Friday, December 30, 2011

Who Needs Tenerife?

In the first official training camp style ride of the 2012 season for the Smyrna Bicycles Cycling Team, pronounced "lay-o-pard", eight of us got together yesterday and put in a brisk, 19 mph, 40 miles on the Silver Comet Trail.

A good time was had by all and a little smack-talk has started to rumble about the upcoming "race of truth", the Tundra Time Trial.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rocket Reducer #66

The memories of my youth on Internet radio

I was so much older then

Sensory sounds at the click of a button

I'm younger than that now

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'll Go This Way: Sizing Up The Competition

Mongo had every intention of "layin' it down" on Saturday morning and doing a serious ride. My ride options were 7:30 am, 10:00 am, or 3:00 pm, with various or no teammates.

I chose the 10:00 am option...which was one of the two "Enemy Bike Shop" rides. They both start at the same time from the same place with the shorter, Cat 6/7 ride breaking off after a few miles. This is the ride that Mongo has dominated all year...with either a win or a podium the last thirty or so times I've participated. I figured that for my last, probably, suburban-alley-cat-group-ride of 2011, I was going to do the longer, faster, Cat 1-5 ride.

When I arrived at the parking lot and looked around I knew that "wasn't" going to happen. There were way too many matching kits belonging to local pros, and there were even a couple of guys wearing Hincapie kits and riding BMC's. Too rich for Mongo's blood! Had it been a month ago and twenty degrees warmer, I probably would have given it the old college try. was 45 and windy and I hadn't doped properly for the effort needed to hang, or try to hang, with this bunch. So...I broke off at the appointed spot and did my usual ride with the usual suspects.

It actually turned out to be a little slower than normal, which led to "Hairy Guy With Beard On Parlee" and Mongo breaking away from the peloton about halfway through the loop. We battled each other over the last five miles, with both of us attacking several times, but in the end we decided not to contest the sprint...though Mongo did cross the line first.

Feliz Navidad

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Climb On The Back And We'll Go For A Ride In The Sky

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back To Back: That's The Fact Jack

For most of Mongo's life, I have followed the "do what I want, when I want to do it" credo. While this cavalier attitude might seem admirable to some and childish to others, know that Mongo has paid the price many times over in the face of stability, commitment, family, and society. That being said, it has allowed me to pursue, or not pursue, avenues that might normally be closed to many. A ceramic bearing gathers no moss.

I was peeling off my kit a couple of weeks ago after a strong, 44 mile, 20+ mph ride with "He Was In The Front Most Of The Time" Tom, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. When did a small Shar-Pei start living on my stomach? Sure, I hadn't been riding as much as normal. And sure, my honey-bun and ice-cream intake has continued. But other than that, I was stunned at this development.

The past two weeks have been a boot-camp style immersion into regaining my fitness and losing the flabalanche. Long rides mixed with interval climbing have finally gotten Mongo back to ground zero. I put my fitness to the test on Saturday and Sunday with fast loops on the 23/2300 Hammerfest and the Beyond Six Flags courses.

Like most human beings, I'm not a big fan of cold weather. Throw in some wind and a bicycle, and it can be pretty miserable. Mental fortitude becomes the main factor under these conditions. Both rides offered Mongo the opportunity to pack it in early, but in honor of my teammates who were out there H'ing The F Up and racing cyclocross, I hung in there and finished strong.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Noises In My Bottom Bracket And A Real Asian Doing Tai Chi: Back On The Bike

(Photo: Powell-Peralta (Mike V Is The Shit!)

Mongo is typing this while all hopped up on Goody's PM. There's a good chance I'll soon fall over like a freshly-darted Honey Badger on his way to relocation. I have been riding, and will be riding tomorrow, so stay tuned for a lazy synopsis of the past couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Between The Truth And The Consequence

“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The Kaiser Does Fondo: Cat 6 For Ex Pros


What Will $134,000.00 Get You At Liege-Bastogne-Liege?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Blinky Lights And The Weekend Wrap Up

I'm surprised that I haven't mentioned this before. It irritates me as much as a snotty, parking-lot-poseur or a tri-geek rocking a triple and "every" add-on accessory that's made by Profile Design. I'm talking about, of course, people who insist on running their lights during the daytime.

Mongo is all about safety, don't get me wrong, but a high-intensity, flashing light when the Sun is out does nothing more than reinforce the fact that the person using it is an idiot. I don't need a thousand lumens blinking directly into my eyes to let me know you're there. Why? Because it's not dark...and unless you're wearing your Nashbar, Klingon "Cloaking Vest", there's a good chance that I'll see you before anything bad happens that might have been prevented by me being blinded by your stupid light.

