THROWBACK THURSDAY: DOWNHILL WORLD CHAMPION BLASTS DOWN HAWAII’S BIGGEST VOLCANO

HB versus the volcano.

America’s Greg Herbold—the 1990 UCI Downhill World Champion—donned his rainbow jersey for his  ride down the Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii in 1991. Photo by Zapata Espinoza/Mountain Bike Action

THROWBACK THURSDAY: GREG HERBOLD VERSUS THE VOLCANO

“RockShox founder Paul Turner viewed the sport how a surfer, mountaineer or a motocross rider might see it. He wanted to show the beauty of the riders, equipment and amazing places that mountain bikes could take you. So, we went to Hawaii. Turner said we were going to ride on dirt off the highest point in Hawaii to the beach—the Haleakala volcano. Starting around 10,000 feet, it would be a sick downhill. Of course, I said yes! He was bringing a film crew from Boulder and some media guy named Zap. RockShox wanted to have inspiring images of the soon-to-be-released MAG 20 suspension fork. It appeared in MBA in 1991 in a feature called ‘Herbold vs. the Volcano.’”

“The ride down the volcano was awesome. Crazy, loamy black dirt skidding and drifting in the clouds, into the rainforest with overgrown plants and wild animals on virgin singletrack, then farm fields of fruits and produce, to desert sand and dryness, and finally the Pacific Ocean—and the beach. Every temperate zone and dirt in one ride! We may have jumped a few fences, but we had a guide. The crew was able to get some amazing photos and movie film on the trip. I was warned by some locals not to, but I hucked off of three of the seven sacred pools—off large waterfalls. Tension disc wheels float, which was fortunate. It was super fun, but the locals were right. The next day of filming, I was roosting amazing grassy knolls on a steep slope and kicked up a femur-sized stick into my crank and flipped and was knocked unconscious. Part of the trip is still blurry. Great adventure, and it led to the concept of the ‘Tread’ films, remote mountain biking, and more explorer projects later in my career at RockShox. It was not racing, but perhaps just as significant in my life.”Greg Herbold

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