Looking Back with Missy Giove - Video

Nov 17, 2016 at 8:00
Nov 17, 2016
by The Pros Closet  
 
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Missy Giove and her 1993 Yeti ARC ASLT

Few brands inspire the same sort of devotion with a cult-like following of Yeti fanatics known as the 'Tribe.' Its founder John Parker describes Yeti in its beginnings as a company that “had an edge...an outlaw image to it. We were kind of the subversives of the time.” It’s an outlook and image that fit perfectly with one of Yeti’s brightest stars: Missy “The Missile” Giove. She was a woman known for her personality and style as much as she was for her riding. Her wild hair, wild attitude, eccentric quirks, and undeniable speed earned her a following devoted and fanatical enough to match her bike's. This Yeti ARC ASLT was her weapon of choice for the 1993 Downhill World Cup season where she piloted it to 3rd overall and 3rd at the World Championships in Metafief, France.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

In the years after Missy moved onto the Volvo-Cannondale team, this Yeti was stripped down to the frame and given to a restaurant in Durango, CO to be hung as a piece of memorabilia. It was then lost from the public eye after the restaurant closed down. Fortunately, Durango collector and Yeti guru, Mike Wilk rescued the frame from the former owner's basement and, over the course of 10 months, restored it to its former glory. He studied old footage and magazine spreads and scoured every available source for the rare parts necessary to get each detail correct or as close to original as possible.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

Wilk claims it’s probably 98% true to when Missy rode it. An impressive rebirth and, like a ship of Theseus, it’s hard to distinguish it from its original form without a keen and scrutinizing eye. Wilk even went so far as to acquire a new upper rear triangle in yellow to replace the turquoise one (which didn’t come until 94) installed on the frame when he bought it, likely installed as a repair. Other than this, Wilk left all the original chips and dents that Missy lovingly crashed into the frame.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

In line with John Parker’s change driven Yeti philosophy, Yeti was one of the early adopters of suspension on mountain bikes. Up front is a custom Manitou 2 fork with some hybrid Manitou 3 and RockShox Judy internals. The left leg has a RockShox Judy spring, and the right has a stack of Manitou 3 elastomers, modified to make the suspension feel more active. On the rear, the ARC had a low single pivot design, primitive by today’s standards, but state of the art at the time. Impressively, the custom Risse shock built for the ARC was still holding air twenty years later. It did turn out to be near impossible to add air, but Risse Racing in Oregon provided rebuild parts to restore the shock to full working condition. The shock is attached to the frame with custom welded plates that had two mounts, allowing the bike’s geometry and travel to be slightly altered depending on if the shock was mounted in the higher or lower position. It’s a design ahead of its time, and now featured in some form on many modern bikes. With the current set up, the ARC only has about an inch of travel on the rear, “maybe one and a half on a good day,” Wilk says.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

Top riders like Missy got the Shimano XTR drivetrain, which had only just been introduced in 1992 as Shimano’s race oriented groupset. The only exceptions are Grip Shifters instead of XTR thumb shifters, and the blue anodized Grafton cranks which matched the blue anodization accenting the rest of the bike. A holdover from the 80s, anodization was still hot as mountain biking entered the 90s. The Grafton brakes, Ringle hubs and components, and oversized (1 ¼”) Chris King headset are all blindingly blue. The triple chainrings up front gave Missy enough gears to race the bike both uphill and downhill, which she would. She would raise the seat post and race XC the same weekend she was racing downhill. Missy was known to always run the anodized Ringle bottle cage, even racing downhill and dual slalom, just because it was convenient to leave it on for training and XC rides.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

The Grafton Speed controller brakes worked but, like most brakes in the early days of mountain biking, they were easily overwhelmed by the rigors of downhill racing. To combat this, the ARC had a machined brace added to the stays above the cantilever posts and an ultra rare anodized DKG brake booster to add stiffness. There’s still some significant flex, but these additions help minimize it as much as is possible with the technology of the time.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

For its cockpit, the ARC has Answer Hyperlite handlebars, which help augment the Manitou fork’s meager 2 inches of suspension travel with some extra compliance. The Onza bar ends were a sponsor item that Missy actually despised. If she got the chance she’d remove them once she was out of the pits to race without them. The stem is a 'Team Cut' Answer ATAC. Yeti craftsman, Frank “The Welder” Wadelton milled material from the top and face of the stem more aggressively than consumer versions to save a little more weight.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

The Yeti rolls on a Mavic front rim and Specialized BXL21 rear laced to anodized Ringle Super Bubba and Super Eight hubs. The reason for the mismatched rims is because the Yeti team didn’t have a rim sponsor. Their riders went through so many they’d run whatever they could pull out from one of their mechanic’s stockpile of rims. Wilk noted some consistency in photos of Missy running the BXL21 on the rear, so found one in pristine condition for this build, which wasn’t easy. The rims are capped off with some similarly rare IRC Yeti FRO (For Racing Only) tires.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove

