Who is Kialani Hines?Kialani:
I'm 20 years old. I'm from Washington, Seattle, Washington. I started off in BMX racing, that's what got me into bikes. I raced BMX from 8 to 17 or 18. But in the last three years I've just been transitioning into mountain biking and doing all things on the big wheels. I put my BMX bike away three years ago and haven't touched it. So I'm all mountain bike now. I'm just finding my place and what I like to do.
So after a decade of BMX, what made you change for the bigger wheels?Kialani:
BMX is really different from mountain biking. It's really intense, it's a lot of commitment for very little reward. I wanted something different and I've always heard about mountain biking since I know people around my area who have transitioned into the sport. But I never made the jump until I got a bike, and then I just went straight into racing it. That was when I was 17. I just needed something new.
BMX is an Olympic sport, while the gravity disciples in mountain biking aren't. How did that play into your decision?Kialani:
Well the Olympics were always a goal for me. I won't get into it too much. BMX is hard. I personally feel there's a lot of politics in it and I wanted to get away from that because I'm so about racing. I've always wanted to do the Olympic thing and it was a goal, but it just didn't work out.
What are your goals now?Kialani:
Well now that I'm in mountain biking I feel like it's a fresh start. I have a lot of options now with Crankworx. It's kind of nice because I do what I'm good at in it. So this year I'm doing a lot of Crankworx events, and that's my goal as far as right now, but I do want to try to keep going with the downhill route. Right now it's just figuring out what I want to do as far as racing and series. I'm not an indoor rider, so downhill and slalom is more my thing.
What races will you be doing this year??Kialani:
All three Crankworx events, and as many of the Pro GRTs as I can make it to. A lot of stuff overlaps and I'm doing the Pump Track World Championship qualifiers as well, so that take priority over a Pro GRT. One of the Pro GRTs I'll be in Europe, so it's a bit all over the place, but I'm going to try to make it to most of those and nationals.
What are you racing at Sea Otter?Kialani:
I'm racing the downhill and slalom. There's no pump track this year. I'm kind of bummed about that.
Who do you look up to in cycling?Kialani:
When I did BMX, obviously it was Alise Post. She's the fastest American and one of the fastest women in the world on a BMX bike, and so for a long time it was her. In transitioning into mountain biking it was Jill Kinter. Now I'm racing a lot of the girls that I've always looked up to, because I am a lot younger, so I have to just focus on racing them and not being like, "I'm racing so and so." It's just about trying to be up there with them.
What would you say are some of your strengths?Kialani:
I don't know... My riding style is just flowy and I don't try too hard. I just kind of go with how I feel in the element. Off the bike, I think I am focused. I need to get there, but once I do get there, I am focused. When it comes to racing I am really focused, and it's what I want to do so it's easy for me to ... Naturally, as a person I'm all over the place, so racing is what keeps me straight and just focused on one thing and goal.
What are some of your weaknesses?Kialani:
Weaknesses? I think... Oh man, it's a lot more than that. I think my confidence in myself as a rider. Not only on the bike actually, but off the bike and in other aspects in life as well I lack that general confidence. I've been working on that. And my training. I'm not the biggest fan of training. I know what to do and I know I need to do it, but I won't lie, I don't want to do it all the time.
Do you feel like you become more confident as you get older?Kialani:
I think so. I've always struggled with confidence, so even in BMX when I was winning it's like, it's always a struggle because there's always an obstacle. When you're racing you never know what will happen. Even when you are winning there's that much more pressure to win, and to keep winning, so I think everybody's different in that way with the confidence thing. It's just that I personally struggle with that more than anything else, but I am working on it.
Where's your favorite place to ride?Kialani:
Probably Port Angeles, Washington. It's home for me but it's a favorite spot for a lot of people. I've heard there's a lot of good riding up in Canada, and that's a goal to do more trail riding up there because I've never done any trail riding up there, just in Whistler. But Port Angeles is for sure my favorite right now.
What's your favorite type of trail to ride?Kialani:
Obviously, coming from BMX, the flowier stuff with lots of jumps on it is my favorite. I know it's not realistic for racing, but it is my favorite and it's the most fun for me!
What are your favorite foods?Kialani:
Anything sweet. I have the biggest sweet tooth. Ice cream, cake, pizza. I kind of eat like a kid, not going to lie! That is my biggest weakness actually when I think about it - my diet.
What do you do outside of racing?Kialani:
Nothing. Not much actually. I just work with my parents, and I just ride. That's all I do.
You work in a family business?Kialani:
Well they own an animal crematory. That's kind of interesting, I know, and it's just the two of them that own it and run it. It's kind of like a funeral home for pets. People always take it differently whenever I tell them, but that's what I do other than riding my bike is work for them.
What are your tasks at the crematorium?Kialani:
I pick up the animals from the vets so I get to work with a bunch of vets, and then I just do whatever they tell me to. I clean, I'm a janitor, I do everything that they tell me to do because it is only the three of us. So there's a lot to do that's not necessarily dealing with the crematorium, but office stuff. I'm like the intern. I get paid sometimes.
So throughout the year you work with them?Kialani:
In the wintertime I'm working mostly because it's always raining out here, so in the future, I'm planning on making trips where I'm not in Washington during our winter. Going somewhere warmer, and then be at home for the summer. I have goals of what I want to do, but as of right now it's just working at home when it's bad weather.
