Thursday, April 29, 2010

State Of My Game Haiku

Fitness on the rise

Getting used to the new cranks

Fifth in the last Sprint

The Story You Are About To Here Is True

It all started last Thursday, a week ago today, when Mongo may have saved a seventy nine year old man's life. I came across him, face down in a ditch and not really moving, on the side of the Silver Comet Trail...and what followed was a defining moment in my humanity.

Though I do believe I am a kind, compassionate, giving person, I also know that I am partial to narcissistic and selfish tendencies. So when my brain registered at twenty four miles per hour that there was a person laying face down in a ditch, I literally had a split second to decide whether or not to get "involved". I really must have more asshole in me than I originally thought because it took two "I should really stop!" spoken to myself before I finally stopped and turned around.

The man's name was Jack...and he was an "old" 79. He had lost his balance and stumbled off the side of the trail only to collapse, face down, in a bed of pine straw and rocks. He couldn't turn himself over and his face was bleeding, and when I turned him over, his mouth was filled with dirt and straw. It was quite a sobering sight. I cleared his mouth, washed his face with my water bottle, and made him drink some water. He told me that he had resigned himself to dying if no one had come along...and he was completely serious.

The story ends well...with myself and another good samaritan named Terry spending over an hour with Jack, calling his wife to meet us, and slowly walking him an inch at a time the half a mile back to his medication. During that walk I learned about Jack's Diabetes, his war service, his thirty years working for Hewlett-Packard, and his prized Collie who had recently died. I truly felt honored to have been able to have done "something" for a total stranger who, through a potential tragedy, has inspired me to be a better person.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This Is America...We Know How To Do Slutty

One of Mongo's favorites, "Shetland Jens Voigt", sandbags his way to the opening stage win in defense of his title at the SRAM Tour of the Gila.

I don't know what kind of shamockery this race is, with six or seven Pro Tour riders mixing it up with Continental pros, but the fact that Levi is riding for Team Mellow Johnny's and Dave Zabriskie is riding for Team DZ Nuts shows me that it's not exactly a Tour of "Anywhere in Europe" quality field.

Of the twenty one riders who finished ahead of Mellow Johnny himself, two specific riders of note were Floyd Landis and local Tundra Time Trial legend, Michael Olheiser.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Will $725.00 Get You On Ebay?

"O.G." 1988, Santa Cruz, Salba VooDoo deck.

I Can Call You Betty

Mongo finishes his "Classics" podium prognosticating season with the big squadoosh at Liege-Bastogne-Liege...dropping me to a pedestrian, yet acceptable, four for twelve (.333) for my Spring campaign.


Ok...That's It Then: I Am Awake And The Coffee Has Been Smelled

"You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need"

(The Rolling Stones)


AK47 Update: "You're Fired!"

Actual text from the Team RadioShack website...

Team Note: Andreas Klöden was held up by a crash and dropped out at the second feed zone today. "I was caught behind a crash and lost time. But honestly, I didn’t have the best legs today. That's racing!" (Andreas Kloden)

"You have no heart and you're a bum! You make Oscar Pereiro look like he can still ride...Ptooey!...I'm done with you!" (Mongo Pusher)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Rose Bowl Of Spring Classics: Predictions Sure To Go Wrong

1..."Frito Bandito"

2..."L.L. Cool Chez"

3..."Face Spinnaker"

AK47 Update: One More Chance

Mongo was ready to dump AK as his "Guy" before La Fleche Wallonne. Lo and behold, Kloden feels the pressure and attempts a solo breakaway on the final climb up the "Murder Wii"...Unfortunately, this attack was unsuccessful and he finished twenty fourth. least he tried!

It is for this reason alone that I'm giving him another chance at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Though Chris Horner is probably the hot hand for The Shack, Kloden needs to show Mongo that he's serious about getting into "Tour" shape and competing with the thoroughbred GC contenders.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Simple Minds

"That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest."

(Henry David Thoreau)

Spoke Dancing

Mongo would like to wish his buddy, "Shady", a happy birthday and good luck at this weekend's Athens Twilight Criterium. I would also like to say that "Shady" is living proof that it is impossible to true a wheel properly while you are talking on your cellphone. I think that the retarded, blind monkey that trues the OEM Alex wheels at the factory could have done a better job...seriously. Luckily, Mongo is the Salvador Dali of the spoke wrench and corrected what needed to be corrected.

