Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fartlek: Bringin' It..."Swedish Style"

As I have referenced many times, Mongo is extremely lucky to live in a neighborhood, and be surrounded by neighborhoods, that provide excellent hills for both skateboarding(downhill) and cycling(uphill). Unfortunately, most of the time I take the easy way out and only use the skateboarding option...with some moderately paced uphill walking thrown in for good measure.

Today, Mongo started what I hope will turn into a habit over the Winter and beyond. I did thirty minutes of high intensity climbing, in both the standing and seated positions, while using a variety of gear ratios. No matter what my cadence was, my output stayed the same. My Max-HR was 175, and my Avg-HR was 142...Exactly where I want to be after any intense ride, long or short.

I really think shorter, multi-cadence, high intensity rides are going to do more for me during the cold months than my usual training fodder. We shall see...

Langston Park

"You're my friend

I will defend

And if we change

Well I love you anyway"

(Alice In Chains)

Ten Kilos: The Cold Weather Stash

Well, now that Mongo's road season is over, it's time to think about how I'm going to fend off my annual Winter visitor. He comes every year around November, and though I can usually get rid of him by May, sometimes he stays as late as July.

I wish that I was referring to the twenty pounds I gain every off-season...But in this case, I am using the "visitor" metaphor to describe my Nicaraguan half-brother, Santos...who illegally immigrates to the southeastern United States every Fall to harvest marijuana and smuggle pirated Sony Playstations back to the "old country".

As you can imagine, the raucous, all night, bilingual, Madden tournaments, along with the constant threat of Federal involvement, mitigated, of course, by the quality of the weed, can really test "family".

Monday, October 26, 2009


You're the only one who can hold your head up high,
Shake your fists at the gates saying:
"I've come home now!
Fetch me the spirit, the son, and the father.
Tell them their pillar of faith has ascended.
It's time now!
My time now!
Give me my, give me my wings!"


The Final-Final 'Fest: Happy Endings And Maybe The Swine Flu

Mongo has been on the verge of getting sick for about ten days now. Luckily, I have the immune system of a landfill whatever is trying to bring me down can't seem to get a foothold. The bad news is that I'm in a perpetual state of feeling crappy.

This hasn't stopped Mongo from riding. I had a great day Sunday on the mt. bike, with several smackdowns and an exploded peloton to my credit. I had to chase another stoplight jumper into a group of about fifteen riders. Just when he thought he could tuck in and rest, I attacked and it was on. Four or five guys went with me but I never looked back...and after a mile or two there was no one left.

Tonight was the last "official" 23/2300 Hammerfest of 2009. About ten of the faithful showed up to finish out the season in style. Mongo had two things going against him this evening. The aforementioned sickness and...I rode thirteen miles before we started. I should have saved what little energy I had.

The usual shit happened...I dragged on the climbs(this time really badly because of breathing problems), and I managed a solid fifth place finish in the Sprint.

It's been a great year of Hammerfesting with a really great group of guys and gals. Though the skill levels vary from Pro to Cat 5, everyone has benefitted from riding together this season. I look forward to next year.

Like A Slap Upside The Head

Mongo was flipping through the channels on the old black and white last night when I was hit with a revelation. I finally figured out why I don't like the cycling coverage on television provided by the Versus Network.

I could spend hours breaking down what knowledgeable cycling fans already know about the shortcomings of the very limited coverage of Professional Cycling year round...but I won't. We have found other sources from around the world on the Internet to satisfy our Fleche Wallone fixes and our geek needs.

What I do want from Versus, come TDF and Giro time, is some good "couch time" with an easy listening, knowledgeable, broadcast team... giving me solid play by play and analysis.

Liggett and Sherwin are the Madden and Michaels of cycling. Old and quirky, yes...but still the best in the business. Bob Roll...what happened? You used to be fresh and irreverent, now you're stale and corny. Ventura and Andreu as field reporters are pretty solid, but they both have closets full of conflicting skeletons. This brings me to the studio host and the reason for my revelation...Craig Hummer.

As I flipped through the channels, there was Craig Hummer announcing Bull Riding...and he was doing it very well. That's the problem! He is nothing but a pretty-boy shill for the Versus network. Though extremely skilled and polished at his craft, he brings the same sterile competency to Bull Riding as he does Pro Cycling. True enthusiasts and fans can feel it even if they're not quite sure why.

I do understand that a certain style is necessary as host to engage and move a broadcast along. The thing is that Hummer has no history in cycling, and seeing him broadcast Gymnastics and Bull Riding does nothing but weaken an already weak product.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hey...Where Are The White Women At ?

“If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Twenty Six Inches Of Smackdown: If The Tip Doesn't Kill you...

Mongo had an interesting past week of cycling. It started in earnest on Saturday morning when new guy, "Enthusiastic" Dan, and I put in a fast forty miles in some cold weather and blustery winds. Several attempts were made to pass us but we reeled them all back in. It's amazing how a very windy day can change everything.

At about four miles to go, a serious tri-bastard on a P4 with 808's,(Full disk in the rear) jumps us and takes off. I took off after him...Dan got dropped. I maxed out at 32 mph catching and passing Mr. 808. I held 25-26 for about three miles until he gave up at the line. My HR was about 175, but it was a sweet win.

