Monday, September 28, 2009

Listen To The Tales And Romanticize

I have to say, Mongo had one of his best Hammerfests of the whole year. I was strong (for me) on all the climbs, and I got a legitimate fourth place in the Sprint. I know... Clay wasn't trying and "Boonen" and "Irish Brian" gave up, but...fourth is fourth!
If Mongo could give up the Dutchie and the Ben & Jerry's, then my cycling potential would improve exponentially.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe."
(Henry David Thoreau)

W N I D: T S R: This Time It's Personal

Has anyone ever made you so mad that you just knew that you were going to do everything in your power to make them pay? It feels good, doesn't it? You become so hyper-focused on retribution that nothing else matters. Mongo had the opportunity today to unleash the fury and lay waste to the worst kind of douchebag...the "child endangerer".

The Sun finally came out and Mongo was anxious to get out there and test out the temporary spoke. Unfortunately, my cat, Snacks McGee*, forced me to watch two hours of ESPN so he could get some last minute information before he called the bookie. So, at about twelve thirty, I put on the team kit and rolled out the driveway heading towards the Silver Comet Trail.

I made a quick stop at the shop to chat with "Shady" and "Boonen" about the "Cadeltastic" World Championships, and then started what I thought was going to be a forty mile shakedown ride. I realized early on that the new spoke was going to be fine...or it was going to break...and I had no control over I was going to ride like I normally did. And by the way, so far so good. Mongo is quite the "artiste" with a spoke wrench.

I had a smooth twenty miles on the way out, dodging the crowds, crossing paths with teamates, who were all obviously training for the resumption of the Fall Classics 23/2300 Hammerfest season tomorrow night, and generally having a good ride. The way back was another story.

As soon as Mongo turned around at the twenty mile marker, I was jumped by three guys. After I dispatched them, I got jumped again by a TT guy. Finally, after I lost him and was cooling down at about 19 mph, feeling annoyed and tired, a guy comes flying past me like I'm standing still. W.T.F.!

As a cyclist, if that's ever happened to you, there is an immediate gathering of information. Where did he come from? What kind of bike is he riding? Does he look like a legit rider? Was he drafting me the whole time? Do I need to chase him down?...After gathering all the information, Mongo decided that this guy was going to be a worthy opponent...but very manageable.

Mongo really enjoys the cat and mouse game of the weekend smackdown. If someone wants to be social and work together, I'm happy for the company and I'll adjust my speed accordingly. If they want to be an ass and try and drop me immediately, well...they're gonna get "served".

This guy was on a carbon Fuji with some nice Cane Creek wheels and Ultegra all the way around. I got to see it up close as I would draft him mercilessly every time he would try to break away from me. Every once in a while, due to traffic, I would go to the front and slow it down on purpose so he would think I was getting tired. He would always come around me at full steam looking back to see if I'd answer. I wouldn't do anything until he turned back around, then I would sprint up to his wheel. The shock on his face was priceless when he turned around again and I was drinking water while coasting in his draft.

I was about ready to finish him off when we rolled up to an intersection crowded with other cyclists, including children. A little girl had just pushed the button for the stoplight to change when my opponent takes off through the intersection...the light was still green for traffic. Well, this little girl starts pedaling after him because she though the light had changed. Lets just say that what followed was a combination of screaming parents and screeching brakes. Luckily, no one was hit by a car... but it was close. This guy had purposely jumped a red light to get an advantage on me, and by doing so, had almost caused a horrible tragedy. He wasn't going to get away with it.

Once I realized everyone was okay, I took off after this dude with thoughts of doing bad things to him. He had such a head start that It took me a while to catch him, but it allowed my anger to rise to a boil. Finally, I caught up with him and let him have it. I wish I could say that he had no remorse and I beat the crap out of him, but the truth is a little different.

After I verbally lambasted him for being an irresponsible asshole, he actually apologized to me and turned around to go back and apologize to the little girl and her family. What a dick! He stole my thunder.

(* Not his real name)

There Will Be Crying

Well, once again, Mongo had it wrong...CADEL WINS !!! CADEL WINS !!! (Whatever you may think about him...he's always had game.) Maybe now he'll stop acting like a victim and represent being World Champion in a manner equal to his abilities on the bike.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's Got To Be An Italian

The winner of the road race will be...Damiano Cunego.

(I'm also feeling good about a possible dark horse in Thor Hushovd)

Eighty MInute Abs: The Friday Ride

Just when Mongo's extreme dislike of all things French had simmered to a passive indifference, my m****** f****** spokes have still not arrived from Mavic! From what I've heard, they've been delayed somewhere around the Maginot Line. Mongo has managed, in the meantime, to replace the broken spoke in my Ksyriums with a workable yet slightly different option. Without a thorough test ride though, I'm not going to feel comfortable at the Hammerfest on Monday. Which brings me to yesterday...

