Sunday, January 31, 2010

Punching The Clock: The Sunday Ride

What a difference a few days make. On Thursday, Mongo went for a ride with his buddy, Boonen and local legend, Diane. It was sixty degrees and sunny, and we had a brisk cruise for about thirty miles. It was my first ride on the road bike since I almost froze to death a couple of weeks ago, and I felt pretty good. My training on the hills with my mountain bike is legitimately showing results. Mongo is already in pre-negotiations with Chris Carmichael concerning a DVD release of my "Cat 5 Domination Training Method".

Feeling good about myself, Mongo saddled up LPE this afternoon and headed back to the MNR "Hammerfest" loop for another training session. The only problem was that it was thirty eight degrees and I had nothing in my stomach. The good news was that I was dressed properly, the bad news was that I only managed to ingest four hundred calories of fuel.

Mongo pushed hard the whole ride and had a strong performance. I've ridden this course seven times already this Winter. That's exactly seven more times than I did last offseason. By the end of the ride I felt like crap because of the aforementioned lack of food, but I think I might need to do this occasionally to keep my weight loss from hitting a plateau. If nothing else, my discipline has improved and my lameness has declined. There's something to be said for taking the hard way out. The results are more satisfying.


Zdenek Stybar wins the World Championships and confirms his place at the top of the sport. Two Americans finished in the top twenty...Tim Johnson in 14th, and James Driscoll in 19th.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Distant Ship's Smoke On The Horizon

"Mr. Vaughters...Even though you enjoy dressing like a cross between Elton John and Mr. Belvedere, and your sideburns are the only things you have left resembling a jawline, I would appreciate it if you would take off your shades and look at me while we do this night."


Mongo Approved: Let The "Juice" Flow


Top Twenty?: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Jonathan Page (United States Of America)

Timothy Johnson (United States Of America)

James Driscoll (United States Of America)

Ryan Trebon (United States Of America)

Jeremy Powers (United States Of America)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Fellowship Of The Ride Haiku

A day in the sun

Surrounded by friends and laughs

This is why we ride

If Douchebags Ride Treks, And This Guy Rides A Trek, Then...

"Heh, heh! I got strong' this bike's purdy light"


"Cadel...I know how it feels to be World Champion, don't have to wear the kit "all" the time!"


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Rolling With Petacchi

You can have young Cavendish, Farrar, or Greipel, but Mongo is on board with "The Jet".


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Catch A Brief Reflection

"The soul contains the event that shall befall it, for the event is only the actualization of its thoughts, and what we pray to ourselves for is always granted."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Stupid Is As Stupid Does: Surviving The Ride

It could have been such a great day. All indications leading up to 9:30 am yesterday morning were that I was going to have a strong ride. It didn't really turn out that way...sort of.

Mongo had decided to once again venture into the land of Doctors, Treks, douchebags, Litespeeds, and Cat 1 racers... A fifty-man peloton, 40+ mile, 19.5 average speed, multiple sustained climb, hard-ass ride. Under normal circumstances, depending on whether the racers are feeling frisky, Mongo is hanging on near the end of the line...But after these last couple of months of "Cat 5 Domination" training on LPE, I was feeling pretty good about improving my stock on this ride.

All weather reports from the night before said that it was going to be 51 degrees and partly sunny during the meat of the ride. Since I knew I'd be pushing hard all day, I didn't want to overdress. I felt pretty confident, based on riding in temperatures this Winter from the 20's to the 50's, that I knew what I was doing when it came to layering. Had the weather forecast actually been correct, I would have been fine.

Here's what I was wearing...Shorts/ Short socks/ Two long-sleeve Under Armour base layers/ Short-sleeve jersey/ Scull cap/ Fingerless gloves.

Have you ever left on a long ride and just knew that something was wrong? I had that feeling as soon as I left my driveway. It was overcast, misting rain, and cold as shit. I knew that I was under dressed, and for a split second thought about turning around, but I was running late for the start of the ride and I anticipated the weather forecast playing itself out as advertised. It never did.

While staging in the parking lot, Mongo had to assure at least five guys that I was "indeed" freezing, and that I was neither a douchebag nor from Belgium...and I fully understood how ridiculous I looked. When we rolled out, I knew I was in for a long day.

