"Damn, I forgot about the 2013 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony." This is what I said to myself once I arrived back at my hotel room following the end of show on Wednesday evening. It was about 6:30 (ceremony started at 6:00), but it was scheduled to last until about 9:00, so I could still make some of it if ... if I kept a steady pace, avoided the herds of gamblers, wove in and out of slower moving traffic, split any oncoming masses right down the middle, etc. It worked! and, I thought, I only missed the first of this year's inductees, Nicolas Vouilloz. Turns out I also missed a memorial tribute to Steve Ready.
Robin and Bill Groff (center)
the CORBA crew
First up, and actually in the process of presenting when I walked through the doors, was Scott Escott giving quite the rousing introduction for brothers Robin and Bill Groff. I am not sure if it was due to the free-flowing brews on the trade show floor in the late afternoon, or if the audience was simply enthusiastic, but the response was loud and hearty. The brothers are industry pioneers who, after being laid-off from their jobs in the mining industry, opened a bikeshop called Rim Cyclery in a little-known locale called Moab. The rest, as they say, is history. Speaking for the many mtb pioneers, the two noted that "the people of the '80s made mountain biking what it is today." They also made note of an incident involving a certain cycling couple best known for their accomplishments on the road and track - Davis and Connie Phinney (aka Scarface and Miss Kitty). It seems that the two brothers had some fun at Davis's expense, filling tubes with lead shot. Davis was unaware and upon finishing a ride noted that "this mtb shit is HARD!" Those kind of stories bring the history of the activity to life for all those who have come to it later. Oral History Project anyone?
Jim Hasenauer then presented CORBA, perhaps the most significant mountain bike advocacy group in the Southern California area, and whose influence and impact extended far beyond those regional borders. I have mentioned before how an old friend, Matt Landis, was one of the founding members of CORBA. I wish Matt could have been present for this. As it was, though, many other founding members were in the audience to accept the well-deserved induction.
Marla Streb was the next inductee, and was presented by Elayna Caldwell. Marla, aka Narla, was one of the first women to race both cross country and downhill; in the words of Caldwell, she was a "real dirtbag mountain biker." Marla related some of the things she is sorry for, things which happened over the course of her career, things such as the time she got lost on the course during her first race for Iron Horse. What happened, you ask? Her "breasts were not properly aligned." The first time she has ever told that one. One other thing about Marla - she does not skip a beat when semi-nude photos of her flash up on the screen during slideshows. Ya, baby!
note the slide of Marla and husband in rather interesting (to say the least) wedding attire
Finally, and to end the evening, well-known author Owen Mulholland presented for Dave Epperson. Epperson has had health problems the past few years and was not in attendance, though it was noted he has recently been able to "get back on his bike." An absolutely fantastic slide show was given in Dave's honor. The range of photos was nothing less than historic. If you don't know what the name Dave Epperson means to mountain biking, for shame, you should.
It should also be noted that Don Cook and Kay Peterson Cook were presented with a special award. The two have shepherded the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame during its time in Crested Butte, Colorado; in the Autumn of this year it will be moving to Fairfax, California, with new directors.
Don and Kay Cook