Are you working with a coach or different coaches?Kialani:
No. As of right now, no.
How are you progressing and getting better?Kialani:
Riding, doing the training that I can do when I have the time to do it. This last winter I've definitely been progressing a lot more with the training. It's like I'm getting back into it. When I quit BMX it was like a relief. It was so stressful racing all the time and training at a really young age. I was kind of over it, so I'm getting back into the training because I want to do it now. It's not how it was before. It was like I had to do it or else I couldn't ride. There was too much pressure on training and not the riding. Now because I want to train and it makes it easier. It's totally different now without so much pressure on it.
So you're leaning on your BMX training?Kialani:
Yeah. I used to have a coach when I was training for BMX, but since I started racing mountain bikes I haven't really been so hard on the training, which I need to be. I know I do, but it's just been a personal transition for me. It hasn't been super intense.
So you do gym work as well as riding?Kialani:
Yeah. People probably think I work out and train like crazy. I don't train like that, but I do need to get a coach again. That makes a big difference. It's hard to motivate yourself on your own. For me especially since my attention span is so short.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments?Kialani:
I'd say right now honestly New Zealand. Going to New Zealand and getting a podium for me was one of my biggest accomplishments because it was my first time abroad, overseas. I'd never traveled. It's always been a goal of mine to do that and I'd never done it before. I've done everything in the states and had gone to Canada, but that was such a big step in my racing, and even just this year alone it's made such a big difference for me in my confidence. It's actually given me confidence for the rest of the season. So for me personally, New Zealand and doing well there was my biggest accomplishment. Not necessarily what place I got, but just doing well, you know?
And what about in BMX? What was your biggest accomplishment there?Kialani:
I got ROC 1. That's the Race of Champions. It's at the end of the year and it's a Grands. I crashed at that Grands though and the main event. I was always that person that was just there to win. I was always that person when it came to Grands, you got to win there or else the rest of the year never really counted. So Race of Champions, too many State Plates to count, and then... A lot of nationals. My last year racing BMX I went to 22 nationals in one year. Then I crashed at the Grands and broke my collarbone in two places, and then I quit and went to mountain biking. For me, breaking my collarbone was kind of my transition into mountain biking because then I was in between that year of am I going to keep racing BMX or go to mountain biking?I decided to take a break from BMX and go straight to mountain biking, and I put my BMX bike up and started racing downhill.
What sponsors do you have now?Kialani:
Shimano, Troy Lee, Deity, ODI, Stan's, Ryno Power, Fox, Maxxis, BikeMaster.
Are your parents mostly supporting you or are your sponsors?Kialani:
My sponsors support me, but my parents also support me. Hopefully that'll change soon, but they're super supportive, they really are, and they encourage me to keep doing it. I'm not going to school right now. I don't know what I'm going to do next. I'm so lost outside of riding, but they are really encouraging because most parents would probably be like, "You have to figure it out." But they just want me to do what makes me happy right now, so that's really nice.
Do your parents have previous experience with racing?Kialani:
My dad races. He's my stepdad, but he raced sprint cars. That was before I met him. But yeah, he's a really competitive person himself. Anything racing he's like, "You're not going to do cars, at least do something that's racing," so I got into it. Naturally, I don't think I'm a super competitive person, but as far as racing BMX and having my dad who's really competitive, being competitive is something I've grown to love. I don't think that I was born to be a person that's super competitive. Outside of racing I'm not like that at all.
How many full seasons of mountain biking have you had?Kialani:
I'd say ... I don't know, I want to say three but it's really been like two full seasons, like two and a half I mean. Two and a half seasons of racing. My Mammoth injury was the end of 2016 and so then I was out for that whole winter. Then in 2017 I didn't get to do some of the races at the beginning of the season. I feel like 2017 was kind of hard because I was out for a lot of the winter. It's like you have to get healthy through the season and I didn't, so it was kind of hard.
What was your worst injury?Kialani:
My first year racing mountain bikes I went to nationals Mammoth and I broke my tib/fib. I snapped it. It was pretty bad. That was my worst one. I had to have surgery down at Mammoth, but I didn't have a scratch on the rest of my body. I hit the tree at the bottom of the chute, and I just snapped my leg. But everything else was good because the shoot was so soft. I just rolled down and I was totally fine besides my leg, but that was my worst one. That was my first year I started racing mountain bikes.
And it didn't deter you?Kialani:
No, and I was out for a while. It was supposed to be three months until it healed and I could start getting back into moving it, but I had to go back in and get the screws taken out because it didn't heal because I got a rod in it. There was a gap between my bones still because they put two screws in the top so my top two bones couldn't settle. They were in place for three months and didn't do anything, so then I was off the bike for another three months. So it was almost half a year of not riding, most of the off season. It was pretty bad just because of the mistake during surgery the first time.
Do you still have any pain from it?Kialani:
Running I do because I have a rod in there. It affects my running so I don't really run. Other than that there's no pain.
If you weren't a mountain biker what would you be doing?Kialani:
Something with animals, definitely. I love animals. I don't know what I'd be doing, but I know it would be something with animals. I always wanted to be a vet when I was younger. Obviously, my parents have a business, that's kind of what I do now. It's the opposite of that, but I still love animals. That's my favorite thing besides bikes is animals.