“It’s great to get to this point,” Marin Museum of Bicycling board member Joe Breeze said. “The museum was open last year but we wanted to do it right. For 20 years or so, (the Hall of Fame induction ceremony) was down in Las Vegas which is a place where industry people come every year. … We wanted to open it up to the public. In Las Vegas, it was in a normal room. Now in Fairfax for the first time, we’ll be able to have everyone sit down for dinner amongst the bikes that created the sport.”
The museum will host three events beginning on Friday night with a meet and greet with the five inductees. A group ride with the inductees is scheduled for Saturday morning, followed by the ceremony at the museum on Saturday night.
Tickets for all three events are available at mmbhof.org.
On Saturday night, the founder of U.S. high school mountain bike racing Matt Fritzinger, former world champion Missy Giove, the founder of Mountain Bike Magazine Hank Barlow, the founder of the first multi-day race Roman Urbina and the founder of Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology Jeff Archer will be inducted.
Marin County native Steve “Gravy” Gravenites was Giove’s chief mechanic during her world championship run.
“(Gravenites) was one of the best wrenches around for many years and still is quite the wrench,” Breeze said. “For years he was working on the bikes of the best racers in the world for downhill racing.”
Gravenites works for Mike’s Bikes in Novato and will induct Giove this weekend.
“I talked to Joe at length (recently) about it,” Gravenites said. “I told Joe ‘You have a lot of racers in your Hall of Fame but very few icons of the sport, very few people who really changed the sport for the better.’ ... (Giove) forced all of her competition to be better to keep up with her. She also had that New York, hip-hop style, it was all her own. She wore a dead piranha around her neck, she shaved half her head. She had that style that was definitely new at the time.”
Giove, who was a nationally ranked downhill skier before switching to mountain biking, was a young upstart for Yeti Cycles when the two first crossed paths in 1990. By 1992, Gravenites was working for Giove and by 1994, she was the pinnacle of the sport having won the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Vail, Colorado.
“I got to work for her first in 1992 and before I stopped working for her she was a national champion and world champion,” Gravenites said. “World champion is a major milestone in any bicyclist’s career -- to wear that rainbow jersey and be the unabashed champion of the world. I got to wrench her bikes -- as a mechanic I was on the road for 10 years.
“I can count the true iconic riders that I wrenched for on one hand. … There are racers but there are very few racers that changed the sport for the better.”
Giove is the all-time leader in National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) downhill wins with 14.
“There was no one like (Giove),” Gravenites said. “She was high energy, had a dashing sense of style and she was committed. As a mechanic, I always put in the longest hours, always made sure the bikes were color coordinated and totally fit the rider. … I rarely felt that the racers were giving as much as I was but with Missy, we had to tell her to throttle it back sometimes.”