While I always enjoy riding my mt. bike/cafe racer, Li'l Pony Express, Mongo has to admit that I've missed riding my road bike, Ol' Lightnin', over the past couple of weeks. Torrential rain and flooding, along with the aforementioned lack o' spokes, has kept me away.

I was planning on testing the temporary spoke on the Friday night ride at the shop...but then it rained...then it cleared up...but being the anal bastard that I am, I didn't want to get the freshly cleaned and tuned bike wet and I almost didn't ride at all...but then I felt guilty and hurriedly dressed in my retro-chic, full Pearl Izumi head to toe, 80's-style, Tinker Juarez inspired, M-Frame wearin', mountain bike getup...and headed off for the ride on LPE.

I always enjoy the Friday ride. On the one hand, I can chat with my buddies as the peloton moves along at a leisurely pace, and then when the action heats up on the homeward half, if I feel like it, which I usually do, I can mix it up at a fast pace for the last couple of miles...which is made more challenging when I'm on the mt. bike.

There are practically no hills on this twenty five mile ride. There are steady inclines and declines, but the grade is never more than four percent. This allows many people to believe that they are faster than they actually are. I always smile when I see these guys on the ride because I used to be one of them. As all cyclists finally learn the hard ain't shit unless you can climb!

I did have a good chuckle to myself though when a guy surged to the front and I tucked in right on his wheel. After a mile or so he was noticeably struggling and he kept looking back for someone to come to the one did. Finally, when he was obviously dead, I jumped him and did a mini breakaway. Later on he was bitching about being "hung out to dry". I wanted to tell him all he had to do was pull over and then ease back into the draft, but it's all part of the learning process and he has to take his lumps just like we all did.

It turned out to be a fast and spirited ride. Even though I was on twenty six inches of rubber, only "Boonen", "G.C.", and "No Nickname", were faster than me... and had some of the J.V. riders pulled at the end, Mongo might have had a chance for a sprint victory. Instead, I ran out of steam with about a mile to go...and then Mongo and the wheelsuckers got swallowed up by the peloton.

A Poseur Is A Poseur Is A Poseur

You also might need a derailleur there, Tupac!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

He's No Jerry Lewis

Funnier than a mongo squirrel workin' a nut!

Larsson Is Swedish For Second

As with most sporting fans and participants, Mongo enjoys and appreciates watching athletes perform at the highest levels of their sport. A rare few superstars are able to make the gifted athletes around them look very average. This seems to be the case with Fabian Cancellara...but Mongo ain't buyin'. Remember...this is Pro Cycling! Nobody should be above suspicion.

Why then does everyone give Cancellara a free pass when he pulls out one of his super-human performances? He may never have tested positive for anything "testable", and he does have a fairly long track record of winning in this discipline, but he's also inconsistent with his fitness and his race results throughout the season, and some of his wins seem "too" dominating.

As an example, I use this years World Championships...Cancellara beat third place finisher, Tony Martin, by two minutes and thirty seconds. Two minutes and thirty seconds after Martin's time was Serpa Perez...He was in twenty second place!

In a sport where corruption and cheating are almost institutionalized, it doesn't seem out of line to at least throw the possibility out there...does it?


Monday, September 21, 2009

Mongo Is Appalled...

...There's no hyphen in skateboarding!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Enough Already Haiku

Been raining for weeks

I'm getting depressed and fat

Let's move it along

Forty Days And Forty Nights Of Ballin'

Did you know that the only cyclist to start and finish all three Grand Tours in 2009 was...Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream)? Huh!...Mongo wouldn't have guessed that.

Telling It Like It Is

Well...the final Grand Tour is over and the Pro Cycling season is slowly coming to an end. After the World Championships, there are pretty much no more meaningful races. Soon all we'll be left with is "Eurotastic" cyclocross and "Nobody gives a shit" mountain biking. With all it's drama, stories, and impressive performances, 2009 has been a great year. Who knows, maybe even doping is on the downswing...Yeah right! The 2010 season looks even better, with new teams, riders, and rivalries emerging weekly.

I do want to talk about the Vuelta specifically though. Mongo compares it to the Australian Open in tennis, and the PGA Championship in golf. Though they are all major championships in their respective sports, they are the least contested, and coveted, titles.

No one can argue that a podium of Valverde, Sanchez, and Evans, is quite impressive, but when you look a little closer, the peculiarities really stick out. A couple of examples...David Millar won the final Time Trial. He hasn't won anything significant since he stopped doping! Guess which team won the Team Competition? Not Garmin...not Saxo...not Astana...not Caisse d'Epargne...not Cervelo...not Quickstep. Who then, you might ask? It was the mighty Continental powerhouse, Xacobeo Galicia. That's what I'm talkin' about!

