Transition Bikes Team – a hard week on the East Coast

Transition Bikes’ Team members Lars Sternberg, and Jill Kintner traveled to the East Coast for the Highland Pro GRT, and they were joined a week later by Bryn Atkinson for the Plattekill event before heading to the US Open at Diablo Freeride Park. Their trip started out well at Highland, with Jill taking the win and Lars placing 7th, however that all changed at Plattekill when Bryn crashed in practice and broke his femur and his arm. Jill and Lars skipped the Plattekill event to be with Bryn in the hospital before heading to the US Open in Vernon, New Jersey.

Going into the US Open Jill was having a bit of a tough time, emotionally drained from the days at the hospital, she elected not to do DH practice the first two days and instead concentrated on slalom. Jill and Lars both qualified well for the Giant Slalom and the next day Jill got out on the DH course for a few practice laps before qualifying. Jill qualified first in DH, and Giant Slalom finals went well with Jill taking the win and Lars placing fourth, things were getting better. Sunday, DH finals at the US Open. Women were up first and Jill had a great run, beating closest competitor Melissa Buhl by over 2 seconds. Then it was Lars’ turn, and bad luck struck again. He went down in the second corner and rolled his ankle, breaking the fibula and tearing some tendons…

Sometimes racing can be bittersweet, even when you’re winning. I spoke with Jill about it after the event and this is what she had to say:

I just finished the weekend here at the US Open with some really good results somehow, but man has it been one of the most emotionally draining weeks I have ever experienced!

First Bryn’s super traumatic injury, then my mom flew out to look after him, and her blood pressure went up to 200/90 and she ended up in the ER with a serious heart scare on Friday. And now my other teammate and good friend Lars crashed in the final DH run and broke his fib and wrecked his ankle, we’re at the hospital again!

I sat out the first two days of downhill practice just for mental sanity. You don’t want go charge down rocks without 100% focus. So come qualifying time I had only done 3 runs and was just trying to do whatever I could. I was happy to get down, and a bit surprised I had won really. Bryn, and mom were doing a lot better, so I could just focus on the joy of riding and got it done. But adding Lars’ injury to the mix here has really added more tears. My whole crew is down and out, I was devastated. It kind of surpasses the joy of winning anything.

Jill has headed off to the Europe, first stop Fort William, World Cup and I haven’t had a chance to speak to Bryn about everything yet, but here is what Lars had to say about the week:

It has been an indescribably tough week and a half. When Bryn went down, we literally had to rally. It was actually really hard to accept at first – the possibility that his season was done. It was really hard to leave him in Albany and move on, it just didn’t feel right – like we were missing a piece, and we were. But it is good that we were together. Jill and I traveled a lot together last year, and I think we were able to pull it together with each other’s and Scottie’s help.(Scott Sharples is Jill and Bryn’s personal coach. They pay for his travel and expenses, but it was good to have him there). And all the support from all our racing friends and sponsors over the last week. I could literally feel it. And it was good to have Charlie around as well, he’s pretty lighthearted. It is reassuring to know that we are surrounded by such good people.

As tough as it was for me, I’m sure it was twice as hard for Jill. But then again, she’s probably twice as head strong as I am, so I think it evened out.

I never felt totally comfortable on the DH course at the Open this weekend. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but in practice I felt good in some places, but others I felt really uneasy. I felt pretty good after giant slalom. You know, you never want to think about crashing, kind of the rule. But this last week it was even more out of mind. I figured after everything we’d been through that was the last thing we had to worry about. So, it was just surreal to have this happen. I just slipped a bit in the first left, put my foot down, and that was it, end of story. Broken fibula, and torn soft tissue in the ankle. In the hospital now having had surgery this morning. Should be good to go in 8-12 weeks. I am disappointed to be down. I felt better than ever on the bike. But I will live to shred another day. Just gotta stay focused.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Bryn and I are gonna work hard at getting healed, and Jill is going to just do her thing. And everything else is going to work itself out. That which we manifest, lies before us.

I just want to say thanks again to everyone who has sent messages etc. and helped us in some way since last weekend. There are so many people I can’t list everyone. I’m grateful for every last little bit, and have learned a lesson in humanity. See you on the trails!

Lars pinning it through the first corner in practice…

and over the step up in GS Finals.

For more info on Transition Bikes check out their website.

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