Today is the calm before the storm; the cloudy, breezy 32 degrees waiting to dump many inches of snow upon the Midwest.  So I rode.  Today being the first real ride, I was nervous at first, but this is about overcoming fears for me, overcoming that which I did not think I could do.  I rode 7 miles and it was fantastic!

Yet you might be wondering about the title of this blog.  You have realized by now that it is not burning hot outside, although zero Celsius could be considered a nice change from the frigid temps earlier this week.  Think of my bike’s name: Phoenix.  What happens to phoenixes that makes them special?  They are immortal.  Describing Fawkes from Harry Potter, one wiki page explains “He periodically died by bursting into flames (an event called a ‘Burning Day’), and was then reborn from the ashes.”  Burning Day was Tuesday.

Nothing out of the ordinary, I was just bringing my other campus bike inside from the snow, and admiring Phoenix when I noticed something was not quite right.  Bringing Phoenix into the light, I became concerned, seeing a small crack by the notch in the seat tube.  The crack was only about 4mm long and seemed to be under the finish, but I knew this was not right.  It’s that small worm of panic that perhaps it’s your fault, possibly, there will be no solution, that a precious possession has met its end far too soon.  Connor brought it to the bike shop as Shiqi and I tried on cycling clothes (also super exciting!).  Then all the professionals gathered around, arguing whether the crack was just the paint or was actually a problem.  ”What’s the verdict?” I asked anxiously.  The answer was shocking to me: We’re going to replace the frame with your warranty; come back Saturday for your bike.  So that’s what I did.

In the mean time, I had my first cycling lesson in the basement of ARC’s cycling studio.  I wore bike shorts for the first time; goodness, they’re super comfy.  Then I bought a trainer from Ashley.  It’s a wind-powered stand I can put my bike on to practice indoors with varying resistance levels.  Super discount! Winning. :)  Also it’s very noisy but that’s fine because I can use it in the basement.  Looking forward to that!

Fast-forward to today: I got my bike back, and it’s the same color and size, with all fitting adjustments back to precisely the way they were set up before this week.  Although I didn’t have the opportunity to burn the old frame (haha that would have been rather epic), I consider this hiccup to be a blessing.  I am very grateful to have found the crack in the frame.  It was probably an assembly error, due to over-tightening of the seatpost clamp around the tube, maybe without the post in.  For those of you who are wondering why a tiny crack resulted in me receiving an entirely new frame, you must understand the nature of carbon fiber.  A small amount of damage can compromise the stability of the whole bicycle, so I am quite grateful to have noticed the fissure when I did.

Well that’s about all for now.  I have taken a much-needed week off from fundraising, and am looking forward to more training and riding!  Stay warm!


This is a picture of the new frame - I didn't get a chance to photograph the previous one. Just to the lower right of the notch in the seat tube is where I found the crack in question. Trek now has the "old" frame, so I suppose you'll never get to see a picture of it.


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