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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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bturman bturman 8/21/2011 11:54 AM

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Jill is so inspiring for me. She puts in such hard work on the bike and she's so down to earth in interviews and on her site etc. I love how she attacks when she's riding -- there's a scene in earthed 2 where they show a small time 4-cross race in Australia with Jill killing it as the only female riding against guys. It took me a few viewings to actually realize that it was her because she's such a strong rider! I'm sure her next season of dh racing will be totally different from this one. She's a fighter for sure.

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Insightful post! Thanks for carrying the torch for the US women, looking forward to watching you race again next year!

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It's been fun watching a new American racer get up to speed on the World Cup! You, Gwin, Eliot Jackson, all these young guys--it gives us weekend warriors something to get excited about when we are stuck at home on Sunday mornings. Sometimes life gets in the way a bit...This year would have been my second year of racing, but I had some other shit going on, so I just stayed away. Next year, it's back ON! Anyway, I hope you get the main things squared away and next year come back with a new edge! You're DARN fast, it'll come around!

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