The following morning Mongo left Ol' Lightnin' in the barn and saddled up LPE. If I'm feeling strong, which I was, the Sunday morning ride can very satisfying on the mt. bike. The usual Cervelo, Litespeed, and Trek smackdowns carry much more weight when the victims see that the source of their humiliation is a seventeen year old rig driven by a chunky, yet surprisingly handsome, "old guy". The retro jersey and hairy legs were the icing on the bitter pill they had to swallow.

Monday was the 23/2300 Hammerfest. I thought I was bringing my "A" game...Mongo was slightly mistaken. I haven't 'Fested in a few weeks. Bad weather and bad timing have prevented Mongo from riding any serious hills in some time. I definitely paid the price. The only way to train for hills ride hills. Period! Though I came in feeling pretty good, I lagged on the big climbs but I pulled it all together for a solid Sprint...finishing fourth or fifth by a whisker at the line. On a sad note...Mongo did find two hair-line cracks around two eyelets on the rear wheel of his Ksyriums. FUUUUUUCK!!!

Mongo got out today for the first time since Monday. The weather was in the 70's and I got in a mid-afternoon, belated, thirty mile recovery ride on the bike without the cracked rim. FUUUUUUCK!!!! A young kid on an old Specialized with suicide shifters was the only one who tried to make a move on me...but I wore him down on a long, 21 mph climb.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Soul Climbing: Hammerfest Haiku

Ride flat all you want

There's no substitute for up

Get out and do it

Monday, October 19, 2009

AK47 Update: Final AK47 Update Using An Astana Photo: Plus...Included At No Charge: Final 2009 UCI World Rankings

5. EVANS Cadel (AUS)
9. GILBERT Philippe (BEL)
10. GESINK Robert (NED)
11. DAVIS Allan (AUS)
12. CUNEGO Damiano (ITA)
13. KLODEN Andreas (GER)
14. BASSO Ivan (ITA)
15. MENCHOV Denis (RUS)
16. HAUSSLER Heinrich (GER)
17. HUSHOVD Thor (NOR)
18. FARRAR Tyler (USA)
19. SCHLECK Frank (LUX)
20. SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon (ESP)

Mongo has to admit that the best of the best in Pro Cycling is looking pretty good going into 2010. With a great mixture of young and old, including some strong contenders not on this list, the talent level contesting the Classics and Tours next year will be as strong as ever.

BTW...Mongo used to wear #13 back in my days as the second-line Center for the Miami Kosher Collies hockey team.(I'm not kidding!) I wore the #13 because it was used by my all-time favorite athlete... Edgardo Alfonzo...I mean Dan Marino.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It Couldn't Be Any Other Way

Mental Hibernation

Mongo has no doubt in his mind that I have "some sort" of psychic abilities. I have visions of people, places, and objects that I've never seen before... and there's other crazy shit that would probably get me locked up in a loony bin if I spoke of it. So I won't!

That being said, I had a vision last night of "Sammy" Sanchez winning Lombardia. Lo and behold...he gets nipped at the line by Phillipe "where did all these late season wins come from?(Doper)", Gilbert.

That being said, again, Mongo's five predictions for the winner finished second, sixth, tenth, fourteenth, and twenty ninth. (You suck, Ballan!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Giro Di Lombardia Prediction

The winner of the race will be one of these guys.
Sanchez/ Cunego/ Gesink/ Evans/ Ballan

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Rock A Mic Like A Vandal

"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Leaving So Soon ?

Mongo loves the Team Time Trial discipline...Men and machines working in synchronicity against both the elements and the clock. When performed and executed at the highest level, there is no more beautiful sight in cycling.

When I learned that the TTT had been removed from the 2010 Tour de France, I was disappointed but not surprised. It is the one Stage that can dramatically alter an individual rider's GC standing while being at the mercy of the other eight riders on his team.

At last year's Tour, if you were a GC contender on Astana, Saxo, Garmin, Liquigas, or Columbia, you were in pretty good shape after the TTT. But if you happened to ride for pretty much anyone weren't going to win the Tour de France.

In 2010, the Tour has no TTT, several cobblestone stages, and more back to back climbing days than ever before. It is a course more suited to individual performance than team performance. That bodes well for Contador...since it looks like he'll be stuck on a crappy Astana team for one more year.(At least he got to keep Haimar Zubeldia) On the other hand, Radio Shack has put together a juggernaut of a team. Had there been a TTT next year, Mongo would have bet the farm that the winner of the TDF would be either Mellow Johnny, AK 47, or Li'l Bronze Medalist. Now I'm not so sure.

There always seems to be something intrinsically self-destructive about a "Super Group", or an "All Star Team"...Things never go as they should. Looking good on paper is no guarantee of success. That being said, all the planets are being brought kicking and screaming into alignment for Mellow Johnny to win the 2010 Tour de France...I really hope I'm wrong!

