Right about now-ish marks thirty days to the minute since Mongo gave up his beloved Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the entire month of November. Except for the previously mentioned "Klondike Incident", Mongo has succeeded in what turned out to be not that hard of a struggle.
I have estimated that I saved 18,360 calories and 850 grams of fat over the course of the month. That's approximately 5.25 pounds that I either didn't gain or have to work off.
As a cyclist, it's always fun to take one's skills into unfamiliar territory. No matter how confident or relaxed you are on your home track with your buddies, there is a tendency to doubt one's abilities when surrounded by well equipped strangers. It's not until you get rolling that you can properly asses your competitors.
Mongo, and our youngest and strongest team member, Jimmy "I could probably be a pro if I wasn't getting so much tail in college", took our respective games to the local, douchey(They sell Madone's and Orca's to Lawyers and other pricks) bike shop group ride. There were about forty guys and one girl, from Cat 1/2 racers to rich Doctors on fourteen pound, eight thousand dollar everythings.
Long story short...Mongo did well. It was a fast, hilly ride, with a six-man crash thrown in for good measure. I was always under control in the peloton, even taking a short pull at the front, and it was only when the racers kicked it in on the homeward half that the group split and Mongo finished in the second third of the peloton...right next to the only girl.(Who I'm pretty sure was a Pro, by the way)
Mongo is putting it all on the line tomorrow...A super-fast, fifty mile group ride out of a rival bike shop. This will be the first test for my November, "No ice cream/ plenty of jumping rope/ interval riding" training program.
It's going to be cold as hell, which I hate, with lots of riders faster than me...and I've never done this ride before. My confidence level is low!
"Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?"
Mongo's never been a big fan of the electric or motorized skateboard. That being said, this one looks pretty cool. Capable of almost 20 mph and with a ten mile range, it'll set you back about six hundy to drive it off the lot.
In these tough economic times, Mongo has been forced to make some changes...as well as eliminate some dead weight. I was even all set to give my cat Snacks McGee* five hundred bucks cash and kick him to the curb. After all, he's been freeloading off me for ten years without contributing a dime. Unfortunately, he revealed to me that he was in possession of "certain" photographs that the authorities might find interesting. A new litter box and an ounce of premium "Nip" later, he and I have come to an understanding.
What I have been doing though is going through all my cycling equipment and apparel to see what should be kept, cleaned, repaired, or just thrown away. I have a bad habit of letting sentimentality get in the way of practicality as well as reality. An example of this is my shoe collection. Mongo owns five pairs of cycling shoes.(4 Road/ 1 Mt. Bike) In reality, you only need three pairs tops. One racing road, one training road, one mt. bike...that's it! Somehow I collected and justified two extra pairs, and the funny thing is, I was looking to get another pair soon.
Instead, I spent a rainy afternoon scrubbing, cleaning, degreasing, and waterproofing all my shoes. Every pair, from my Specialized Pro Road Carbon "Hammerfest Edition" (Made from only the softest hides of baby seals and Humpback whales), to my mismatched Pearl Izumis, got a makeover.
My efforts yielded four great results and the garbage can for the Izumis. I now have rejuvenated pairs of road race, road training, road "bad weather" training, and mt. bike shoes. Mongo is set for the 2010 season.
When will people learn not to mess with Mike V or his family? He has had a professional and personal relationship with the Anaheim Ducks and many of the players for years, and it was obvious from the video that Scott Niedermayer was intentionally throwing the stick to Vallely's daughter. The other fan was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person.
Mike V is one of Mongo's favorite skaters. Though half a generation younger than I am, Vallely has always embodied the tradition and core of what it means to to "be" a skateboarder...Unfortunately, he is also prone to beating the crap out of people that f**k with him.
Here is the Holy Grail of Mike V "ass whoopin'" videos.
Mongo is disappointed for many reasons that the "Frito Bandito" is staying with Astana for the 2010 season. Though the possibility still exists that the team won't get a UCI license, in which case Contador is Audi, that doesn't seem likely.
I've said before on this very blog that if Contador wins the Tour next year with this crappy team, he will cement his place as one of the five greatest stage racers of all time.
Mongo was secretly hoping AC would end up with Garmin-Slipstream. Racing aside, I really would have enjoyed the "smug-off" between Vaughters and Bruyneel.
