Friday, November 1, 2013

The Banzai Maneuver

This past weekend, I made a last minute decision to ditch racing Boss Cross in KC for the Gateway Cross Cup in St Louis.

I raced the Masters 40+ races both days. I had a good race on Saturday. I managed to keep the bike upright for the entire race for the first time this season, and had consistent power throughout. My lap splits verified this consistency: the largest time variance between laps was only three seconds. As a result of good handling and decent power, I was able to pick my way through the field to the second step on the podium.

Sunday's race began a lot like Saturday's. Starting again from the back row, I was sitting third at the beginning of the final lap and second place was only 50 meters up the road. I punched it and caught second place, then sat on for a quick breathier before I'd attempt to pass on the next straightaway.

That straightaway was a good place to pass because it was tailwind-assisted and followed a deceivingly easy right turn. The tricky part was a small gully that bisected the straightaway. The gully featured a small ledge that separated the grassy slopes on both sides from pavement. Under normal speed and circumstances, that hazard wasn't a big deal. However, it became dicey at attack speed because you had to lift your front twice: once to keep the bike level during the drop-off, and once again to keep from burying the nose into the other side.

With high risk comes high reward. As we entered the straightaway, I attacked and passed the rider just as we were dropping into the gully. I was going well over 20 mph when I hit the bottom. I hit hard. Really hard, with a loud thud. My back wheel immediately went squishy. I knew then that I had pinch flatted and kissed second place goodbye.

Afterwards, I explained to Mark how and where it all went down.

"You went for the banzai maneuver," he said.


Mark continued, "Yeah, the banzai maneuver is a smart risk early in the race, but probably not the best for the final lap ..."

Mark's words were flittering away as I mulled over that word, banzai. It reminded me of something, that word, banzai. But what was it?

Oh well. No biggy. I thanked Mark for his assistance in the pits and chalked it up to experience. Overall, I had a great time racing at Gateway Cross Cup. I hope to do it again next year.

Thanks for reading. Happy Friday

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