Sunday, October 31, 2010

Maybe You're Better Off This Way

"Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate oddfellow society."

(Henry David Thoreau)

More Fun To Watch Than Road Or Mountain Bike Racing


Ahh, Cyclocross!... You are the Hacky-Sack of the cycling world. One minute you can be dressed like a hot dog while navigating a tough switchback on your ironically expensive and under-maintained carbon "whip", and less than forty five minutes later you can be sitting on a wall, holding a Vuvuzela, explaining passionately to your girl how the guy on the Cannondale wearing the Bob Marley dreads cut you off right before the last stretch of singletrack...while still comfortably dressed like a hot dog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mongo's Man Crush...Mischo Erban

Turn the volume up and... Click Here For Awesomeness!!!

Brotherhood Of The Damned

Mongo has finally relented and given up. I once defended the ideals and magnificence of a sport built on cheating and lies. It has taken a long, long time, but now I see it clearly. Professional Cycling is a bubbling cauldron of incestuous, self-preserving, mob-mentality, Gumbo.

When was the last time you heard a top rider call anyone out...for anything? Sure, they'll bitch about rules or course conditions, but ask them to address doping, or other riders, or questionable teams, and they'll clam up like they're all patched-in members of SAMCRO.

Everyone...from team owners to team managers, from Tour winners to can't-miss prodigies, have either something to gain, something to hide, or something to lose. Nobody wants to threaten their own piece of the pie.

It will only be from outside agencies and pressures that any true reform will happen with the integrity, or lack thereof, of Professional Cycling. And do we really want it...or care?

What Will $1281.00 Get You On Ebay?

1979 Kryptonics "Micke Alba" K-Beam...Tracker trucks/Sims wheels

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pawns For A Pauper's Son

Be careful what you wish for

Because one day it might happen

Then all old dreams and fantasies

Collide with life's realities

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Power To Weight Ratio: They Might Be On To Something

Today was one of those "look in the mirror" kind of days on the bike. I will preface this by saying that Mongo went 50.2 miles, door to door from the house, at an average speed of 19.2 mph. I rode with teammates, "Stephen King's "Thinner"" Tom, and "I Snuck Out Of The House, Please Don't Tell My Wife" Steven.

Once again I am troubled by the fact that...I am getting older and my window for "Cat 5 Domination" is closing. I am surrounded by mostly younger and quicker friends and teammates who are improving as fast or faster than I am. Also, the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room actually is an eight hundred pound gorilla.

The "only" way I'm going to become the racer I think I should be is to lose at least twenty pounds of fat without losing any of my muscle mass or density. All of Mongo's self-deprecating fat jokes aside, this would actually be a tough task. I don't know if I'm built that way or, if truth be told, and it is, I want to be. The diet and lifestyle change would have to be dramatic...and what's the payoff?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Up And Down The Boulevard

Painted veils and submarine eyes

Living in lounges of no return

Holding on for the song that's never to play

Betrayed affections in the light of the dark


Monday, October 18, 2010

No One Ever Excused His Way To Success: The Monday Ride

Mongo woke up today knowing that I would probably have a sub-par ride this evening at the 23/2300 Hammerfest. I had an annoying twinge in my back from some heavy lifting on Saturday...I did a fast 45 miles yesterday, including an "epic" smackdown with a Look 695...And, I only got in two days of training over the past week. All of these things, plus the fact that I just wasn't "feeling it", led to my self-fulfilling prophecy.

On a serious note, "Former Hammerfest Champion" Clay had a bad crash as he was contesting the sprint at the top of the earliest, and hardest climb of the ride. This set a bad tone for the rest of the circuit. Two people stayed behind with Clay as the rest of us continued on. My legs got cold during the fifteen minute delay, and then I subsequently threw my chain on the next climb and had to dismount... and of course got dropped. My motivation from that point on was low.

I've been riding well lately and am really working on losing some pounds, so I won't read too much into my bad performance today...But it still sucked!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One Donkey Show In Tijuana Away From Becoming Trek

Expanding market share through overexposure and corporate greed is the first step in losing one's "Street Cred". The "Great Specialized Bicycle Company", of which Mongo has been a proud owner of their products for many years, has decided to step their game up and flood the Pro Tour with three teams riding their bikes...Astana, Saxo, and now HTC.

What the Pros ride matters little to anyone other than the serious fan or enthusiast. What does matter is the "Branding" that can come from smart advertising and linking this American company to successes on cycling's highest level. Mongo will wait and see how Specialized uses this unique opportunity to be the "big boy" on the block...and with Trek likely to ride the Mellow Johnny anchor all the way to the bottom, they may decide to fill the corporate mega-brand void that is left. Just don't turn into a douchey company and make me hate you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Packin' The Pack!

