Saturday, November 26, 2011
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. Well...as 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.