Taking One For The Team...Literally

Sacrificial lamb, Li Fuyu, is expelled from the "Bruyneel Triangle" and sent to the slaughterhouse when one of The Shack's cocktails doesn't pass the UCI smell test.

"You werrcome, Merrow Johnny!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who Is The Guy In The Glasses, And Why Is He Eyeballing The Old Lady's Rack?

Cadel wins La Fleche Wallonne like a man...outsprinting Contador and Rodriguez up the final climb of the 20%+, "Murder Wii".


Wake Me Up From This Nightmare

Giro del Trentino: Stage 2

1st...Ricardo Ricco

2nd...Alexandre Vinokourov

3rd...Ivan Basso

BTW...Vinokourov won the Stage 1 TT and is the current leader on GC.


Monday, April 19, 2010

The First Hammerfest On The Compact Cranks Haiku

It felt pretty good

My Shifting On Climbs Needs Work

The Sprint...Sixth Again

What Will $500.00 Get You On Ebay?

"O.G." 1988, Santa Cruz, Jason Jessee SunGod deck.

The Wildcard Of The Mountains

Here's what I think.

Alberto Contador is the best stage racer in the world...but the rest of his Astana team is awful by comparison. If there is anything that this Spring has shown us, it's that if Contador wins the Tour de France this year, he'll do it pretty much alone.

Radio Shack, Saxo Bank, Caisse d'Epargne, Liquigas, Sky, and Garmin, are all much better teams than Astana with their own legitimate GC contenders...but none of them have Contador! If "El Pistolero" was on any of these teams, you could pencil in the win right now. That's why I've said before that if AC can win with this horrible team, he should be considered one of the greatest champions of all time.

That being said, Mongo was happy to see a strong performance by Juan Mauricio Soler at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Though he finished sixteenth on GC, Soler was one of the few who marked eventual winner, Contador, stroke for stroke in the mountains. Before his string of injuries, Soler was a legitimate threat on any tough mountain stage. Now that he's on a world class team like Caisse d'Epargne instead of his old minor league team, Barloworld, Mongo is looking for big things out of JMS this Summer.


What A Tiny Little Man

Though not on the same level as his last win at the world renowned, Tour of the Bahamas, Floyd "I kinda won the Tour de France" Landis, manages a second place podium spot at the UCI sanctioned, Tour of the Battenkill.


This Never Gets Old

After you gaze in awe, envy, and amazement at Mongo's ride, check out this video here. I have linked to it before, but it continues to be hilarious.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Squirrel Tragedy

New Cranks And A Shakedown Smackdown: It Was A Good Day

Mongo has been in a cycling funk for the past couple of weeks. I thought that the Hammerfest this past Monday would be a turning point for the positive, but it just turned out to be a "blah" performance. Even the pageantry surrounding the "final ride" of my triple crankset could not overcome my lack of energy and the super-annoying creaking noises coming from the nether regions of my drivetrain. I missed all the breaks on the climbs, lollygagged near the back of the peloton most of the day, but I did manage to scratch together a sixth place finish in the Sprint.

But today is a new day...Mongo took the Sub-19 up to the shop this afternoon for the crankset swap-out. "Shady" and "MC-Lean" were holding down the fort while the two owners are on their bi-monthly, "money laundering" trip to Aruba. There was even a rare "Snow Bunny" sighting when he stopped by for a few minutes to remind himself what an actual bike looks like.

Switching from an internal bottom bracket triple to an external bottom bracket compact is kind of a pain in the ass. The front derailleur, left-side shifter, and "all" the limit screws require the kind of finesse usually reserved for nailing drunk hot chicks. Only after hours of begging, compliments, listening to stupid stories, and a couple of lines of blow, do things start falling into place. Finally, with a little help and mockery from "Shady", it was done.

And the Sub-19 is now...the "Sub-18"!!! Yes folks...17.89 pounds. (w/o pedals)

I took the Sub-18 home and immediately got ready for the inaugural, "shakedown" ride. I rode to the Silver Comet Trail with the intention of an easy thirty miles getting used to the new gear ratios of the 50/34 compact versus the 52/42/30 of my old triple. The narrower bottom bracket profile combined with the higher cadence required is going to take some getting used to.