I won't go into the details of the actual ride itself other than to say I survived. It was honestly the most miserable I've ever been on a bike for a sustained period of time. There was even a brief moment where I didn't think I'd make it. My toes, fingers, forearms, and ass, were all numb and useless because of the cold. It misted rain most of the ride, the wind gusted to 20 mph consistently, and the temperature never got above 40 degrees. But...Mongo hung tough, never cramped, and finished ahead of about eight people. All things considered, I was proud of my effort. I have no doubt that had I not been half way to hypothermia, all of my Winter training would have paid off nicely.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Really Should Be Paying More Attention

Mongo has to admit that I don't normally pay much heed to the Tour Down Under. It's usually populated by has-beens, never-weres, and mabe-somedays. My Pro Cycling juices really don't get flowing until the peloton hits the monochromatic countryside and unwavering flats of Qatar. There's just something special about an endless horizon of sand, oil wells, Sheiks, Supermodel-quality "companions", Rolls-Royces, and of course, Camels.

That being said, the TDU this year is chock full of stars. "Slappy", "Mellow Johnny", "BanVerde", "Face Spinnaker"...they're all here for one reason or another. It's a race set up for sprinters to take the overall, but this time around, even though Andre Greipel has won three stages, Cadel and a few others have made things interesting.

One of Mongo's favorite riders, "L.L. Cool 'Chez", wins Stage 5 in a classic battle with Evans, Valverde, and a fast closing peloton full of sprinters.

(Photo:Mark Gunter/CyclingNews)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Manuel Cardoso Loves God

"Thank you, God, for letting me be the Portuguese National that on the first stage win for my new team, I wouldn't be dressed like this."

(Photo:John Veage/CyclingNews)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Didn't I Offer Less Than I Lost?

Wrapped in the comfort of righteousness

Finding a place when insanity rules

Ignored as the screams disrupt the illusion

Breathing the air of malignant neglect

Teed Up And Ready To Go

"I was young...I needed the money!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!"

(Dr. Martin Luther King)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!

The Tour Down Under is about to begin in a couple of days. This race officially marks the beginning of both the UCI Pro Tour calender and Mongo's new season of Mellow Johnny hating. Conveniently for Mongo, MJ has a lot of field finishes and excuse-laden interviews ahead of him as he does his "publicity" tour of Australia.

More importantly...Mongo needs to make his endorsement and throw his "Juice" behind a team for 2010. I'll cut to the chase. As an honorary Black Panther and a fierce nationalist, Mongo must support American cycling. Back in the day, when there was only one or zero teams to choose from, it was a simple process. Today, there are three American UCI teams competing, and with BMC, another talent-laden American team on the Pro-Continental level. Who will get my support?

Last year, Mongo threw his weight behind Garmin-Slipstream...and the results spoke for themselves. This year, before I made my decision, I wanted to check one simple thing. How many American riders were actually on these American teams? The answers were a little surprising.

Team HTC-Columbia...(1) Team RadioShack...(5) Team BMC...(8) Team Garmin-Transitions...(9)

In all seriousness, there is only one team that deserves Mongo's "juice". They may be the "Larry Bird" of cycling teams, but from top to bottom, they are well balanced and capable of winning anywhere in the world in any style of racing. Add to this that Mongo is expecting big things out of a certain aging star come Tour time...and the choice is clear.

"Who loves ya, baby?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ice Road Riders: Slaying The Sunday Ride (On Thursday)

In combination with my well publicized battle with both the elements and "the man" last Sunday, Mongo was unable to complete a very promising training ride on the "Hammerfest" loop. Everyone around town knows that Mongo has been training "heavy only" this Winter. Quite frankly, the early results are in...and not only has notice been paid, but people are starting to believe the "Cat 5 domination" hype. My "damn the elements" determination, along with my "goal specific" training, added to my "inherent" ability to use quotation marks and italics for emphasis, has made this an offseason for "the ages".

Anyway, Mongo saddled up LPE on Thursday and headed out to put the "Fest" out of her misery. I stopped by the shop first to chat with the boys...who were in the middle of a computer crisis that had shut down the POS system. As a renowned "Tech Guru", Mongo advised them to re-boot the floppy disc and to stop watching so much porn. With my work done there, I went about riding.

A wise man, or possibly a stoned comrade, once told me that cycling is all about "leg speed". Mongo is putting this theory to the test with my training this Winter. Not only am I dancing like Sugar Ray Leonard with all my rope work, but by using mountain bike gearing, I've been climbing with a much higher cadence than normal. I'm looking forward to seeing how all this work translates to road gearing on a much lighter bike.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jarvis Melody

"Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream?
It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star,
He played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar.
He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the Machine."