Unlike some mountain bikes of a similar vintage and value, Mike Wilk built the bike to actually be ridden, taking it out to shred some of the best trails in the country in Durango, Colorado. Of course, it isn’t comparable modern bikes with modern technology. The Risse shock is likely the plushest and highest quality of any vintage shock, but the rear end sways and flexes wildly, and pedals poorly compared to modern rear ends. Wilk claims the Manitou fork to be the best example he’s ridden, but is still surprised that people didn’t die riding them in downhill races. It makes Missy’s speed on the Yeti all the more impressive. The Pro’s Closet was hoping Missy would be able to add some more chips and dents to the frame, riding it on the downhill race course at the Sea Otter Classic. Unfortunately, she injured her knee over the course of the weekend before she had her chance. But the bike waits in The Pro’s Closet Vintage Bicycle Museum, ready for the next time she has the chance to come show us how it should be ridden.

TPC Museum Series 14 Missy Giove


MENTIONS: @yeticycles / @TheProsCloset

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111 Comments

  • + 103
 Man... the good old days. Missy, Tomac, Juli. Man, I feel old. =)
  • + 7
 Tell me about it - I was channel surfing recently and saw Eli Tomac win a major supercross? (sry forgot what) title of some kind....his son.
  • + 17
 "make the sh***y times good". amen, missy.
  • + 33
 Don't forgot Ned and Tinker
  • + 3
 @rivercitycycles:

never forget "the lung" Wink
  • + 1
 @fullbug: She's like a gatling gun talking, I like her personality.
  • + 1
 Vintage.
  • + 4
 @endlessblockades: yeah Eli has won some 250cc titles - supercross and motocross. He's one of the top 5 guys in the American series for both supercross and motocross. Def cool to see.
  • + 6
 met her in vail at worlds. we were talkin and both suddenly stopped to stare at two girls walkin by. stay rad, missy!
  • + 4
 CLASSIC! No fucks givin
  • + 31
 Missy is from the school of people who made mtbing cool real characters with lust for life ,good old days ,bikes were shit but the people and scene were interesting .man I miss that era.
  • + 28
 Rat Girl?
  • + 2
 Hahahaha............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 5
 I was thinking Slash.
  • + 22
 Missy, Chausson, Donovan, Furtado, Streb, Mercedes Gonzalez...great battles, legendary personalities.

Those bikes back in the day...when the term "slacker" meant planting your ass into the rear tire on steep sections.
  • + 3
 HEHEHEHE!!!
  • + 3
 Marla is cool AF
  • + 20
 She let me ride that bike in the pits in Metabief back in '93.. Great times! The Americans were selling everything after the finals on Sunday.. I bet if you had enough cash they would've sold entire bikes too... We got a bunch of parts from 'em.. I still have a crankarm from Missy's or Myles' bike hanging in my shop... One side snapped in half in the late nineties and I threw it away..........
  • + 1
 WOW !!!
  • + 4
 probably a kooka
  • + 15
 I was living a shitty/dream life in the 90's when I "met" Missy the first time.
I had moved to Durango to propose to a woman who was making it quite apparent she wanted nothing to do with me. At the same time, I had started working for Yeti and was ridding some of the most amazing trails almost every day. A shitty/dream life.
On a ride home from work one day I planned to see if the motorcycle shop had their ramp set up well. Sometimes they would have their pickup loading ramp, big steel thing, set up in a perfect way so if I came at it at a good clip I could use it to gap over the edge of the parking lot and land on a grass slope on the other side. This day looked good, there were people in the parking lot, it was set well, and no truck was parked for loading. Just after I hit it, as I was doing my best try at a flat X-up, I hear a "Woooooooooooooooot f*ck YEA!!!! Whoooooooooot!", or something to that effect. I turned my head for a split second to see Missy, highly recognizable, not just 'cause but because my workplace was smattered with her image, jumping up and down and pumping a fist. I stuck the landing and sprinted for home a short distance away. I had a huge smile on my face that lasted forever. Made my short stint in Durango worth it in so many ways.