On the homeward half of the ride Mongo got his first smackdown on the new cranks. It was an Ebay special...Motobecane carbon frame, Ultegra components, Thomson stem and seatpost, Ksyrium ES wheels, and a cranky old man riding who thought he was fast. After letting him draft me for five miles or so, Mongo pegged it at twenty six for two miles straight...and he was gone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Almost Famous

Mongo goes 4 for 9 (.444) in podium predictions for Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix. That's only one pick away from Psychic Friends Network employee territory.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Sprint Too Far: Retro Douches And Smackdowns

Mongo had an interesting weekend of actual cycling. I returned to the group ride circuit on Friday with LPE, and I put in ninety miles of smackdown-enthused riding on the road bike between yesterday and today. Add to this that the noise situation on Sub-19 has resulted in the conclusion that I need new chainrings, and it's been a full weekend.

The teeth on the rings have worn to the extent that my chain is rubbing on the ramps/pins at the power points on the downstroke...making an annoying clicking sound. I've decided to say f*** it to new chainrings and get a new crankset instead. It's more cost efficient and it also gives me a chance to get some new stuff. Stay tuned for the new crankset announcement.

After a one week suspension by the commissioner for Pit Road speed violations, Mongo did the S.B.F.N.R. once again. It's a great ride to do on LPE because the pace is spirited and the terrain is fairly flat. Though I suffer on any rapid accelerations, my top end speed can match anyone on this particular ride. Finally getting my allergies under control with some black market Zyrtec, Mongo was looking forward to the ride. It was a lot of fun. Mongo tried a solo breakaway with about three miles to go and was reeled in by the aggressive peloton. With about a mile and a half to go, another rider makes a break and no one covers him. Mongo is forced to chase him down...and makes the catch and pass with about five hundred yards to go. Unfortunately, at that point, "Lieutenant" Dan comes around me in full sprint for the win. Oh well...I lost to good tactics.

I don't enjoy the Sunday "smackdown" rides as much as I used to. If truth be told, and it is, there's no real challenge to it anymore. Mongo has officially become a "Brown Belt" in cycling. What this means is that I am faster than all the recreational poseurs and wannabes, but still in the minor leagues of the racing culture. I'm either struggling to hang with the big dogs, or I'm beating the chihuahuas like a rented mule. My only satisfaction comes when I occasionally cross paths with a niche poseur. On Sunday it happened to be the retro-douche.

I thought my day was complete with the disposal of the no shirt, no socks, running short wearing, old-guy, tri-douche on the Cervelo...I was wrong. Instead, my day would be capped off by a showdown with a guy who looked, dressed, and rode the same bike as Mario 1992! This guy was priceless. I rode up on him at a light as he was telling another cyclist some bullshit about the rarity of his equipment. When the light changed, I eased ahead of the small group of riders and settled in at about 20mph for the final few miles home. Then he attacked...

Long story short, I immediately got on his wheel and after determining that he had nothing to scare me with, Mongo did his patented, "Boonen-inspired", left rear quarter panel draft for a mile or so and then came around him and pulled away on the home stretch.

Tomorrow it's back to the Hammerfest for a little redemption, and probably my last day on squeaky cranks.

Uh Huh...Ok...If You Say So

"I want a new drug
One with no doubt
One that won't make me talk too much
Or make my face break out"

(Huey Lewis)


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Forgotten American

How about some Chris Horner love? He wins the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco over some world class competition with a blistering final TT stage win...U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

BTW...AK47 finished nineteenth on GC. (Mongo is seriously considering replacing him as my "Guy" because of his consistent sucking so far this season.)


One Thousand Posts: Made With Bits Of Real Panther...So You Know It's Good

Mongo doesn't generally celebrate milestones, birthdays, anniversaries, or other events that are counted or recorded. That being said, I am quite proud of my little blog's career and the fact that I still enjoy sitting down in front of the computer and spewing out my nonsense.

I could genuinely talk about how therapeutic and cathartic some of my cryptic writing has been for me over the years, but no one wants to hear about that crap. What started out as satirical commentary turned into personal exploration...but at the foundation of it all is still my love for cycling and skateboarding.

