Thursday, February 17, 2011

R.I.P. The Stallion

I need to start by explaining that at the beginning of this season, for monetary reasons, I had to decide between getting a new bike or getting a powermeter.  Such are the decisions of a neo-pro, decisions that impact a year of training and racing, the goal of which is to get results that make it possible to get both a new bike and a powermeter in the same year.

Ultimately I decided on the powermeter and last week that whole process ended.

This week I have a new bike.

There is really no way but straight forward to explain how all of this came to happen - and I don't want to do it any other way because I loved The Stallion and a lot of HUGE thank yous are owed.

On Saturday, I went to Conte's Bethesda have my SRM installed and The Stallion tuned up before leaving DC.  Several hours later it had become gut-wrenchingly obvious that my Orbea Ordu frame was on the verge of becoming a paperweight, through absolutely no fault of the shop or mechanics installing the SRM or doing the tuning.  In fact, these guys receive my first THANK YOU because they knew when to stop.  As simple as that sounds, in the art of bicycle maintenance it is sometimes not, and instead of pulling something that screamed "pull me," they didn't and preserved my ability to have options to solve the problem.

Ah, yes, the problem...The miracles of modern bike design and manufacturing have irrevocably changed and challenged bike maintenance because for aerodynamic purposes, intrinsic parts of the system - cables and housing - that were once on the outside of the bike can now be on the inside.  But having these parts inside requires a permanent guide to make sure they get where they need to go - and when the guide and the parts won't come apart to put the new parts in, pulling that thing that screams "pull me" seems tempting.  Really tempting.  But if you pull, the guide is torn out and those parts will never again get where they need to go and the frame becomes a beautiful piece of expensive, hand-made carbon art.

An additional layer of the problem is that it occurs entirely internal to a closed system - a frustrating black box problem of the first order, the answer to which plays out on your credit card statement. 

So I returned to the shop - Tri Bonzai - where I had originally purchased The Stallion, with a tentative identification of the problem and a wing and a prayer.  Because the situation stood like this: I had a jacked up bike and in five days, I was leaving town permanently and the country for six weeks for the expressed purpose of riding that bike.  I needed help, warranty coverage, and in one simple potential scenario, a brand new frame that I purchased on the spot.  Tri Bonzai remains an Orbea dealer, which is key because I ride a relatively rare frame and I ride it in probably the rarest (and definitely the smallest) size, and has the connections to scour the country for a rare Orbea frame and have it show up less than 24 hours later.

But first, the mechanics at Bonzai needed to confirm for themselves that stuck parts were actually stuck so the ballet played out again as it has at Conte's: two grown men, with lots of lube and de-greaser and pliers, tried to pull one piece of plastic out of another piece of plastic, both of which are delicately inside high-modulus carbon and one of which MUST remain inside of and attached to that carbon.  When that failed, the real miracles started.

Past this point, I think only huge gratitude is needed, to:
  • Josh of Orbea USA, who took a Saturday afternoon call that he probably wishes he hadn't
  • Jason of Orbea USA, who executed a lifetime warranty replacement on a frame in something like 1/30th of the normal turn-around
and most of all
  • Darrin, Glen, Adam, and Mark of Tri Bonzai, who not only orchestrated and coordinated the vast majority of three crazy days, but who also gently but expeditiously took a loved mainstay in my life:
The Stallion

and replaced it with this:

New Shiny Bike

 I ride an Orbea bike because I chose to; Orbea does not sponsor me.  To them, I am any other customer - and the service, support, and bike splits I have had since choosing the Ordu sure help convince me that remaining their customer in the future is a good thing.

But first things first: the business of choosing a new bike name.  I would hold a contest or something, but I feel these are personal decisions, a lightening strike of sorts.  I'll let you know when the baptism occurs.

3 comments:

Josh Gordon said...

Kelzie, just glad everything worked out! Be careful and FAST SPLITS!

Matt said...

Kelzie- hope the new ride serves you well!

How 'bout 'Phoenix' for a new name? 'Cause, out of the ashes of what was 'Stallion' rose a newer and faster iteration. Just a thought.

Godspeed and a safe journey to the Canaries!

rick & marnie said...

how about "Painted Pony" to keep with past theme and a qick pace...

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