Valverde is probably living on borrowed time, and a suspension is still likely. While we all know about Cadel and his wheel-sucking, man-purse wearing, crybaby, ways, Mongo does legitimately like "Sammy" Sanchez...and wishes he had won.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Fun And Games...Until You Break A Spoke

Mongo has been riding great lately. Though I've been working more than ever, the combination of diet and specific training has allowed me to make a noticeable improvement over the last few weeks.

Monday was the inaugural ride in the 23/2300 Hammerfest Fall Series. Each week until the time change will be treated like a Mini-Classic, with individual winners each week based on total points for the ride. The only way this benefits Mongo is if I stumble across an old cooler marked "Puerto", and somehow the contents of said cooler enhance Mongo's ability to perform on a bicycle. If that doesn't happen, I'll have to be happy to be in the mix during the Sprint and continue to improve on the KOM.
After the 'Fest on Monday, when I was riding home in near darkness, going downhill at 40+ mph, I broke a spoke in my rear wheel...It was a little sketchy there for a moment! Luckily, it was non-driveside, and the wheel didn't go way out of true.

My point is this...I love my Ksyriums...but...each model uses different bladed spokes, and they really aren't interchangeable or compatible with each other. Mavic does this on purpose, and then makes it difficult to get the correct type/length without buying in bulk. They know they have you...and they know that you know they have you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

For Those Who Promote The Confusion

"Courage consists in the power of self-recovery.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Holdin' It Down: The Sunday Ride: TT Edition

As you know by now, Mongo isn't a big fan of the majority of people who ride TT bikes. Unless you compete in Triathlons or Time Trials, or you have a bevy of bikes on which you are consistently fast, there is no reason, other than douchiness, to own a TT bike as your primary ride. It is a single purpose machine that, with no other type of riding to supplement your skills, will expose a rider's weaknesses immediately. It is for this very reason that Mongo loves him some weekend smackdowns with these TT poseurs.

That being said, Mongo went riding on Sunday with two of his teammates...Two time defending Hammerfest champion, "Jawbone" Clay, along with "Captain" Jason, were both on their TT rigs. (Both of these guys meet all of the above mentioned criteria for owning a TT bike...and not being a douche.)

The pace was fast from the get-go, and even though Mongo was on my road bike and not very aero in comparison to the fellas, I was hanging tough and feeling pretty good. We passed many people, and though some tried to hang, we eventually rode them off our wheel.

Finally we were joined by a dude on a Transition with Zipps and a dude on a Scattante with Zipps. I know...Mongo had to do a double-take because I couldn't believe the Scattante setup either. These guys were pretty fast but unwilling to pull...unless they thought they could break away from us...which the guy on the Transition tried several times unsuccessfully. This guy was obviously a dick.

Jason, who had been up front most of the ride setting the blistering pace, finally put it in a gear that Mongo was unable to keep up with and I had to let the group go. Even after riding the homeward half by myself, Mongo averaged 19.7 mph for forty miles. Not too shabby!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Who Knows Anymore ?

Mongo has to admit that when I saw that "Il Piccolo Principe", or in English, "Little Red Corvette", had won another stage of the Vuelta, I was ready to jump all over him for being a washed up old guy who has "Magically"(Doper) found youth late in the season. The thing is...he ain't that old(27). But his results have been poor since the end of 2008, and this season, he hasn't shown any signs of form that would return him to the top of the pro rankings...until now?!

(Photo: AFP/CyclingNews)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Friday Night Ride: L.P.E. Haiku

Thought there'd be women

Decided to slow it down

Couldn't hold her back

It's No Tour Of California...

...But Dave "dz nutz go fast on occasion" Zabriskie wins the TT at the Tour of Missouri and takes the overall lead on GC.

"What the f**k are you looking at?...Salt Lake City in da house!"

(Photo:Jon Devich/CyclingNews)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let's Roll

"O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears
America America God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea"
(Katharine Lee Bates)

CA...NA...DA ! CA...NA...DA !

Continuing Mongo's strong tradition of being a star maker and unflappable prognosticator, another one of my guys gets his first Grand Tour stage win.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

U.S.A. ! U.S.A. ! U.S.A. !

"Would you sexy, yet over-tanned, ladies like to take a closer look at my freakishly long arms and obscurely placed random tattoos back at the hotel?"


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tastes Like Chicken

Congratulations to "Shady Greg Brady" Rogers, on an impressive effort Monday at the US 100K Classic, right here in good ol' Marietta, GA. Following the mantra that "Winning is for sandbaggers and dopers", B-Rog decided that there was only one position suitable to finish...Sixty Nine...Yeah, baby!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Parking Lot Showdown: Labor Day Edition

Mongo had a great weekend of cycling. I was able to get out there three straight days in a row and put in some serious, and well needed, miles. It's kind of a shame that I'm on my best form of the year and the season is almost over. I'm really going to try and carry my form through the Fall and Winter this year, and if I can refrain from gaining my usual twenty pounds of blubber, Mongo should be able to start 2010 ahead of the game.