Mongo didn't get to defend my victory this Saturday at the Cat 6/7 "Enemy Bike Shop" ride. Work and being old got in my way. Though disappointed, I was actually happy to get some rest. When you reach Mongo's age, sometimes your chamois writes checks your legs can't cash. Anyway, I was eager to get back at it on Sunday.

Mongo put in 45 miles on the Silver Comet Trail (Home of the annoying blinky lights), and managed an average speed of 19.2 mph. Not too shabby for a solo ride. I did have to dispose of two Cervelos when they decided not to play nice and tried the two-pronged, "Schleck" attack on me several times over ten miles.

Today, I went back to the hills of the 23/2300 Hammerfest for a day of moderate suffering. Except for some dude in a car stopping me on one of the climbs to ask for directions, it was a smooth ride. I hate to say it, not really, but I'm riding pretty well these days. My weight is down to what it was in college (I was kinda chunky in college), and my aerobic and anaerobic fitness is at an all time high. If I keep this up over the winter, well, I can see myself moving up from the rear-middle of the peloton to the front-middle of the peloton next season.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Will $3219.00 Get You On Ebay?

"O.G." 1981, Sims "Brad Bowman" complete with Indy trucks and Powell-Peralta wheels.

The Irony Is In There Somewhere

As I was finishing up another training ride today on the 23/2300 Hammerfest loop, "Lone Wolf McQuade" style, I was thinking about what I was going to write about tonight. Up to that point, nothing particularly eventful had happened.

Mongo turned down going mountain biking with "I Forgot I Owned A Really Nice Mountain Bike" Tom and "Ibid" Brown in lieu of putting in some needed miles on the road. I stopped by the shop first and chatted with MC and "Crash" before I headed out, and after I remembered I had eaten nothing yet, an organic energy bar and a Coke Zero were consumed to fuel my afternoon.

The ride was fine and I worked on some different gear combinations on the steep climbs as well as in/out of the saddle positions and how they all affected my HR. My stamina out of the saddle is getting much stronger and my ability to sustain momentum uphill is making me a better climber.

Then...on the final climb of the day, a mere two miles from home, I got run off the road by a school bus. Seriously! The grade was steep, the road was curvy, and the bus driver's seating position didn't allow a clear view of me until he was along side and was able to use his mirrors...which he obviously didn't. I don't really think he ever saw me at all!

Mongo got sandwiched into a curb. Had I not been blessed with terrific balance, thanks to several years on the Pro Log Rolling circuit, I probably would have gone down and possibly been run over by the rear wheels of the bus. Mongo managed a modified track stand on a 20% grade for a few seconds while the bus passed so close to me that I could smell the metal. Seriously!

After some well placed and diverse expletives on my part, Mongo rode home.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bring Me My Bow Of Burning Gold

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ”

(Henry David Thoreau)

On The Down Low: A Win For The Ages


One might look at the photo and the title of the post and logically believe that I would be talking about Andy "Gavia Pass" Hampsten's heroic, 1988 Giro win. nice as that little victory was for American cycling, Mongo's win today at the Cat 6/7 "Enemy Bike Shop" ride has to rank right up there.

Mongo rolled into the parking lot "Undercover Brother" style, not wearing a team kit for the first time in a long while...mostly, and only, because all my shit was dirty. I have to admit I felt a little naked. Usually there is an unspoken disdain or admiration that percolates throughout the staging area for the various teams and kits in attendance.

From the get-go it was on. A group of about thirty split quickly into ten...and then soon we were three! It was Mongo, my old nemesis, "Hairy Guy With Beard On Parlee", and newcomer, "Guy Dressed Like Mario Cipollini From 1996 ". Mongo rode really well and set the pace for most of the middle of the ride. A very long stoplight allowed two "Enemy Bike Shop" team members to catch up with us and this changed the dynamic of the group for the final five miles or so. No one wanted to lead for very long because of the hard climbs toward the end.

Finally, "Cipo" attacked and Mongo tucked in behind. We gapped the three behind us and rode at a steady 25+ mph until we reached the beginning of the final kilometre (European for miles) of the ride. This is a fast, 30+ mph downhill stretch which usually concludes with an out of the saddle field sprint or a well timed breakaway. Mongo was in perfect position to win at any time, sitting comfortably in the draft, so I relaxed for a moment. Just then, out of nowhere, "Hairy Guy With Beard On Parlee" jumps both of us with less than three hundred metres (European for yards) to the finish line and looked like he was going to be the winner on the day.

