Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And From Holding You Down With Me

Mongo just recently celebrated his birthday. I say this not in hopes of receiving congratulations or money, (money is always appreciated) but because though I'm in my early/mid forties, I have had a "Benjamin Button-like" transformation over the past decade and feel like I did when I was in my early twenties...Seriously!

Granted, when I was in my twenties I was "on the dope" and a borderline alcoholic, so my standard of reference is pretty low...but that was twenty years ago!

Between the ages of twenty three and thirty three, Mongo drank, smoked, snorted, and illegal activity'd himself through life. Though I wouldn't change a thing, (except pretty much most of it) my physical health and mental well being suffered.

When I quit drinking a little over ten years ago, my physical and emotional state began a transformation for the better that has helped me to live a healthy and balanced life. Cycling, in turn, has provided me with both inspiration and motivation for my mind and body, but the truth is that because of riding my bikes, I am in the best shape and health of my entire life.

With age comes wisdom and perspective...which provoke the conscience for needed change.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend Winners Haiku

First Cancellara

Then Fedrigo and Eisel

Joaquin Rodriguez


AK47 Update: An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Kloden,
Please stop sucking!
Mongo Pusher

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fifty Miles To Nowhere: A Change In Plans

As far back as Wednesday, Mongo was excited about the possibility of being able to ride five days in a row. I had all day Thursday, Friday evening, Saturday morning, all day Sunday, and to top it off, the 23/2300 Hammerfest on Monday night. It hasn't really worked out that way so far.

It rained all day on Thursday...for about sixty percent of the time. I could have ridden at nine a.m. when I planned to leave, but I kept convincing myself that the rain was about to hit. And it finally did...three hours later. The truth is that I really hate riding in the rain and probably subconsciously sabotaged myself.

On Friday it was finally all systems go. I did the Smyrna Bicycles Friday Night Ride...a twenty five mile jaunt on the Silver Comet Trail. It's ridden at a social/recovery pace, with the last four miles open to racing if anyone feels like it. When Mongo has done this ride in the past, I'm usually on Li'l Pony Express for training purposes. Yesterday was no exception. On this flat'ish track I can keep up with anyone, and with the addition of the Speed Bars on LPE, I'm even faster. I was looking forward to the final few miles when I could mix it up with the fellas.

Here's what happened. With about three miles to go I got a casual fifty yard lead on the group...and took off! I settled into the Speed Bar drops, shifted into the 44-11, and never looked back. I'm still not sure how hard the peloton chased me, but they were several hundred yards behind at the finish. I rode about as hard as I could, and in the process, tweaked my left knee. This injury, in turn, affected my riding plans for today.

I had two very appealing cycling options for this morning. Either go to the mountains and ride some "gaps" with my fellow teammates, or do the Enemy Bike Shop Ride solo. As Mongo is fond of saying concerning my uphill abilities..."I'm a lover not a climber", so even though the day was sunny and the mountains are beautiful, my game is more suited to the Enemy Bike Shop Ride and it's race-like atmosphere. The course fits my skills as a rouleur and maximizes what I'm trying to do with my "Cat 5 Domination" training. As it turned out, I did neither.

I woke up at seven this morning. Early enough to do the "gaps" at nine, or the Enemy Bike Shop Ride at ten. My knee would have none of it. I made a split second decision that if I was going to be able to ride the Hammerfest on Monday, I couldn't risk injuring my knee any further by doing either of these strenuous rides...then I went back to sleep for two hours.

At about nine'ish I got up, had some coffee, and decided not to be a pussy. If I wasn't going to ride hard, then I was going to ride long. I took some Advil, kitted up, got on the Sub-19, and did fifty miles at an 18+ average. The knee didn't hurt much, and I even got to smack down a dude wearing a full Rabobank kit on a Cervelo with Zipp's and a Powertap.

Eight Time World Champion Victoria Pendleton...Yes Please


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prodigy Or Protege?: Mellow Johnny 2: Electric Boogaloo

From the loins of champion parents...already a two-time World Champion on the track at age nineteen...groomed in the minor leagues of elite road racing...he is the "Post-Armstrongalyptic" future of American cycling.

Taylor Phinney...Get used to it!


Why Ask Why?

People who are knowledgeable about Pro cycling, inside or outside the barricades, universally admire, respect, and even love, Jens Voigt. There are even some who write in prose much more eloquent than my own who can summarize in detail his most heroic traits and accomplishments. I won't trespass onto their domain.

