Jill Kintner Sweeps Women’s Gravity and Enduro Events at Mountain Bike Nationals
Originally Published: USA Cycling, July 19th, 2015
Jill Kintner (Bellingham, Wash./Red Bull-Norco Bicycles) completed her three-event sweep of women’s pro gravity and enduro events on the final day of the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on Sunday, taking the first ever women’s pro/open enduro title at Mammoth Mountain.
Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah/Specialized Factory Racing) climbed the podium as the inaugural men’s pro/open national champion.
Men’s and women’s pro/open and 15-60+ divisions raced the four-stage event, which included various sections used in the pro and amateur downhill courses, as well as trails not yet utilized at the five-day event. A rider’s final time was the accumulated tally of the four runs minus transfer time.
Kintner left little doubt on the day, taking the top time in each of the women’s pro enduro legs to accumulate a 34:54.79 result, 2:17.39 ahead of the field. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./LUNA Pro Team) took silver in 37:12.18, followed by Lauren Gregg (Santa Cruz, Calif.) in 37:58.40 for bronze.
The championship is Kintner’s third in three days and 16th elite pro national championship of her career. She started the weekend with the women’s pro dual slalom win on Friday and added the women’s downhill championship on Saturday.
“That was really hard,” Kintner said of winning her third Stars-and-Stripes jersey in as many days. “Stage 2 was a massive flat pedal for 11 minutes or something. I trail ride at home and I got to ride the downhill, so I had that pretty dialed. My plan was to get a gap on that and I was definitely winging the rest of it because I hadn’t seen the other trails. There’s something sort of special about being in the present and winging it, sort of riding a trail as you see it.”
Ropelato opened the day with a division-best 3:52.77 time on the first run, which he followed with three consecutive second-place finishes on the ensuing runs, giving him a 29:03.18 final time. The result, which was good for gold, topped Brian Lopes’ (Laguna Beach, Calif./Intense-Maxxis-PearlIzumi) 29:11.68 silver medal finish and Kyle Warner’s (Chico, Calif./Marin Sr. Suntour Amain.com) bronze medal-winning 29:17.53 time.
“It was a nice, easy day,” said Ropelato. “Climbing wasn’t too bad, but you were sprinting pretty good on all the runs. All the courses were pretty fun. I was a little nervous on Stage 1 because it was pretty rowdy, but other than that it was a great day.”