler is a young rider to keep an eye on.
As skateboarders, we have the obligation to promote the "stoke" that we ourselves have found through skateboarding. Whether it's encouraging an uncertain newcomer, or restarting the fire in a smoldering relic, the joy of the shred keeps us all young.
Mongo would like to thank this rad dude for getting me back into the game.
Ok kids...it's time for Mongo to warm up his racing chops. I regret that I have already fallen behind in my coverage of the "Grandaddy of Winter Classics"...The Tour of Qatar.
Formerly known as The Tom Boonen This Is Where I Get The Money For The Really Good Blow Invitational, The TOQ is now almost a "real" bike race. Mixed in amongst the camel jockeys, no really, are some actual people you've heard of.
Cavendish, Pozzato, Forster, Wiggins, Boonen, Napolitano...and a hundred and forty other guys, will sweat it out over the lush, beautiful, countryside, that has earned the region it's nickname..."Desert Within A Desert".
And for the record...Mongo's boys, Garmin-Slipstream, won the opening TTT.(You're going down, Astana!)
Roger Hammond of Cerveloexecutes a perfect solo breakaway and catches all the big guns off guard to win stage two. Not bad looking kits either.
Yesterday, Mongo looked straight into the face of evil...and to prove his point, evil was riding a flat bar, Trek, road-hybrid.
Then, of course, there were the mountain bike pedals, the full sized frame pump, the SKS rear fender, way too many reflectors, the non cycling shorts and sweatshirt, and finally, the baseball cap turned around backwards...and this guy almost kicked my ass!
It had to be a sign of just how out of cycling shape I have gotten over the winter. Last year's non fat slob Mongo would never have let a dude like this spend one minute in front of me, but this time it took almost five miles of non-drafting pacing to wear him out. I must admit, his speed was impressive for a douchebag on a Trek, but my performance was unacceptable.
My only excuse was that I had no food in my stomach(on purpose), my tires were under-inflated(on purpose), and I was on the homeward half of a long ride. That being said, it was the final straw. The new season is almost upon us and it's time to get serious.
My honeymoon of eating ice cream, cookies, pizza, and anything else performance reducing is over. My pants are tight, my energy level is low, and my pride is damaged...these are dark times.
Normally in this situation I would ask myself what would Ned do?(WWND) The thing is, I need a quick fix so I'm going a different route...What would Jan do?(WWJD)