I know that Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, and a few others might have something to say about it, but if Alberto Contador wins the TDF in 2010 on a gutted and re-tooled Astana team, he will immediately, in Mongo's opinion, become one of the five greatest champions of all time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nothing Good Will Come Of This Haiku

Astana license?

No go for the Bandito

Malo for cycling

(Photo: Sirotti/CyclingNews)

Strategy And Tactics: Fun Or Really Fun ?

Even if you are a lifetime cyclist, if you've never raced on any level or participated in competitive group riding, then you're missing out on one of the best parts of the sport.

There is a certain satisfaction in using wit and guile to overcome any shortcomings in age or fitness. Knowing when to attack or when to stay in the draft and conserve energy...Bridging a gap as to not get dropped...Using the wind to your advantage...Controlling the speed of the peloton to your benefit. All of these things, plus many more, bring the mental aspect of cycling to the forefront.

As you know by now, Mongo is a pretty cerebral dude. Any advantage I can gain using my noggin allows more room in my tummy for ice cream and honey buns.

Your Delta Tau Chi Name Is Pinto

"Hi, Cadel Evans, World Champion, damn glad to meet you."

(Photo: Roberto Bettini/CyclingNews)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Forgotten Genius...Or Is It Madman ?

Check out his skating from the Santa Cruz days here and then take a look at a trailer from his movie here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mandeville: Cigars...Scars...Boxcars

"John Crow seh him a dandy man but same time him hab so-so feather".
(Jamaican Proverb)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In Order To Fight The Powers That Be

"No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields."

(Henry David Thoreau)

I'm Not Sure I Like The New Kits

Congratulations to the Smy-Bi-Cy-Cro Team on an auspicious debut in Macon.

We Need More Of This

Hot chick...Clay wheels...Tiny board...Handstand...Barefoot...1965...Gnarly!!!

Back In The Saddle Again

Mongo rode today for the first time since Saturday. Though I was only off for five days, I am always amazed how quickly you lose the good form that took weeks and months to build. It does feel good, in a masochistic way, to have sore muscles and to be genuinely tired after a hard ride.

I did miss the 23/2300 Hammerfest on Monday due to..."laziness"! And the in only the second 'Fest I've missed all year, Mongo didn't get to see "Shady" collide with one of the few hot chicks, or chicks period, that can hang with the boys, and... break her nose! I heard it was ugly. Mongo feels like the guy who didn't want to go to the same lame bar for the fifth night in a row...but the night I don't go, the Swedish Bikini Team shows up...and they're all horny.

Monday, October 5, 2009

1 Guinea = 21 Shillings

"...And this little fella over here has the pink eyes of Graeme O'bree and the paw-speed of Chris Boardman."

Ghost In The Machine

"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back To Reality

Mongo didn't ride at all today. I wish I could say it was because I was exhausted from my ride yesterday...but the truth of the matter is that I was too rattled from witnessing a horrible car accident.

I often joke on this blog about my "Highway" riding skills. The reason I do so is because in order to get to where I do most of my riding, I must ride at least half a mile in each direction on a highly trafficked, four-lane road. The posted speed limit is 45, know how that goes! I always hug the right side, hold my line, and hope nobody clips me. I've had some close calls, don't get me wrong, but my overconfidence in my abilities never wavered.

There were two vehicles in front of me before the stop-sign at the intersection leaving the parking lot. I had done this hundreds of times...Wait for the cars to go, look left for traffic, look right for traffic, turn left into the median, merge into ongoing traffic, go immediately to the right lane. As I sat there, one foot unclipped, mindlessly thinking about nothing, the SUV in front of me squealed out of the intersection...and then everything slowed down!

I watched the SUV cross two oncoming lanes, the median, and try and stay in the closest lane going in his direction...he went too wide! A guy in a big pickup truck either didn't see the SUV or thought he would stay in the near lane and hit the SUV almost broadside going at least 40 mph.

The noises, along with the explosion of glass and metal, were horrible to witness. The truck did a nose-wheelie on impact and the SUV spun around once and flipped over. I was less than seventy feet away. It was un-fucking believable!

I wish I could say that some hero-instinct kicked in and I rushed to the aid of the victims. The reality is that I stood there for a few seconds trying to process what I had just seen...and when I snapped out of it, there were people everywhere and a cop car on the scene that happened to be following right behind the accident.

I watched as all the passengers from both vehicles were removed, and though everyone was alive, at least one looked really bad. As the chaos from the accident scene grew with emergency vehicles, rubberneckers, stalled traffic, and more cops, Mongo slowly slipped away and rode home in a daze.

AK47 Update: I Knew This Was Coming

It's pretty much official...Kloden has joined the inner circle of shady characters surrounding Mellow Johnny on Team Radio Shack. I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. AK could have been the number one GC guy for a number of teams, but instead he chose the security of the "Bruyneel Triangle"... where doping allegations disappear without a trace.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Legend Lives On

Steve Caballero used home field advantage to win the 11th Annual Tim Brauch Memorial over second place finisher, and last years champion, Christian Hosoi. The contest benefits skatepark development and youth scholarships, as well as remembering one of the "good guys" of skateboarding.

(Photo:Aaron Jones)