Many thanks Missy, hope to see you again
  • + 13
 I was her trainer her last few years of her career and I can tell you that she was one of the most dedicated athletes I've ever worked with. Not to mention she has a big heart and a passion for the sport. YA MISSLE, love you girl!
  • + 9
 Props to Mike Wilk for restoring that bike. If someone did that to the Kona Hot/Rock Shox SL/XTR bike that some crack head stole from me in 1996, and returned it to me...well I can only imagine how the Missile felt about seeing that bike again.
  • + 3
 Roger that. 1998 I had my Beast of the East with the Mag 21 SL, xtr, spinergys, all kookaed out swiped from right behind me while I was working. Still look for it on craigs here and there. Just in case.
  • + 1
 @kubaner: that hurts!
  • + 7
 Missy and Palmer get me hooked, now i look where my life is and I think f*** without their influence what the hell would I be like now!? I owe these guys everything, they taught me that theres another way of living and as Missy says 'how to make the most out of a sh***y day'
Thanks Missy, love ya!
  • - 15
flag AlexS1 (Nov 17, 2016 at 15:47) (Below Threshold)
 They would have cheer you instead of Thrump?
  • + 12
 @AlexS1: Piss off..Trump is buffoon but this isn't the forum for it.
  • + 3
 @bman33: Gave u a thumb up.
  • + 10
 Who can forget Chainsmoke and Missy on the cannondale.
[Woooh woooh oh oh - booya tribe]
  • + 5
 True downhill soldier. Love to see her race more but I don't want to see her destroy herself and she would. Race enduro have a good time. Missy doesn't need practice runs for days
  • + 4
 wow! so cool! so many memories! that nasty endo crash at mt snow waiting to race my class after,watching her win at vail in 94 and one of the reasons I got hooked on yetis! damn that bike was bad ass for the time! and then seeing her do the world cup at windham last year! hope she never goes away!
  • + 5
 She would be sacked from a modern day team....its a shame, riders now are much more controlled by sponsors and teams. Bring back the wild days that made us fall in love with downhill ????
  • + 4
 I remember going to Mt. Snow in 97 and seeing her race. Then see her again in Utah in 2001. It's the bad asses like her and Palmer that got me into biking. Non athlete that kicked everyone's ass.
  • + 8
 If you think Missy or Palmer were non-athletes, you fell for their image. I am 42 really like both of them as well, saw them race numerous times on the NORBA circuit. Both of them trained their asses off. They just didn't promote that part and took the partying to the nth degree as well
  • + 15
 @bman33: ok your right you have to train to be the best. I'm 48 and still riding. I got caught up in the drug scene and lost a lot of focus on the bike. I'm glad I'm back on the bike, it's better for me.
  • + 6
 @buddme34: Agree with you there sir. I fell of the wagon for a while. Back on it now and a better rider now than I was at 25
  • + 2
 @bman33: That's pretty inspiring, I feel like a cripple compared to when I was younger.
  • + 5
 That was my first Yeti !!!!!!!!! also some of the pieces, I raced it in the world championships in Chateau d'Oex Switzerland, loke microfiz says...good old days Cheers
  • + 2
 I just feel sorry for the new pro riders ,cause they can't be like that (50%),cause personalities like this and those are a rare thing in humans ,I just wish that my younger age personality never disappear-it ,but it did :-((,Just free and "wild"for a few hours ",keep on living ,better to burn away ,that to fade away
  • + 5
 Are bull horns the worst bicycle accessory ever? Never understood them, but every bike used to have them.
  • + 2
 F#cking awesome woman. I was at the Worlds in Kirchzarten in 1995 and it was just a big Party. Only Downhill still has a bit of this character. Back then everyone rode everything and had fun. Great to see Missy coming back into the scene !
  • + 6
 More man than I'll ever be, more women than I'll ever get!!
  • + 6
 Those ringle bottle cages were and still are cool as.
  • + 1
 They looked cool, but really sucked. Getting your bottle in and out of them was really difficult compared to a 'traditional' bottle cage
  • + 6
 That was INCREDIBLY entertaining!!!
  • + 1
 I remember lusting after some of those bikes and bits from that era. We all went through parts at a mad rate because the stuff just wasn't able to stand up. A more capable bike would come out, the envelope was pushed and bikes destroyed. That cycle kept happening and today as a result stuff will actually last a hell of lot longer and works so much better. By the way, there never were XTR thumb shifters. Shimano came up with under bar shifters around 90-91 which had two thumb levers that were close together leading to missed shifts. Next year it was thumb and a trigger. Then XTR was developed.
  • + 1
 I went through a lot of those tyres. Awesome tyres they were. I would buy them again if they came with a decent casing and not just 2.125".
  • + 4
 I turned that exact fork into a lamp for my bar. Funny to actually see it on a bike.