Today's ride was intended to be a forty mile, medium paced, recovery ride. Yesterday, Mongo put in big miles and effort, so I just wanted to keep the pistons loose before I layed off the bike for the next couple of days.

All went well most of the day, but Mongo was dealing with big holiday crowds on the Silver Comet Trail. Cyclists, runners, walkers, baby strollers, and rollerbladers, all had to be navigated. I wasn't seriously challenged by anyone capable or worthy of a smackdown...but my most feisty opponent was a stocky chick on a Felt with TT bars, flat pedals with toe clips, and running shoes. "It ain't the arrow, it's the Indian."

Literally, in the final few hundred meters of my ride, I passed a dude on rollerblades who was all over the trail and oblivious to what was going on around him because of what was probably club/techno music cranking through his earphones.(If you know what I mean?)
And when I say I passed this guy, what I actually meant was that I almost ran him off the trail when I squeezed between him and oncoming traffic after I said "on the left" at least three times without a response. Oh...and I also bumped him with my shoulder, by accident, for good measure.

Below is an artist's rendering of Mongo approaching the rollerblader.

Of course, I looked back to see if I had caused any carnage...and when I saw none, I finished my ride. As I rolled through the parking lot, I saw an old(literally) cycling buddy who also happens to be the father of one of my I stopped to talk to him. About three minutes into the conversation, out of the corner of my eye, I see Mr/Ms Rollerblader rollin' up on me and my friend.

Let's just say that there was a heated verbal exchange...the likes and words of which my seventy plus year old friend has probably never heard. To Mongo's credit, the crowd that steadily grew around us did seem to think that my profanity-laced diatribe was much funnier and wittier than the other guy's.

It all ended with a simple "Fuck you" and "Asshole"... and then the crowd dispersed and Mongo went home. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bombs Between The Minarets

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
(Henry David Thoreau)

Vuelta Update: I Need To Pay More Attention

Mongo still has Evans, Valverde, Sanchez, Gesink, and Basso, hanging around in my top ten predictions.

Five Degrees Of Mellow Johnny

Mongo passed a couple of guys today who were wearing full Discovery Channel kits and, of course, riding Treks. It got me thinking...these guys weren't being ironic, they probably got the kits and bikes when Mellow Johnny was on Discovery...thinking that it was really cool to wear and ride what the pros ride.'s not!!!

If there is one rule in road cycling that everyone knows it's..."Don't wear a pro kit... ever!" Unless...1. You are a pro. (or) 2. You want to look like a complete idiot.

There is a fuzzy gray area where exceptions can take place. One can wear a jersey, not a full kit, of a vintage team or rider if, and only if, that team no longer exists or the rider is at least three teams removed from said jersey.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who Doesn't Love College Football ?

Back Of The Bus

There's something quite surreal about having a relatively long period of time to think about an accident that's about to happen. In most cases, cycling crashes happen very quickly. You touch wheels with someone or you slide out...then you're on the ground in an instant.

Yesterday, Mongo took the afternoon off and went for a ride...It was about three thirty. With the music cranking(I have a Panasonic "Thudbuster"(12 D batteries) duct-taped to my handlebars), I descended a double switchback section of road at over 40 mph. I've ridden this road hundreds of times, and even though it has blind corners, I'm always hauling ass.

I came out of the last corner only to see two cars stopped behind a school bus...which was also stopped...and unloading children. I was going too fast to stop behind the last car, and I knew it, but I had about three full seconds to come up with another plan.

I wish I could say that I plowed over five kids and kept going unapologetically, but...that didn't happen. I swerved into the opposite lane and, under some impressive F1-style braking, came to a halt next to the bus driver's window. Luckily he didn't see me, so I took a quick lewie into an adjoining neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Final Fest '09: The Over Doping

As you all know by now, Mongo is an admitted doper. I take no pride or satisfaction in that fact, but it allows me to comment from a place of some knowledge. Let it be known that no prescription drug pollutes my body. Everything Mongo consumes comes from Mother Earth...or my neighborhood Chevron.

The final 23/2300 Hammerfest ended with a mild thud. The huge turnout I expected never materialized and only about thirteen people showed up. Unfortunately for Mongo, those that did show were all the fast guys. I've been riding well lately so normally this wouldn't have been a problem. But...I over-caffeinated myself massively before the ride, and as a result, my HR was consistently 10-15 BPM higher than it should have been throughout the ride. It wasn't good!

That being said, I have benefited immensely riding with guys much better than myself. I know what it takes to achieve on a high level...Whether or not I choose, or am able, to raise my game, I get a great deal of enjoyment out of the process.