Where did you grow up, where is “home?”
I grew up riding horses on a small cattle ranch near John Day, Oregon and graduated high school in a class of 25 kids. Our entire county is so small it had, and still has, only one stoplight. I currently live in Englewood, Colorado.
When did you pick up mountain biking?The first time I rode a mountain bike was January 10, 2010. A friend was talking about riding Alderfer/Three Sisters trails, in Evergreen, in the snow, on normal tires. I had never seen or even heard of a fatbike, and was intrigued by the idea and the challenge, so I accepted the invite to join. I suffered through almost every minute of the ride, trying to keep up on a borrowed bike and my toes were almost frostbitten, but, as we were returning to the car, I knew that the rest of my life would involve riding trails on a bike. I guess I can say, the hooks were set that day.
When was your first bikepacking experience? What drew you in?Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge with return over Boreas Pass was my first dance with this addiction. I was inspired by a blog post written by a woman who attempted the CTR in its early days. I stumbled upon her story of losing her SPOT just before Highway 50, scratching from the race and having to ride back to Denver and was completely fascinated by the notion of combining an old love–backpacking–with a new love–mountain biking. True to my adventurous nature, about a week later, I was in the parking lot of Kenosha Pass, loaded down with all my gear on my back, having no idea of the amount I would suffer over the next 33 miles. I wanted to literally drop-kick my enormous pack into the trees below as I approached the top of Georgia Pass, but certainly learned (the hard way) that as much weight as possible must go on the bike. I knew that it was going to be a very different beast from hiking and as I began to research and read more blogs, a whole new world and subculture of underground racing and bikepacking opened up.
What’s your motivation for being the first woman and one of the first cyclist to attempt the triple crown?I want to reach for a goal that I am not currently 100% sure I can achieve. I want to know what it feels like to reach deeper (both mentally and physically) than I ever have before.
Each race has a tough part. Ultimately, what do you think is the hardest race in the Triple Crown?Tour Divide, hands down. I have never pedaled 2700 miles all in one ride before. Ah, but I can’t wait!
The Arizona Trail Race (AZT) is first, what’s your mindset going into the race?
My mindset and focus is one word: finish. Come hell or highwater. Whatever it takes. Over the last week, I have really been picking apart my 2012 finish and identifying my mistakes. I will focus on being efficient, eating correctly, adequate sleep and literally savoring every second of this experience.
What bike are you using? Bags? Tires?
Superfly 100, RoguePanda custom frame pack, Revelate seat bag.
Any specific goals for the AZT other than to finish?I would like to finish in under the 14 days it took me in 2012. I want to see the Snowbowl section of the trail outside Flagstaff in the daylight this time.
What are your plans in between the AZT and the Tour Divide?Work a lot, sleep as much as possible, eat very healthy and very often, hike a few 14ers, and continue to ride a lot of miles.
The Tour Divide is a whole different can of worms…your thoughts on the grand daddy of them all?Honestly, I am really excited for the TD. It is such a different race, from my perspective, that the AZT and the CTR in regards to the daily mileage that is possible. It will take me to places I have never seen before and I am really looking forward to both the times of complete solitude and the people I will encounter along the way.
How have you been training?I got help drawing up a training plan that I started in January. This included many hours on the spin bike due to weather and long work days. I also had many long weekend rides, daily yoga/sculpt classes and some running and hiking. A huge diet shift/improvement has also been a huge piece in providing an enormous amount of energy to sustain the large amount of hours I have been putting in on a weekly basis.
The Arizona Trail, Colorado Trail and the Tour Divide are all relatively close together. What is your recovery plan to make sure you are back to 100% in between races?Eat, Sleep, Ride
What is your all time favorite trail?Colorado Trail, without a doubt. I have a personal quest to complete it by bike, foot and horseback before I die.
Favorite trail food?
My own almond butter/quinoa mix and dried mango and blueberries.
Myself, RoguePanda, many awesome people in the cycling community
We are so excited for Jill to conquer some trails this summer! Be sure to follow her on her quest throughout the season on Bikepackers Magazine as well as her blog, All Things Epic.