The fast-twitch muscles in my legs had a mind of their own and reacted like a shirtless criminal on "Cops"...Mongo tossed the gun, climbed the neighbor's fence, and took off! I got onto his wheel with barely 200 feet to the line and dug deep. I'm talking so deep that I couldn't tell whether I was hallucinating or actually coughing up my balls...And in a bike throw that would make "E-Zab" proud, Mongo came around and took the win by half a wheel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



If you were not a cycling fan and I told you that the rather haggard looking woman on the right is fifty three years old and the reigning French national TT champion and she has won five consecutive and ten overall titles in this discipline as well as dozens of other international palmares, you would say two things to me... "She looks older than fifty three" and "Who friggin cares?".

Well... Jeannie Longo just beat a doping rap on a procedural technicality from a very sympathetic "French" organization. She is a national treasure after all. Mongo is no genius, and I'm pretty sure Longo and her creepy looking, color-blind, control-dodging, husband/trainer aren't the new models for Mugatu's "Derelict" campaign, so how exactly does one get that "rode hard and put away wet" look from clean living?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Will $639.00 Get You On Ebay?

O.G. 1975 "Torger Johnson" Logan Earth Ski...Undrilled!

Wondering Why And Where Did I Go

So...I've come to the conclusion that I, Mongo "Winthorp" Pusher, have been doing a shitty job of blogging over the past few months.

There are many reasons and excuses for my less than prolific output, and I wish I could say that I was concentrating on quality over quantity, but the truth of the matter is that I've gotten lazy!

As with cycling, writing involves getting out there and doing it. Just as you can't fake your way around dominating an "Underground-Cat 6/7-AlleyCat-Suburban-Group Ride" without training, you can't produce the brilliance that is this blog without putting in some significant keyboard time.

I vow to all my loyal and misguided readers, who are obviously just taking a break from porn when they stop by, that I, Mongo "Billy Ray" Pusher, will do my best to put in the miles and cat-up with my writing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Irina Shayk Vs Look 596

Twenty Miles And A Lifetime Away

Mongo rode fifty miles today. Not so impressive in the big scheme of things, but considering my condition yesterday I was just happy to leave the house and get on a bike.

You see, Mongo spent all day Sunday "locked down" in my dark, cool, quiet bedroom, laying immobile, only interrupted by my occasional need to vomit. I was suffering from a migraine headache of Tsunami proportions.

About four to five times per year Mongo stumbles into the perfect storm of dehydration combined with an overload of both sugar and sodium. This leads to a total body shut down. It just so happened that yesterday was a bad day to be out of action. Mongo missed competing in the one and only Cyclocross race that I probably was ever going to do. Now...I'm obligated to try again one day.

Let me congratulate my fellow teammates from "The Greatest Bike Shop In The World" who, unlike Mongo, managed to HTFU and get out there and race. They are...Brown, Dan, Mark, Tom, Steven, and Ian. Well done, boys!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not Prepared Whatsoever: Let's Do This

It's time for Mongo to HTFU and enter the world of Cyclocross! This Saturday I will be starting, and hopefully completing, my first race in this quirky discipline. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, don't worry, you are not alone. It is populated mostly by Europeans, ex-mountain bikers, second-tier roadies, and dedicated amateurs with way too much disposable income.

Fun fact...Cyclocross has the highest travel time to race time ratio of all the human powered, wheeled sports. True artisans of this mystical endeavour think nothing about pre-dawn travel in life-threatening cold for hours at a time just to be able to race their guts out for forty five minutes or less...Sweet!

All kidding aside, Mongo is "kinda" looking forward to it. My category will have so many riders in it that if I don't get off the line with my patented, "Shirley Muldowney" holeshot, then the best I can hope for is finishing in the top half of the field. We'll see what happens. At least I haven't been riding at all in the past eight days! So I've got that going for me...which is nice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Could...But I Won't

There is a certain power to the written word. If you say something often enough and with an unwavering conviction, pretty soon people will start to believe you. Whether it's the truth or not becomes almost irrelevant. As the author of this little shack in the woods of a blog, I have chosen to keep my personal feuds out of my writing...with one exception.

