Kildow lands first WC victory of career
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – As Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves were carving the texts of history with their first- and second-place men’s World Cup downhill finishes in Beaver Creek Friday, Vail’s own Lindsey Kildow was making some tracks of her own up north.Kildow, who just turned 20 in October and whose greatest previous World Cup achievements were a third and fifth place in last year’s downhills in Cortina, Italy, landed her first World Cup victory in Lake Louise, Alberta, Friday.Kildow put a line together that incorporated the wisdom of all the mistakes she’s learned from runs that kept her from victory in the past and finished in 1 minute, 23.44 seconds. She beat France’s Carole Montillet (1:23.63), who won both downhills at Lake Louise last year and was No. 3 in the world for DH, and Germany’s Hilde Gerg (1:23.69), who was No. 2 in the world for downhill last year. No. 1 Renate Goetschl of Austria was fifth Friday with a time of 1:24.19, followed by her teammate Michaela Dorfmeister (1:23.72), who finished fourth. Overcoming her nerves
Kildow said that while riding in the car on the way to the first women’s World Cup downhill of the season, she was thinking about a bad crash she took at Lake Louise a few years back. Then the wind started blowing and the light was flat as she stood in the starting gate and did the only thing she knew she had to do: relax. “I was pretty nervous today,” she said Friday evening, having gone through a series of drug-testing, live interviews and message checking, in which she managed to make five minutes to eat lunch.”I didn’t really know how it was going to end up,” she said. “I was hoping for a top-three. My main goal today was to relax and to ski the way I was training all summer. I stayed in most of the turns. On the drive up from the airport, I felt so unsure. That crash stuck in my mind. I was just concentrating on my goals for the race.”Kildow, who also took sixth in the combined at the 2002 Olympic Games, loves to write and keeps a journal, into which she often jots down notes of mental strategies at races. She said Friday’s victory and the mindset that led up to it would warrant a mention.
“I’m pretty much going to write what I did, how I was at the start,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to remember, relaxing and doing my technical and tactical goals. I had a really solid run. In Cortina, the reason I didn’t win was I let my accomplishments at the top part of the course go to my head. I let my line wander out into the powder. Before (Friday) the problem was just that I hadn’t put everything together. Today, I managed to keep everything pretty much together.”Steamboat Springs’ Caroline Lalive was the next American in line Friday, finishing ninth with a time of 1:24.46. Julia Mancuso finished 15th (1:24.82), Bryna McCarty 17th (1:24.98), Jonna Mendes 19th (1:25.18) and Kirsten Clark 20th (1:25.20). “The whole team gave a great effort,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach Patrick Riml. “Lindsey was unbelievable, and so unbelievable with Bode and Daron doing so well in Beaver Creek. But, I think the whole team skied amazing.”Lindsey’s father, Alan, who was himself was a three-time U.S. junior champion, wasn’t able to make it to his daughter’s race due to work obligations, and her younger brothers and sister, who are triplets, didn’t make it either.”I’m definitely proud,” Alan said from Minnesota, where Lindsey grew up. She traveled to Colorado every winter to compete for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail.
“She called me from the finish line, and I’m really sorry I missed it.”Kildow said from the time she crossed the finish line as the 17th racer and watched as the remaining majority of the field skied down the blustery course, which had to be modified to a shortened version of the men’s downhill due to high winds, she was practically choking from her madly thumping heart rate.Beyond the finish line”The coolest part is waiting in the finish and waiting for everyone to come down,” she said. “Your heart’s beating a million miles an hour. I thought I’d have a heart attack. When Goetschl came down, she was so far behind me, I was like, ‘Gosh, what did I do?'”
Among other things, she became a piece of history. With Miller’s win at Birds of Prey, it was the first time that two Americans have won downhills on the same day since 1995, when Picabo Street won in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and Kyle Rasmussen won in Kvitfjell, Norway. Kildow heard about Miller’s and Rahlves’ success before she started her race and the news gave her an extra dose of strength.”I wasn’t thinking, ‘Well, let’s go show them who can win again,’ but it was definitely awesome to hear and it gave me more confidence,” she said.Her victory will also propel her smoothly into today’s second downhill at Lake Louise, as well as to Europe and through the rest of the Cup circuit.”In the second downhill (today), it will be easy for me to relax now that I’m more relaxed,” Kildow said. “If I’m skiing well, there’s no reason for me to be stressed out or nervous. It gives me reason to relax, to use all my strength, all my technical ability and help me not to overanalyze things; just ski the way I naturally do. Skiing doesn’t happen forever.”Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.