I have some fantastic news to report: I have officially recovered from my weird disaster!
Yesterday afternoon I did a great ride up Decker, down Mulholland, up Encinal, and back down Decker. On my Kestrel. Which has been repaired. Successfully. And most excellently. YAY.
Time will tell whether this repair is truly as strong and stiff as the original, but the early returns are really positive. The bike felt exactly the way I remembered. In fact in the course of riding so many other bikes I've become more aware of the various ways bikes differ, and I must tell you it was really great to be back on my bike. The Kestrel has a soft fork, which makes for a cushy ride, and yet the bottom bracket and stays are stiff, which makes it accelerate quickly. And it is light, so it is a great climber. I really appreciate this machine.
So - I have my bike back, and I've learned a lot. (And had a lot to blog about.) And the story isn't quite finished, because there are still those new Kestrel RT900s coming out, and I plan to stay in touch with Brenda and ride one as soon as I can. Who knows... In the meantime I am excited; there is a 400K next weekend and yes I am planning to ride... stay tuned!
[Update Sunday 3/1/09: So I rode the bike again today, and really I have to say this repair is perfect. The bike feels exactly the same, and the craftsmanship is wonderful; you have to look really close to even notice something was done. And nobody who didn't know could ever tell that the dropout is not original equipment. My hat is fully off to Edgar Chavez and his team at RoadRunner Velo!]