After almost a year of nary a peep of controversy, mostly because he was too scared, lazy, or "injured", the ugly head of mental imbalance has once again emerged from the cave. I can only hope that he quickly sees his shadow, gets frightened, and hastily returns to the darkness for twelve more months of shut the fuck up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Taking A Break: The Baby Stopper

One More For The Road

Tonight was the penultimate 23/2300 Hammerfest of the season...meaning that next Monday, Halloween, will be the final official team ride of the "Road" year. Many of the team members have already transitioned into the quirky, cantilever-brake, world of cyclocross, but it really is the end of the season for most of the guys.

Though Mongo has promised to practice up on my portaging and dismounts for the "uno" cyclocross race I'll be doing this year, I'm kind of sad to see the sunlight, warmth, and enjoyment, inevitably slow down to a trickle over the coming Winter months.

I've had a good year on the bike! Next to Cat 3 up and comer, "Full" Gass, I can honestly say that Mongo was probably the most improved member of the Smyrna Bicycles peloton. I went from "bad" to "I've seen worse" in a little under a year. If I can get to "pretty good" next season, then there might just be some "Cat 4 Domination" in my future.

If Only The Lonely Ate Bologna

The ebb and flow of inspiration

A slack tide in the face of a filling moon

Brilliance exhausted through rational procrastination

Accepted except when truth intervenes

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bad Idea Or Really Bad Idea?

It is said that repeating an action and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity. I contend that repeating an action knowing full well what the result is going to be each time, and that result is always going to be bad, is a sign of stupidity! Mongo is guilty of carrying some short-bus DNA.

I love pizza! Next to ice cream and chicks, it's my favorite thing in the world. When I eat it, I tend to eat large quantities. I whip myself into a carb-deprived trance while channeling the gluttonous spirits of Henry VIII and Jabba the Hutt... until I have gorged myself to the point of shame and self-loathing. This usually happens on a Sunday afternoon when I have nothing to do afterwards other than whimper and gather together the reading materials for the marathon, mildly lactose intolerant, bathroom session that is sure to come.

Occasionally, Mongo will go off the grid and eat pizza, much smaller volume, prior to a ride that same day. It always ends horribly!...My legs feel like molasses, my stomach is bloated, and I can't generate any power. I probably put such a strain on my body digesting the large quantities of cheese and dough that it can't have any blood left to pump oxygen to my muscles. I know this!!! I've done it at least three times with bad results...yet occasionally my hubris leads me to believe it will be different the next time.

Let's cut to the chase!

Yesterday at noon, Mongo consumed an entire medium, Dominos chicken pizza. At five fifteen, Mongo pedaled out of his driveway on the way to the start of the 23/2300 Hammerfest. At five fifteen and ten seconds, Mongo knew he was in trouble.

It was a fast ride with all the big guns in attendance...and even on a good day, Mongo would be in the bottom third of this peloton. I hung tough all ride but was no threat to anyone at any time. I thought about throwing out a pre-ride excuse at the pre-ride excusathon that takes place in every parking lot before every ride, but I held back...both the excuse and the acid reflux that would be bombarding my sinuses for the rest of the day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lost In America


Mongo has been spending a lot of time and miles on the F600 lately...and really enjoying it! There have been both legitimate and phantom reasons for me to have interrupted my training routine, which included my regular "Singletrack Sundays", but I am happy to say that Mongo is back on track.

A big dose of rain over the past few weeks and my unwillingness to hurt myself on the wet, slippery, rocky, rooty, unstable terrain, along with a saddle that nearly eliminated my ability to pee, have children, and ever sit down, temporarily took Mongo away from a part of cycling that I really enjoy. (55 word sentence...possibly grammatically correct...impressive!)

Today, Mongo put in about seven miles on the local trails. It was more of a recovery ride since I put in a hard effort yesterday, winning the Cat 6/7 "Enemy Bike Shop" ride in a crafty sprint and notching consecutive podium, number twenty two. Tomorrow will be Mongo's first 23/2300 Hammerfest in almost a month, so I'm anxious to put in a strong performance. We shall see how my training pays off.

What Will $427.00 Get You On Ebay?

For those of you who know, and you know who you are..."OG" 1980's, Alva, Bill Danforth (The Godfather), "Candle-Skull" deck...Signed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Third Wheel: Literally

So...what's been going on?

The Pro cycling season is winding down after a pretty exciting World Championships. Of course, we all know that  Mark "If You 'Aint Ridin' Specialized Then I 'Aint Ridin' On Your Team" Cavendish won in dramatic fashion...proving once again that he is unbeatable if he is placed in the right spot by his teammates. What was great about guys like Mario Cippolini and Robby McEwen in there prime was their ability to win sprints without organized team tactics. To me, though a great talent, Cavendish still needs some more wins like Milan-San Remo.

