Monday, January 12, 2009
I was over at the Ebay earlier and came across the above photo. The catalyst for grabbing the photo wasn't the use of the "vintage" label on the nine year old frame without sarcasm, but the ghastly sight of a serpentine zombie, with clenched fist in mid-swing, about to clobber what looks to be a flux capacitor.
As I came out of my shell shocked haze I soon realized that I had seen this ghoulish figure before. My brain had simply resorted to the defensive measure of blotting out past sightings and replacing grim reality with something more comforting, like a fried chicken leg.
As it turned out, what I saw was the Rider of Clubs-"Bastard of Ernesto". A stain that blighted legions of Colnagos and caused great gnashing of teeth back in 1998-2003. They were dark times.
I'm not sure what possessed Ernesto to go Rocky Dennis on nearly a generation of perfectly good bikes for six years. Whether it was the intoxication of too numerous Mapei victories, a twisted prank on his adoring public, or something more perverse. I don't think I want to know. I get the feeling it would be depressing.
The adrenaline and bodaciousness of the VHS tape I got at Interbike '96 with the mullet maned and fat fingered tough guy building frames in Cambiago will never dull, but the whole damn episode blew the myth for me. I became a little more jaded and suspicious of all the fairy tales the companies were weaving and I began to ask "Why?"
I didn't accept the existence and packaged rationale for "new and improved". I needed proof and justification. Sometimes I was satiated, but usually, the stuff left me cold. Thus my cruel tutelage on Bike Shop Wit and Criticism had begun.
As for Ernesto, it took awhile, but he seems to have a firm grasp on the reins again and his house in order. He's still one of the few that maintains a respect for nearly all frame materials and makes many of his bikes where he always has. He offers alot of cool paint options with nary a RoC to be seen.
I hope he can hang on to that. I'd hate to face the fact that the well coifed stallion I saw so long ago in analog glory has had his legs cut beneath him relegated to rubber stamping mediocrity. That would be a shame.