Mongo has a number of faithful readers around the country and around the world, (I know who you are!) as well as thousands of people who've stopped by intermittently, and I continue to be amazed, surprised, and grateful.

So...From me, Fred Garvin, male prostitute, and my life-partner, Snacks McGee*, I would like to thank all who have travelled the first thousand with me.

(*) Not his real name.

Lead Pipe Locks: Paris-Roubaix Predictions Sure To Go Wrong

(All Photos:CyclingNews)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Take It To The Limit: Screws

Mongo's road bike, Sub-19, always seems to have some sort of click, tick, or ping going on. Though when I'm riding, most of the racket occurs in the five inches between my ears, I am almost positive that thirty percent of the time there is actual noise coming from the bike itself.

In the past couple of months Mongo has changed wheels on the Sub-19 as well as changing lubes...I've just never been happy with the Magnum/Astroglide interface. Anyway, with the new A.C. Hurricanes I had to adjust my low-limit screw, and ever since then I've had sporadic chain/chainring squeaking. Add to this that my favorite lube, Pro Road , has been discontinued and there really isn't anything that compares to it out there, Mongo has been forced to play the field...but as of yet, I have not been left satisfied.

I did spend a good hour in the garage working on my chainline and setting up the jockey wheels in the most efficient position. Lets see what happens during my next ride on Saturday.

Holy Diver...Farrar Wins Scheldeprijs


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fest Aborted: Pollen Derails Mongo

For those people who do not live in any number of southern states in this great country of ours, your exposure to pollen and springtime allergies is purely amateurish by comparison. In Atlanta, where Mongo lives, I have to deal with what many consider the worst overall air quality in the country. When April rolls around and the pollen fills the air, going outside can sometimes be downright dangerous.

Mongo has lived in this environment for over a decade, and every year I get crushed at the beginning of allergy season. It just so happened that it started for real yesterday...and Mongo had to go out and do the Hammerfest. In the pollen statistic world, a count of 0-30=low, 31-60=Moderate, 61-120=High, and 120+=Extremely High.

On Monday for the 'Fest, the pollen count was...1633! Today it was 2967! That's more that 10x and 20x what is considered extremely high. Needless to say, Mongo was a wreck and absolutely no good on the bike Monday. I had to give up half way through the ride. My head was pounding and I could never catch my really sucked!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Undemanding Contact

"People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Them's Softball Numbers

If there is one thing that Mongo is good at, and luckily for me there are more like two or three, it's betting on mainstream sports. I've managed to to be "Up" my entire career and I have certainly enjoyed the perks of my winnings. This success has afforded me the hubris to believe that I have the same prognosticating skills when it comes to Pro cycling. I'm here to tell you that, well...I do!

After going 1 for 3 (.333) at Milan-San Remo, Mongo picks up the pace and goes 2 for 3 (.666) at the Tour of Flanders...with my third guy, "Slappy" Hincapie, finishing a respectable sixth. Stay tuned for the Paris-Roubaix podium sweep.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

No Downs Were Smacked: The Saturday Charity Training Ride

Mongo had a good day of riding. Instead of my usual "Cat 5 Domination" training on the Enemy Bike Shop Ride, I joined "Boonen", "King-A", and about ten novice'ish cyclists on a training ride for the Tour de Cure. This is an extremely good cause benefiting the American Diabetes Association. If you would like to sponsor our team (Smyrna Bicycles) or just make a contribution, please click on the link above.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Will $750.00 Get You On Ebay?

"O.G." 1979 SIMS Phase 3 Composite with Gullwing trucks.

OK...I'm Definitely Feeling This One: Predictions Sure To Go Wrong

1. Tom Boonen

2. Phillipe Gilbert

3. "Slappy" Hincapie

Reign In Blood Or Divine Intervention?

After a weekend filled with controversy and flat tires on the cut-throat, alley-cat, back-woods circuit of extreme suburban group riding, Mongo was ready for a relaxing forty mile jaunt on LPE. The only problem was that Summer showed up on April Fools Day...and it almost freakin' killed me!(Not really...but it was "literally"(I hate when people say that) thirty degrees warmer than the last time I rode on Monday) Needless to say, I was under-hydrated and under-prepared for the heat.