After flip-flopping a million times on whether to ride MTB or 'cross at Ironcross, the decision was decisively made while wiping my beloved Dean Ti hardtail down for the race. I discovered the frame is cracked. Thought Ti wasn't supposed to do this. As you can see, the crack starts down the top tube, crosses the seat tube and continues down the wish-bone seatstay. Both sides are cracked. I've seen aluminum frames fail this way. I have noticed annoying creaking the last couple rides and couldn't figure out where it was coming from.
This doesn't suck so much for the race, as I couldn't make up my mind anyway. Now I will race the Ridley 'cross bike. What does totally suck is I was planning to ship this bike out in a couple weeks for a short 4-day excursion down south. There's bits of the southern Appalachians I haven't hit yet in Tennessee and Kentucky. My winter beater hartail is not nearly trip worthy. I will probably have to strip the Ti frame to send it back, so maybe I'll transfer some of those parts over to my $69 Jamis winter beater frame to keep me going this fall.
Monday I'll have to contact Dean. I've purchased five of their Ti frames over the years and still have three of them. They are keepers, my hardtail, singlespeed and road bike. Dean Ti frames carry a lifetime warranty. The Dean Colonel frame that failed is nearly 9 years old. It was the first frame I bought from them. Not sure if the same guys are still running things over there or if anybody will remember me. Warranties often have a lot of wiggle room. It is up to the manufacturer to stand by their product. We'll see how Dean does.