All I will say is this..."Jens Voigt doesn't fuck around!" When he has the legs, he puts his head down and punishes the peloton on the way to victory... as he did today in Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Catalunya. When he doesn't quite have the legs, he will work just as hard to help his team or teammates achieve success. He's Mongo's kind of guy.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AK47 Update: Let's Try This Again

LBM and AK47 sit 2-3 at the Volta a Catalunya after the second stage. Now is the time, against strong competition, that both of these guys need to step up and show that they are serious about being legitimate GC contenders this year.

Monday, March 22, 2010

When They Call Another Winner

"Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul."

(Henry David Thoreau)

I'll Bet You Didn't Know...

That the first American cyclist to win a stage in a Grand Tour was... Ron "The Wookie" Kiefel. (Stage 15/ Giro d'Italia/ 1985)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mongo Bats .333

Oscar Freire wins his third Milan-San Remo in grand style by beating Boonen and Petacchi in a sprint at the end of almost 300K of racing. This guy is one of the great Pro cyclists of all time. Three World Championships to go along with his seventy career wins...not too shabby!


Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm Feeling This One...Milan-San Remo Predictions Sure To Go Wrong

1...Edvald Boasson Hagen

2...Alessandro Petacchi

3...Tyler Farrar

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's With The Pictures...It's A Parking Lot

Mongo did an easy forty miles with my buddy, "Boonen" today. It was good to get the legs pumping again after the Hammerfest on Monday.

I need to concentrate on my out of the saddle climbing. All Winter long I worked on seated climbing and cadence, which turned out well, but for the fast, violent climbs on the 'Fest, I really need to be more explosive while standing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Many Years Have Passed Since Those Summer Days

"Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Well you wore out your welcome with random precision, rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!"

(Pink Floyd)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To The Victor Go The Spoils

The Smyrna Bicycles 23/2300 Monday Night Ride Hammerfest season has begun!...and this year we have a food sponsor. With the winner of each ride receiving a delicious, and complimentary, Calzone.(Week one winner Clay's trophy pictured)

A good time was had by all and the usual suspects patrolled the front of the peloton. Mongo felt strong all ride and pulled out a legit, fifth place finish in the Sprint after leading out, getting dropped, and fighting my way back.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"You Talkin' To Me?"

And finally, the "Piece de Resistance".

It's On...The Fest Begins Tonight

After a strong final weekend of training "heavy" on LPE, Mongo is ready for the first 23/2300 Hammerfest of the season. I have no legitimate expectations or delusions of grandeur that all of a sudden my Winter of "Cat 5 Domination" training will propel me to the front of this high-quality peloton, but...Mongo may surprise some folks this year.

I'm Not Crying...I'm Tired

World Champion, and making sure everyone knows it wherever he goes, Cadel "Face Spinnaker" Evans, continues to ride like he means it...and has solidly moved moved into podium contention at Tirreno-Adriatico with one stage remaining.


Cycling Needs Rahsaan Bahati

Straight outta Compton...literally! This dude has more "flava" than all the white dudes in the peloton combined. Lucky for them that he is the best Criterium racer this country has to offer and doesn't bring his "flyness" to road races very often. R.B. is also a new team owner and his Bahati Foundation continues to do great things in bringing cycling to the kids of inner-city Los Angeles.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Eyes That Tyrannize

Standing on the shoulders of repeat offenders

Allowing the spaces to quietly grow

Remembering when truth was a noble ambition

Tomorrow believes in the idea of tomorrow

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let Me Know If You've Heard This One

"Two Polish brothers take EPO and finish 1-2 at the U-23 Cyclocross World Championships..."


Tirreno-Adriatico: This Week's NIT

Tom Boonen quiets all the skeptics who questioned whether he left his good form at the hotel in Oman...with the two "Hostesses" and the "China White". Boonen beats actual Europeans in a European race.


Same As It Ever Was

"The Pistol Is In The Pinto" lays down some smack and beats a quality field on the first mountain stage of Paris-Nice...and takes over the lead on GC.

The cream has already risen to the top, with Valverde, Kreuziger, and both Sanchez's chasing the "Bandito". Levi has dropped about ninety seconds back and VDV is stinking up the joint at the back of the peloton.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Bones Brigade: Cool Then...Cool Now

Still Life Infamy

On what turned out to be the nicest day of the year in Mongo's part of the world, and after what has been the worst Winter in a decade...I didn't ride and took a nap.