If you are a road cyclist for any length of time, then it is inevitable that you will collect a substantial number of jerseys, shorts, bibs, socks, shoes, e.t.c. Mongo is no different.
The key to a large collection of multi-brand items is the ability to cross-co-ordinate appropriately. Matching brands is never as important as matching styles and looks. Occasionally though, you will find yourself in a situation where, by fate or by accident, you are mono-branded from head to toe.
Mongo has the ability to mono-brand in the ensemble of three different manufacturers...Specialized, Louis Garneau, and Pearl Izumi. Though I mostly mix between these and the many other brands I own, Mongo is not afraid to match. There's a fine line between looking sharp and looking like a complete dork when in mono-brand mode, and only years of practice and shame can train a cyclist properly before he or she becomes comfortable enough to match with pride.
Mongo got his cyclocross on yesterday in Paulding County at the latest stop in the Georgia Cross Series. Though not participating because... "I didn't want to", I was there to help out and support our team riders in the highly competitive, and crowded, Mens C class.
A good time was had by all, with "Hawaii" Clay leading the group in sixth place out of forty five riders....while riding a seven-speed Yeti mountain bike. Quite impressive!
Congratulations to Tom and everyone at Smyrna Bicycles for helping to organize and execute a great day of racing.
It is well known among Mongo's crew that I am a pretty intelligent dude. In fact, Mongo has a professionally, but more importantly, Internet-tested IQ of somewhere between 130-140. On the scale of idiot to genius, I'm a lot closer to the latter than the former.
I say all of this because I want to establish the fact that I, Mongo Pusher, being clinically certified as smart, am actually a retard.("No derogatory slight to the mentally impaired intended. Merely a colloquial slang expression describing my actual lack of intelligence.")I have fallen off the wagon!!!
Before I left today on my 45 mile fat burning/ interval ride, I was thinking to myself how good I was feeling sixteen days into my "November Ice Cream Fast", and how the combination of less fat intake and more cardio with the jump rope had really started to pay off. Those good feelings all ended at about mile 37.
I rolled into a gas station to get a couple of Power Bars and a Coke Zero. I was feeling hungry and I always enjoy a soda towards the end of a hard ride. I grabbed all of these items plus...a Klondike Bar. It didn't even dawn on me that it was ice cream. I just thought to myself that I was hot and that the Klondike Bar would be refreshing. It wasn't until I was two or three bites in that the realization hit me. For a brief moment I was genuinely horrified at what I was doing, but after finishing the delicious chocolate and ice cream delight and properly scolding myself, I promptly jumped back on the wagon.
I must admit that Mongo thought about not mentioning his transgression. In the great scheme of things, this is nothing. Mongo approximates that in the past sixteen days I have saved myself over 12,000 calories and 300 grams of fat. Today was a brain fart and won't happen again. I'm taking this s**t seriously!
Mongo has added a new tool in his arsenal. In conjunction with my WWSP(Winter Weight Stabilization Program), I have included a fairly strict regimen of jumping up and down and looking ridiculous.
The thing is, it's a great workout...and there are unlimited ways to increase the intensity and level of difficulty without going anywhere. I've been doing it for about a week, and I can already feel the benefits. If all goes well this Winter, Mongo is seriously considering joining a Masters Double-Dutch team in the Spring.
"It is a rare qualification to be able to state a fact simply and adequately. To digest some experience cleanly. To say yes and no with authority--To make a square edge. To conceive & suffer the truth...Say it and have done with it. Express it without expressing ourself. See not with the eye of science -- which is barren --nor of youthful poetry-- which is impotent."
Everyone seems to think or take a bizarre pride in the fact that the city or town they live in is populated by the worst drivers in the country. It just so happens that statistics seem to validate this premise for Mongo's little neck of the woods. I take no pride in this revelation, because I have to deal with it every day. In no particular order, I see the three main problems as being cell phones, SUV's, and women.
When Mongo rides the three miles on the road from my house to the SCT, the first mile or so is the most fun. It's a slightly rolling downhill where I can maintain the posted speed limit of 35 mph. I still ride a tight line close to the curb, but anyone who passes me is definitely exceeding the speed limit.
Today I got passed by "a woman on a cell phone driving an SUV". She came around me on a dangerous downhill corner and immediately put on her turn signal and started hitting the brakes to make a left into a neighborhood. Had there been any oncoming traffic for her to wait for, I would have hit the SUV at at least 30 mph. At most, she saved three seconds by going around me.