East Carolina 33...North Carolina State 27

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Caught A Fleeting Glimpse

"The human body is a magazine of inventions, the patent office, where are the models from which every hint is taken. All the tools and engines on earth are only extensions of its limbs and senses."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Chasing The Dragon: The Right Base Layer And A Strong Headwind

Mongo lives within ten miles of one of the most important and strategic Air Force bases in the country. Stealth fighters and bombers, Presidential visits on Air Force One, overseas staging and deployment...all of these things happen there. All in all, it's pretty cool to live close enough that I get to see all the different planes coming to and going from the base. (Unless, of course, the "Ruskies" decide to launch) This weekend they are hosting a big air show...and the Blue Angels are the headliners.

Since I've lived where I live, I've seen the Blue Angels perform and train over my house about a half a dozen times...and it never gets old. They are louder than loud and overwhelmingly impressive in their precision and beauty. I stood in my driveway today, straddling the top bar of LPE, staring into the oceanic sky for almost twenty minutes, while three of these beauties ripped up the heavens above me. I seriously almost shed a was very moving.

Then I went riding...It was windy as hell...I was underdressed...Chatted with "Doo Doo" Brown and "MC-Lean"...Did 25 miles into the wind, uphill both ways...Went home.

Let's Try Again Next Year: I've Had Enough

Two months before the TDF (Clenbuterol/Plasticizer) scandal with the "Frito Bandito", Mongo had a bad feeling.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hell Yeah!


This video makes me want to do something crazy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Coolest Cycling Photo Ever Taken

Cat 5 Domination Motivation

(Photo:Stephen Carhart)

Mongo just completed what may have been the best three days in a row of cycling that I've had in a long time. On Saturday, as I've already chronicled, I dominated the Enemy Bike Shop "B" ride. Yesterday, Mongo participated in the 1st Annual "Alp d'Huez Mike" Memorial Ride. As is turns out, Mike is not dead...but instead has moved to Colorado. And...he showed up for his own ride. (That's Mike in second position and Mongo's arm in fourth.) Fun and hammering was had by all, and it felt good to mix it up with the A-Team and hang in there all day.

Mike pointed out to me what Mongo already knew...I'm (fat) too heavy to be as fast as I should and want to be. I've got the engine, but I also have the caboose. Mongo has to look no further for motivation than teammate, "Boonen"...who lost thirty pounds in eight weeks and has vaulted to the front of the peloton. From what I understand, it's a complicated diet involving sweet potatoes and having your girlfriend prepare all your meals for you.

Tonight, of course, was the 23/2300 Hammerfest. It was fast...real fast. We finished the loop with an average speed of 19+ mph. Mongo hung tough on all the climbs and actually got in position to lead out the Sprint with about 300 metres (European for yards) to go. Of course, I didn't win...but at least I was in the mix. Mongo did provide "Former Hammerfest Champion" Clay the perfect leadout for an upset victory over "Cat 3 Sandbagger" MC-Lean(TM).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Will $325.00 Get You On Ebay?

#550/1000 Limited Edition Playboy Skateboard
(Shredding the Grotto one Bunny at a time )

Dominating The Ride: The Wrong Ride...But Dominating None The Less

Mongo had a rare Saturday off in which to do some riding. Whenever this occurs, I like to go and test my skillz at one of the nearby Enemy Bike Shop rides. The one I like the best, and the one that is the most challenging for Mongo, is ultra-douchey and mostly populated by Doctors, Lawyers, Titanium frames, Zipp wheels, and snarkiness. But what the hell? It's 40-55 miles of hammering and a good test of one's mettle.

I went to the website to double check the start time. It "clearly stated" that the ride would switch from 9:00 am to 10:00 am in being a semi-intelligent bloke, I went with it, being that this was the second Saturday in October.

When I rolled into the parking lot around 9:45, everything looked normal. People unloading and getting ready, cliques of like-jersey'd riders gathering together...the usual. I counted between 40-50 riders, and figured I'd be in for a long day, but I knew I could tuck in somewhere and I'd be alright. That's when I ran into a fellow Smyrna Bicycles team member...Dipesh "Mode".

We were catching up and chatting when the peloton started rolling out. Something just didn't feel right. Though we were surrounded by Madones, Assos, Sidis, and smugness, I noticed that there didn't seem to be very many people under the age of 35. Normally, this ride is populated with some young Cat 2's and 3's along with the usual, older, Cat 4 pack-fill.

When we started to take some turns that I wasn't familiar with, I knew something was up. In my most non-"I'm a dork and I don't know what's going on" way, I asked someone where we were going. As he looked down on me through his Oakley Flackjackets, while wearing his Mellow Johnny's kit, riding his Madone (Seriously!), I was informed that this was the "Buckhead" ride, and that the "Six Flags" ride that I was supposed to be on had left at nine. Instead of arguing with him over what was on the website, I vowed to myself that no matter whatever else happened, I was going to drop this asshole...and I did.