The UCI is peddling a sham of a World Tour event in the ongoing Tour of Beijing. This event was forced down the throats of teams with veiled threats of reprisals if there were boycotts or opposition. China...really!? I know a billion people there ride bikes that look like early 70's Schwinns, but I'll bet those same people couldn't tell you the difference between a derailleur and a DeRosa. As usual, with corrupt governing bodies in sports, the almighty Yuan factors prominently in the UCI's decision.

Mongo will wait until after all the transfers are complete and the UCI names the Pro Tour teams granted licenses for 2012 before I opine at great length about the state of the game. Let's just say that I'm not too thrilled about the "mega-team" future of Pro Cycling being led by two shady characters whose names rhyme with Johan Bruyneel and Jim Ochowicz. Stay tuned...

I always get a kick out of seeing a guy on a mountain bike sticking it to a group of roadies at their own game. After all, this is exactly how Mongo transitioned from being one of the fastest guys on a mountain bike on the road to being one of the most average guys on a road bike on the road. I feel so proud.

Today at the Cat 6/7 "Enemy Bike Shop" ride Mongo was joined by teammates, "Baby Daddy" Eddie and "I Thought We Were Regrouping" Dan. After taking the win, and my 20th consecutive podium last week, Mongo was looking to "legalize it!" with a win and podium numero dos uno.  Done!!!

Mongo got in a breakaway over the last few kilometres (European for miles) of what was a very fast and spirited ride. Both of my arch nemeses were also in the breakaway. I haven't mentioned them before, but these two guys are always my main competition. They will be referred to from now on as..."Hairy Guy With Beard On Parlee" and "Hairy Guy With Glasses On Colnago". These two, along with Mongo, Eddie, aforementioned guy on mountain bike who came out of nowhere at the end, and a couple of other dudes with some game, all went to the sprint where Mongo seized control and took it to the hizzy.

Though I am riding my third rear wheel in the past two weeks, my fitness and motivation haven't waned. I broke the rim on my American Classic Hurricane...broke two spokes on a warranty, loaner, Oval Concepts...and now I'm riding an old school, Sun/Ultegra with "36" spokes. The stiffness is great but the weight 'aint light. This one will have to see me through until my AC gets built.

There are only a few 23/2300 Hammerfests left this season and Mongo still has some personal goals to achieve before I retire to my Villa on Lake Como for the holidays. As the late, great Al Davis loved to say..."Just win, baby!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Can Only Invent The Bicycle Once

"A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

-- Steve Jobs, 1998

Monday, October 3, 2011

Close To Home...Straight Outta

Irina Shayk Vs Wilier Zero 7

A Silly Grin And A Bubble On Your Head

Only when there's no solution

Because the light no longer shines

While inside the dance endures

Following the scripted play

Crack A Smile And Cut Your Mouth

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Smile From A Veil

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

A Broken Wheel And Some Singletrack: The Weekend Wrap Up

Mongo broke the rear wheel on my AC Hurricanes last Friday. I have to say that it was a long time coming. These wheels have seen it all. Potholes, railroad tracks, general abuse, and my fat ass have all contributed to the ultimate demise. A lesser set of wheels would have failed a long time ago, so I'm not too mad about the whole thing. As we speak, Mongo has the ball rolling on getting a new rim and the wheel re-laced. In the mean time, Mongo has borrowed a rear wheel from "The Only Good Wheels I Have Are Campy" Tom, and I'm good to go until the new wheel is built.

I didn't actually realize the wheel was broken until mere seconds before I was about to head out on Sunday morning. After a few moments of cursing and disbelief, Mongo decided not to ruin the whole I dusted off the Cannondale, pumped up the tires and the Headshok, and headed out to the local singletrack.

After five fast'ish loops around the course in succession, I was close to passing out. The high intensity, short bursts of power needed on this course do "not" suit Mongo. Add to this the inability to do two of my favorite things on a bike, coast and not pay attention, and my mental focus and physical exertion finally got the best of me. But...I never crashed or put a foot down. Mongo really does have fun on my mountain bike, but I also have the most uncomfortable saddle in the world on it, so I end up paying the price in the taint area for several days afterwards.

Friday, September 23, 2011

For Stacy

I met a girl and she's moving away

Fate brought us together but life got in the way

Sharing ourselves for just a little while

All it took for me to hold on to her smile

If timing is everything then I want to miss a beat

An uncertain future in exchange for lips of sweet