Saturday, April 11, 2009


Yes fatigue. We have all experienced fatigue in one form or another.

Physical, mental, material.

Did I just say material? Yes I did.....and you will see why as you keep reading.

Since my game was back on after three weeks of illness, which culminated in pleural effusion, I was ready to get back to some serious training. I needed some long saddle time this weekend and I didn't want to do it on the trainer, especially 3 hours.

The weather forecast called for clear skies but cold temps. No problem because I would layer appropriately and use some hand and toe warmers for the extremities. Woke up around 7AM and started to get fueled up and gather my riding gear for the day. The temp was showing 35 degrees and The Weather Channel was saying the wind was NNE at 10 - 20 MPH.

One thing I always take into account is wind chill. Not only do I worry about the reported wind chill but also my average riding speed, 20MPH. So I wore my heavier tights and a wind vest to fight of the natural and riding wind chills.

I headed out and was looking forward to the ride. I went south first knowing I would have to battle the winds coming from the north during my return. It would be good mental and physical training for riding in less than ideal conditions.

I had my camera so I took some pictures along the way.

Obligatory shadow picture.

And a couple shots at different angles. Trying to offer something new.

With the wind at my back I was feeling warm and toasty, almost overdressed for the ride. But I knew that the wind would be right in my face so the extra layers would be helpful. Yes another picture. Notice I am outside and NOT on the rollers going with no hands. It's also a country road so there was no traffic around when I did this.

I reached the southern-most part of my planned route and started to head east. The winds were felt immediately. My speed was hovering around 17MPH. As I crossed over one of the major state routes I noticed something very peculiar. My pedal stroke was shortening up. I wasn't getting the full extension of my legs at the bottom on each stroke. I looked between my legs at my seat and noticed the seat post had slipped down.

When I stopped and swung my leg over, the seat moved so loosely it twisted. I had to take a picture of my seat.

I told myself, "Okay, no problem. You have your multi-tool and can tighten the clamp." When I went to loosen the bolt I noticed something very interesting. Fatigue. Of the material type. In this case....aluminum is the material....fatigue results in cracks.

Yes there are three cracks highlighted by the red circles. Not sure how this came about but it didn't bode well for my ride. I was at the furthest point away from home with a seat that wouldn't stay up. Fortunately I wasn't too far from potential help. There were two friends I would be riding by on my route and I could see if they were home to help.

I figured all I needed was some duct tape to help hold the seat post in place. I didn't let this minor set back dampen my spirit. Stuff like this happens. Unfortunately I was looking to road race a little this year and now it may not happen. These cracks have potentially ruined the entire frame....unrecoverable.....worthless......damaged beyond repair.

My faithful GT ZR3000 is dying. I will mourn my ride later once I get a full diagnosis.

So I continued with my ride feeling like a kid on a tricycle. My legs spinning in little circles with my knees barely moving away from my chest. I was able to spot this pig roaster next to a guys barn. I couldn't help but notice the bicycle wheel he used as part of the spit. Definitely worth the picture.

I rode to Patrick's house to see if the family was home. Patrick and his wife Linda got me on the bike in the first place so I knew he would be interested in seeing the damage. No luck. These people are busier than a bee hive in August. With three kids playing soccer and getting in their cycling it would have been a miracle that they would be home.

So it's off to stop number two. Scott and Jane live one city north from Patrick. Not much farther to go on my lowered seat. Please be there Scott. BINGO. Scott was working on their basement and provided me with four strips of duct tape. Looks like it would hold up for the final push home. This is what the tape job looked like once I got home. The seat tube still slipped some but at least it wasn't all the way down.

The remainder of my ride home was uneventful, thank goodness, except for the stiff winds hitting me straight from the north. There is nothing quite like a stiff breeze while going uphill.

All told my ride time was 2:50:00 and 50 miles. Total trip time was more around 3:30 considering the stoppages due to my mechanical difficulties. Overall it was much needed time in the saddle. The entire body is tired from the effort but it's training money in the bank.

What's next for the GT? Not sure. I hate to think the worst but it may come down to retirement for the frame. But I'm not giving up hope yet.

But man, he sure has helped me get my Game On.


TriSaraTops said...

Oh nooooooooooooooo!

Poor, poor GT. I hope it's fixable somehow...but it doesn't look good, huh? Arg.

Great ride, despite all the trouble!

~Jess~ said...

Nice post... I always have my blackberry with me just in case I see anything fun. like a wheel on a pig roaster.. but alas, all I took a picture of was my half way marker :)

Good to see you back in the game!

Rick said...

Eric, what size frame is (was) it?

Cyndi said...

What an adventure! And even better that you have friends in remote places to call on for help!

Duct tape rocks, what else can we say?

PS - My google reader is not updating when you post...I have to delete you and re-add you. Unless I see a notice on FB, I've been missing your updates...