  • + 1
 The Missle ! Such a cool cool person and wicked trend (record) setter in the DH world. I remember playing the ring toss game at UCI worlds/nationals at Mt. Snow in the bar at the bottom of the Mt, think it was called the wobbly barn.. with her and Myles the first year they were on the volvo cannondale squad, Good old days when they flew down mountains with less travel that our typical "enduro" bike.
  • + 1
 I didn't find this bike that interesting (other than coolness) until i saw the seatstays being welded to a metal cup that apparently cups the shock housing...and not having a rocker link to give it lateral stiffness...then i was like wow.
  • + 2
 This video just clarified how crazy she is. Met her at Mountain Creek two years ago or so when she tried hugging my dad thinking that she knew him from somewhere.
  • + 1
 That was awesome. She's been through much rougher times than many, yet keeps that PMA strong So refreshing to see people still drinking a beer in this Puritanical post-recovery world.
  • + 4
 Calling particular episode "Pros & Cons" would have worked.
  • + 4
 I wish we had more people like Missy these days in MTB. And Palmer.
  • - 2
 RIP ratboy
  • + 5
 Thats not bryceland?
  • + 3
 Great job with the build!!! One of the raddest mountain bikers of all time!!
  • + 1
 What a messer, still off her head now. She was wildly out of control on a bike way back then and that race she did recently- just as out of control on a bike, entertaining though that's for sure.
  • + 1
 Legendary...you are downhill in its purists form. I only met you once but it left an impression that will follow me to my grave.
  • + 3
 Biggest inspiration in mountainbiking
  • + 2
 when she goes out the front door and chucks her helmet at the camera guy....classic
  • + 3
 Who is missy giove? Easy..it's slash.
  • + 2
 If Slash wore his petrified pet piranha around his neck...
  • + 2
 she rode a dale... Missy Giove and Myles Rockwell dominated many of the US downhill races under the Cannondale badge in the early 90's
  • + 1
 Slash knows how to ride a bike - he had to decide between pro bmx and music.
  • + 4
 Got any weed Bab?
  • + 3
 am I wrong in remembering she used to wear a dead fish as a necklace?
  • + 8
 True. Watch the video, a piranha.
  • + 1
 And she had some ashes from her grandmother that she had and sprinkled before a race.
  • + 1
 @buddme34: I think ashes from her dog? in a little vial on a necklace chain.
  • + 3
 Fkn legend would luv to ride with her
  • + 0
 go to snowshoe then.shes always there
  • + 2
 Definitely a main icon back in the day... Made mountain biking cool and many of us buy Cannondales!
  • + 3
 Was and still is a legend in every sense of the word!
  • + 1
 This is the era of bikes that made me fall in love with Yeti's. Such an amazing heritage of bikes and racing
  • + 1
 Wow we actually rode on bikes like that not too long ago, look at that stem, it's longer than my top tube!!!
  • + 1
 Nice to see these kind of video. Would be cool a series on all the mtb women, from Jacquie Phelan to Rachel Atherton.
  • + 1
 such a rad chick! she said im fat enough to be used as a stand up paddle board but its all good ha ha ha ha ha
  • + 2
 Im here to speed not for weed
  • + 2
 How's this for a breaf image of the 90's DH scene,kids? Fcuk yeah,Missy!
  • + 1
 I have had the pleasure to meet/hang out with her multiple times at different places. She is an absolute joy to be around.
  • + 2
 "...don't be a fly in my helmet". Fantastic quote I'll reuse for sure
  • + 1
 I was totally fan girling when I saw her at Snowshoe bike park this past summer. lol
  • + 1
 im exhausted from just watching the video and listening...........
  • + 1
 She really looks like the Pity Alvarez! hahah
  • + 1
 Missy is one strong dose of personality!! Totally rad!
  • + 1
 Think i still have a set of those bottle cages in black kicking around.
  • + 2
 She also rode for Fose.
  • + 1
 "Fvck shit fvck shit shit fvck fvck shit.

Love it!
  • + 1
 I see who Gee has been hanging out with, YOU KNOW?!
  • + 1
 No drug tests back then, at least not for dank...............
  • + 1
 young europiens, watch this, you will not learn this in school Smile
  • + 1
 Never was any xtr thumbies
  • + 1
 RAW DOG STICK IT IN DRY REBEL RIDER! FUCKING LOVE HER!
  • + 2
 Original bad ass!
  • + 1
 Mint vid to see
  • + 3
 “Drug trafficking can lead you downhill fast.” I should let my friend try my bike out, he's probably secretly extremely good.
  • + 5
 weed? ...*yawn*
  • + 1
 so cool.
  • + 1
 She's the real deal!
  • + 1
 Graphton!
  • + 2
 I broke a set and every person I knew who rode them broke them except a few older XC guys.
  • + 2
 @bman33: Everything broke back then, I have the scars to prove it lol. But if it was purple and light it was the shit! We wouldn't be where we are withot pioneers like Missy et al.
Also, multiple WC victories on Manitou 2? f*ckin hybrids have better forks now.
  • + 1
 Ohh,what an era!!!!
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