Though not usually comfortable with sudden change, Mongo settled in and enjoyed the ride. Dipesh "Mode" and I were up front all day, and the peloton fractured and split several times over the length of a modified 35 mile course that included more climbing than the 23/2300 Hammerfest.

It came down to about twelve of us at the end...with Mongo and DM breaking away on the final climb and finishing 1-2 at the line with a ten second gap on the peloton. It was a great day all the way around.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Time To Wake Up And Smell The Coffee...Or What The Cat Dragged In...Or What The Rock Is Cooking: The Monday Ride

Mongo is still thinking of a name for the newest version of my road bike. It's not so much that I enjoy naming inanimate objects, it's just that when writing about one's bicycles, it always sounds smoother to say you had a good ride on "Lucille" or "The Red Baron" or "The Punany Hunter", rather than the Giant TCR Advanced...It just rolls off the tongue better.

"I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough"
(James Ingram)

Mongo had a strong ride yesterday at the 23/2300 Hammerfest...but as it turned out, so did everyone else. A small group of nine braved the arctic temperatures, which dipped into the lower 60's, and produced one of the faster circuits of the season. You know when you look around the parking lot at the regulars of the group ride and you can't decide who the slowest one is that day?...If that's the case, it's YOU!

All the big guns were there..."Cat 3 Sandbagger" MC-Lean, "Former Hammerfest Champion" Clay, "I'm In Great Shape And I'm A Pilot" Jason, "It's Not Doping If You Buy It At GNC" Tom, and three other dudes who were all faster than me up the hills. That's the thing...Mongo is a "Rouleur" not a climber, so this ride really pushes me to the limit on the steep hills. Luckily for Mongo, there was one regular that I managed to stay ahead of the whole way. Considering the quality of the riders and the speed of the ride, I was quite pleased with my performance.

No matter how hard I try to keep myself in denial, I know that the major obstacle in me taking it to the "next level" is my diet. I eat like a Goat...I have no discipline, especially with ice cream and chocolate...But I'm actually in good muscular shape. I literally have six-pack abs under an inch of fat. I am also in good cardiovascular shape, with my resting HR in the 50's, but until I can lose 15-20 pounds of fat, I'll never be able to ride and recover on the climbs with the really fast guys.

Is the sacrifice necessary to achieve this goal worth it at this point in time?...I don't Know.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

With Somniferous Almond Eyes

"In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood

(Henry David Thoreau)

Halfway There: Picking Up Speed

It's been a great week of cycling for Mongo. After the unexpected hail and storms early in the week, the weather has turned crisp and clear and Summer is officially a memory. Mongo has managed to ride four days in a row, beginning on Thursday, and I'm feeling as strong as ever going into what is unfortunately one of the final 23/2300 Hammerfests of the year.

For many of the Smyrna Bicycles team members, this is cyclocross season. Mongo has, and could, opine for minutes on what I think of cyclocross, but I won't. It all boils down to this...There are only three reasons to race cyclocross. 1. You enjoy it. 2. You're good at it. 3. You own an ironic/expensive carbon bike with tubular wheels. Since none of these apply to me, I will happily stay on the sidelines.

I have finally gotten all of my bikes nice and quiet and running smooth. On Thursday I managed only one loop of the Hammerfest course on LPE before I got hit with some late afternoon cold drizzle combined with some scattered school buses. The going was cold, wet and slow, so I called it a day after about 30 mi of 85% effort and about 3000 ft of climbing.

On Friday I was looking forward to a brisk effort at the SBFNR. Unfortunately, the only people who showed up were Mongo, "BEH" Darelle, and a girl on a flat-bar who drove all the way from downtown to do the ride. The going was slow with lots of chatting, but it was enjoyable. The girl(I forgot her name) and I both went to high-school and college in the same city, she wasn't bad to look at, and Darelle and I pushed it hard and sprinted at the end of the ride.

Saturday morning I did hill intervals in my neighborhood. An hour and a half of climbing 7-20% grades over and over. In the end, the distance was only about 16 miles, but I pushed myself to complete exhaustion. This training has proven to give me the best results, but I'll never be a fan of going up.

Today I took my game to the Silver Comet Trail for a 40 mile spin and about five smackdowns. Mongo has ridden this trail thousands of times, so I have the ability to judge my performance at any section, at any time, based on years of data. I know when I'm riding well, and I know when I'm not...I'm definitely riding well right now. The highlight of the afternoon was taking down two TT guys right after a drawn-out effort against a dude on a Cannondale who looked exactly like Rahsaan Bahati.

The Only Word Variation In The English Language Ending In The Letters MT: Last Night I Dreamt That Thor Hushovd Won The World Championships...Really!