Jess Blewitt’s career is heading downhill fast – just the way she likes it

Downhill mountain biker Jess Blewitt is excited about defending her title at Crankworx over the next week in Rotorua. Despite being the reigning champ, 21-year-old Blewitt still very much feels like one of the younger riders on the scene.

“I’m one of the young ones, but there’s like, a massive gap,” Blewitt said.

“It goes from some of the best right now that have been consistently on podiums, like from around the age 30. And then it drops down to us girls that are in between like 23 to 19. So there’s definitely a bit of a age gap between them at all. Like it’s like that massive chunk of it is just missing in the middle. But yeah, I guess you could still call me somewhat of a veteran.”

Jess Blewitt performs at UCI DH World Cup.

Blewitt has been mountain biking since 2019, after transitioning from downhill skiing. Crankworx Rotorua was the first age group event she won, taking the under-19 title the following year and getting on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup roster for 2021 and joining the Red Bull team in 2022. She was also the first female rider to compete in the Red Bull Hardline event, last year in Wales.

It hasn’t all been smooth though, like many others in the sport she’s had to deal with a number of injuries.

“Well, you can’t really predict when it’s going to happen or what it’s going to be. But yeah, I’ve definitely had my fair share of some pretty gnarly injuries. But saying that I’ve come out the other side probably a lot stronger sort of. And I don’t know just mentally what, if anything, I was in previous years.”

Her most serious injury was a broken collarbone, femur and ribs in 2021 after a crash at Snowshoe, but she said the recovery has made her bounce back stronger.

“So I think it’s just been like a massive learning curve for me. And I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing. I’d say it’s almost been like a good thing.”

The Crankworx World Tour is a multi-stop series of mountain bike festivals, bringing together the best mountain bike athletes to compete in elite-level competitions in a variety of disciplines. It began in Whistler in 2004 and its festivals have since grown into the largest events of their kind in mountain biking.

This year’s tour begins in Rotorua, before stops in Cairns, Innsbruck and Whistler. Each run on the Rotorua course takes around four minutes.

Jess Blewitt performs at UCI DH World Cup.

Blewitt is keeping a close eye on the weather. Any rain throws a bit of a curveball, due to the general inability of riders to train suitably because of the closure of bike parks in such conditions. Blewitt said that choices of gear are key.

“It’s always like a tire choice, like go back and forth between, so I run this one because it’s super wet, but then this one…other than that…it’s the way that you drive the track.”

As for the pressure of being the defending champion of the down hill event, Blewitt said that her main competitor will be herself.

“There’s no expectations other than, I guess the expectations that you put that you put on yourself. Obviously I’d like to defend the title, so yeah, that’s going to put pressure on myself.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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