(Pink Floyd)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Feeling Like This Guy

Tomorrow is going to be 56 degrees and sunny...and I have the whole day off to ride. I'm definitely going to overdo it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

O45W: Muscle Confusion

It's kind of ironic that on the warmest day in the last couple of weeks Mongo didn't go riding. Instead, I chose to get some rest early in the day (I am an old-timer, after all) and then do the biathlon of backcountry skateboarding and extreme jump rope. Though I got my "shred" and "cardio" on, I missed an opportunity to do some hill training at a balmy temperature of forty two degrees.

Wow...That's Really Bad

Maybe the best example so far in the 2010, "Gettin' Back To Ugly", Pro Tour kit campaign.

Footon-Servetto-Fuji..."Making Katusha's and Astana's kits look classy!"


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cops, Ice, And Danger: The Sunday Ride

What the hell was I thinking? Barely two days ago, Mongo's part of Atlanta was covered with snow and ice...with the less travelled roads of the suburbs and neighborhoods impassable at worst, and extremely dangerous at best. Add to all of this that the temperature hasn't been above freezing for days, and you've got a recipe for staying inside.

Of course, Mongo was feeling cocky from his Thursday, pre-snow, W.W.S.D. ride, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt the MNR loop under icy, sub thirty degree, weather conditions. Boy was that stupid!

The temperature was really never the problem. Mongo has gotten his cold weather layering down to a science. Excluding my helmet and shoes, from head to toe today I was wearing "thirteen" separate articles of apparel. I ain't gonna lie, it's a production to get dressed and undressed...but at least I'm warm.

The problem today was the ice. Much of the MNR loop was still treacherous. Mongo had to use all of his bike handling skills on the climbs and descents just not to crash. You can see some of these skills in action here when I was filmed by a news helicopter a while back.

About half way through the ride I rounded a corner only to be greeted by flashing Police lights. My first instinct was to take my shirt off and run...just like on "Cops". But after realizing I'd done nothing wrong, and only having "misdemeanor" quantities of weed on me, I rolled up to the cop car and asked what was going on.

It turned out that there was a big-ass accident just up ahead and my ride would be coming to an end because the road was too icy to even attempt to continue forward. So...I called "Shady" on the celly to get some alternate directions, turned around, and rode home.

Shady Doesn't Know Boom

Look who just won his second consecutive Dutch cyclocross National Championship.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spent Time Far Away

"I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience."

(Henry David Thoreau)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thirty Two Miles Below Freezing: The Cat 5 Domination Training Ride

As I sat in my comfortable chair this morning, enjoying my second cup of Kona coffee (black and bitter, like my...), immersed in a game of Halo on the XBOX, I calmly dismissed any notion that I'd be riding today. After all, I hadn't ridden in over a week, and with a snowstorm on the way and freezing temperatures outside, I had resigned myself to the fact that my day would be spent indoors reviewing my rare collection of Scottish porn.

Then, out of nowhere, I thought to myself..."W.W.S.D.?" As an O.G. Belgian, Devolder is certainly no p to the ussy when it comes to riding in cold weather. In fact, not unlike many Pro Football fans in the Northeast, Belgian cyclists are renowned for their life-threatening stupidity during the winter months.

So... Mongo threw caution to the wind, went five deep on layering, and took LPE for a ride. It snowed for half an hour, I had to deal with ice on the trail, and I literally saw no one else on a bicycle. Despite all of this, it was "fun" to realize that I could dress appropriately enough to survive outdoors for a couple of hours.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Did You Pay Someone To Design Those ?

Mongo is an admitted minimalist. Except where it concerns my world class, Beanie Baby collection, I like to keep things simple.
That being said, the new Team Sky kits look like they belong to a gay, Australian Rules Football team...not a UCI Pro Cycling team.
Team Sky needs to remember the old saying. "Once you go black..."


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tilling My Own Grave To Keep Me Level Haiku

High below freezing

Not worth all the production

Went for a quick skate

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Big Hitter, The Lama...Long"

2010 Is Officially Open For Business: Mongo Back Off The Cream

I have no discipline when it comes to ice cream. After going oh for November in Ben & Jerry's consumption, Mongo rebounded in December with about nine pints consumed. Though down from my usual sixteen, this is totally unacceptable. So...I will now be going cold turkey for the entire month of January. I've got no one to blame but myself. Ain't that a bitch?!