Outside magazine, March 1995
"The best way to monitor your speed is by gauging the amount of control, or lack thereof," advises Missy "The Missile" Giove, in a classic case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. "If your bike is taking you over and through things you need to steer around, you're going too fast." It's a lesson that the pierced-and-tattooed ESPN darling has taken some time to absorb: In her 23 years of various and vigorous athletic pursuits, including skiing off her roof and jumping off a neighbor's, Giove has broken 32 bones. But after crashing in the world championships three years straight, she took the gold -- unscathed -- at the 1994 worlds last September in Vail. "When I was learning," confesses Giove, whose downhill speed has topped out at 60 mph, "I crashed a lot. I let momentum carry me until I lost control. I either regained it or I didn't. You probably want to avoid that." Here are lessons in control from one who's learned the hard way.
Unclip your inside shoe. "In loose stuff, either of your wheels might wash," says Giove. "You can save yourself with a dab of your foot." Dab with your heel down and forward. Giove warns against straightening that leg, lest you take the shock with your knee.
Recenter your weight, return your foot to the pedal, and ride straight out.