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Jill Kintner just completed her first full season of World Cup downhill racing. Even though she has been around the sport for several years and is a three time World Champ in 4X, the transition to Elite downhill racing wasn't easy.

What follows is a blog post she wrote shortly after the race at Val di Sole. It offers a little bit of insight into her season, as well as the pressures and realities of World Cup racing that we often don't get to hear about.

"World Cup racing is tough. First year for downhill, and I came out 9th overall. Which I suppose is pretty good, but I can’t really say I’ve been operating at my potential. Learning curve, made a lot of mistakes, took some slams, had a couple good men get broke off, won some splits and speed traps, lost some, yada yada.

Gotta have the ol' ducks in a row to trust going as fast as you can in ever changing course conditions. That, plus pick yourself up again after crashes, ride in the present state of mind, trust your skills, having the bike all tuned right, adapt, react, etc. Kinda fun - the newness, just wish it wasn’t so hard to deal with all the emotions this year. Riding the wave.

Not that I have it too rough, but there have been a lot of outside factors this year as far as support goes that have really effected me. Marshy, my mechanic, has been the saving grace. He’s a lot of fun and does a great job with the bikes, so I’m grateful for that, but definitely could have used a team mate at times, a manager, and a coach for the whole season, mostly Bryn though, he’s my partner in crime. Didn’t expect to be solo for most of this. So it goes.

Jill on her way to the overall victory at the SolVista Triple DHip event in 2011. - Photo by gordo

I am happy with the experience, but I can do so much better. It’s good to know what to improve on. Top half of a race is my forte, first minute usually, but of course no one ever sees that on Freecaster. By the end of a run, I get pretty tired and sloppy which translates into pulling brakes. Had a few stall outs in the ol' race today, was especially hard to hold on here at the roughest, steepest track ever. Carrying speed is the name of the game, but it’s scary as hell sometimes going that fast.

Pom Pom, Troy Brosnan, and Danny Hart stole the show today. Incredible riding, Good job. Aaron Gwin and Tracy Moseley took the World Cup overall titles.

Gonna go home early and skip World Championships in Champery. Just so emotionally drained, I don’t really have the right mindset to attack anymore right now. Sorry America. The course in Champery requires 100% focus, and I just don’t feel like dealing with average racing from myself, or rain there. Gonna come back next year with a lot more motivation and add more moto full speed skills. US tracks were a good starting ground, but honestly, gonna have to spend a lot more time in Europe to be in contention to win World Cups. The style and roughness are advanced."
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