Anyway...I got to the trail, ran into the "Gemma" (Sons of Anarchy reference) of Smyrna Bicycles in the parking lot, and then she and I had an enjoyable and leisurely 25 mile ride. Tomorrow I'm back to hill interval training.
Mongo loves a good excuse as much as the next guy. As I was thinking about what transpired on Saturday, a slew of legitimate and a few shady ones came to mind. When I got ready to chronicle the day's riding with my usual witty prose, I took pause, tossed the excuses, and decided to take my medicine like a man.
If anyone's ever had a taste of their own medicine, you know it tastes like a cross between poop and acid reflux. I'm talking about the "wake you up in the middle of the night, sinuses flooded with poopy bile" acid reflux...It ain't pretty! What am I leading up to? You can probably tell by now...Mongo got "Smacked Down".
A dude who rides for a rival bike shop on an S-Works Tarmac jumped me at 25 miles after I had just put in a long pull with three other guys. He got a two hundred yard gap on me that I maintained for a couple of miles, but I eventually faded. This dude was six inches shorter than me, and based on his stocky build, had no business being fast...but he was. After chatting with "Shady" later that day, it turns out that this guy might be my buddy, "Boonen's" arch-nemesis from the road season this year. All I can say is this..."It's on, tubby!"
As part of Mongo's new "Winter Weight Stabilization" offseason training program, and just to prove to myself that I can do it, Mongo has given up ice cream completely for the month of November. I last partook in some Karmel Sutra on October 31st, and I'm now five days into what everyone who knows my proclivity for the "cream" realizes will be a month of hell.
"I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me."
I can honestly say, with no false humility, that Mongo has lived a life up to this point in time that has probably never been duplicated. Unfortunately, this journey has brought me as much guilt and sadness as it has pride and satisfaction. As a wise man once said..."We have freedom of choice, but not freedom from the consequences of our choices".
This month commemorates ten years of one of the things I'm most proud of in my life...not drinking alcohol. I knew in my heart of hearts that the decisions I was making and the relationships I was attracting and the person I was when escaping into a bottle wasn't who I wanted to be. So one day, when I woke up alone in a fancy hotel, with Ketel&Cranberry vomit all over the room and with only a vague recollection of the night before and my girlfriend's disgust with me, I pledged to myself and to God that I would never drink again...and I haven't.
I'm saying all of this, not to self aggrandize or to preach about anything, but as an affirmation on what can be done if we are self-aware enough to realize what is holding us back from becoming our true selves. Most people use metaphorical crutches to help them get through life. For those that have discipline and moderation, drugs and alcohol may never become a problem. But if we let these crutches dictate our path, well...we become spectators in a movie that will inevitably end badly.
"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."
The last couple of days have been very rainy around these parts. Today though, Mongo had sunshine and the whole day to myself, so I saddled up LPE and headed for the Silver Comet Trail.
I stopped by the shop on the way and chatted with "MC-Lean" and "Still State Champion For Another Week" Brady. Both guys cyclocrossed yesterday, with "Shady" picking up his first win of the year and "MC-Lean" delivering another solid top ten in his division.
I eventually rode out of the shop in pursuit of a female Pro cyclist who rides for a major team here in town. She had about three minutes on me and I finally caught up with her about five miles later. She was on her cyclocross bike and I was on my mt. bike, so we chatted about both and a few miles later she turned around and I kept going. It was nice to ride with someone who was neither insecure or trying to drop me. It also didn't hurt that she was...bangin'!
The trail was totally covered in places with pine straw and leaves, and there were no challengers worthy of a smackdown, so I put in a medium paced forty miles and called it a day. I'm planning on more hill training tomorrow.
Huh...the "Face Spinnaker" has jumped ship to the BMC Racing Team!
Mongo sees this as a smart move for everyone involved. Team Cervelo has proven that a Continental team, loaded with the appropriate talent and scandal free, can compete on the highest levels of Pro Cycling and will more than likely get invitations to most of the big UCI events.
Evans joins last year's World Champion and this year's "what the f**k happened to him", Alessandro Ballan, along with every one's favorite, George "Slappy" Hincapie, on a team that has a better chance of delivering a Grand Tour win than many others with a UCI license.