My intention was to ride. I've had a great weekend of training. On Saturday morning I did the Enemy Bike Shop ride with "Two-Time Defending Hammerfest Champion" Clay, and "Rising Collegiate Star" Jimmy. Then on Sunday, I took LPE to the Silver Comet Trail for a thirty mile recovery ride that included smacking down a Litespeed and a Cervelo. All in all, a strong couple of days.

The fact is that my old ass sometimes just needs the rest. Over the years Mongo has learned to read his body like most people view porn on their computer at work...very carefully! I can tell when it's time to shut it down...and with the start of the 2010 Smyrna Bicycles 23/2300 Hammerfest Season only seven days away, I don't want to jeopardize my final week of "Cat 5 Domination" training by getting sick.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Choosing Stones

"The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

C5D Training Haiku

Saturday Morning

The enemy bike shop ride

Fitness looking good

Photo Op: Che Guevara Fan Club


Look Who Finished Third: Paris-Nice Underway

Scrappy American and Olympic Bronze medalist, "Shetland Jens Voigt", finishes the opening Prologue behind Lars Boom and "O.G." Jens Voigt...and just ahead of the "Bandito".

There are some serious thoroughbreds in this race, so it should be a good barometer of who are going to be the major players this year. This is usually the time of year that Levi dominates the Tour of California, so maybe that form will translate into victory here...U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!


AK47 Update: The TT That Wasn't

Kloden finishes fourth in Murcia behind Rabon, Menchov, and Wiggins. It just also happens that this was the exact finish of the decisive Stage 4 TT. Mongo is happy with AK's early season form. Let's hope he's not forced to be Mellow Johnny's babysitter again this year.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vague Rant

"...which is why me and "The Kaiser" back there won the Tour de France... You get used to the needles."

I Ain't Gonna Play Sun City

Robbie Hunter, of the Mongo endorsed Team Garmin-Transitions, wins his second stage in a row at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia.

The truth is that the field of sprinters in this race is about as weak as Mongo's bladder after one too many Arnold Palmers. I'm not hating on Robbie Hunter, but he hasn't beaten anyone good since he had a lucky stage win at the 2007 TDF.

AK47 is towing Mellow Johnny along in the mid 30's somewhere on GC, but on time they're only five seconds back. There's still a mountain stage and a TT, so look for them both in the top fifteen by the end.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blackbeard's Tower Haiku

Standard...Left hand side

Spiraling the roundabout

My home by the sea

Bob Biniak: O.G. Z-Boy...R.I.P.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Makin' Us Proud: Part Deux

If he wasn't nailing hot sorority chicks before...

Jimmy Mitchell wins the B Criterium at the Georgia Southern-"Battle in the Boro".

Mongo remembers back in the old days when he used to (never) beat Jimmy at the local, 23/2300 Hammerfest..."Good times!"

The Weekend Wrap Up

Mongo is tired...and old! "Cat 5 Domination" training is finally catching up with me. One of the unfortunate downsides to being an older, "high-performance" athlete, is that no matter how much you might wish otherwise, your body doesn't recover as quickly as it did back in the "old days"....And by "old days", I mean some romanticized time in the past when Mongo was a young, finely tuned athlete with amazing recovery both partyin' and athletin'!

That being said, Mongo put in a strong weekend of riding. Starting last Thursday through this afternoon, Mongo is looking at about 200 miles of serious training...all on the Sub-19. And it's been really windy the entire time. There's something masochistically enjoyable about battling a headwind...It is an invisible rival that pushes you and questions your dedication all at once.

Mongo is a little disappointed about not doing the Enemy Bike Shop Group Ride on Saturday morning. It was just too cold! I had flashbacks of my last time on this ride when I was under dressed and almost froze to my bike, and since none of my teammates were going, I decided to pass and let it warm up a little. Later that day Mongo did 50 miles on the SCT at an 18+ average. It was a good fat burning, high pace, cadence ride.

Yesterday, Mongo, dressed in full 2010 SBCT kit, went out looking for a didn't really happen. An old guy in good shape on a Litespeed passed me after I had passed him, but after a few hundred yards of quarter-panel drafting, I did my best Mellow Johnny/Pistolero "lookback", and attacked on the hills. Other than that, it was an uneventful, but windy, 40 miles.