Jenn Hill was actually many different people, depending on who you talk to about her. She was a very private person and the many different circles of her life rarely intersected each other, so it’s only now that we’re beginning to see how many people’s lives she touched in her brief 37 years.
Some people knew her from her days in Brighton, where long bike rides on sunny Saturdays seemed to happen a lot more than they should. Other people know her from when she worked in bike shops – wielding a spoke wrench and alignment tool with the confidence of a seasoned mechanic. And many knew her from events and races.
Racing was always something she’d done and she found a niche in 24 hour solo racing, where she’d grind round the courses, wet or dry, with a smile on her face – and she’d frequently end up on the podium.
24 hour racing obviously wasn’t hard enough, so somewhere along the way, she found the time and the focus to train for, and compete in, the Great Divide Race: a 2,500 mile race from the Canadian to the Mexican borders, racing non-stop down the spine of the Rockies. She was on target to smash the women’s record and the men’s singlespeed record, when a bout of giardia took her out for a couple of miserable days. But it’s a mark of her character that she carried on, finished in a still extraordinary time, and amazed people with her resilience.
More recently, she made her mark in Yorkshire, with a move to Calderdale where she settled right into the tight-knit riding scene and the steep, rocky trails. In 2009 she took up a proofing and subbing job at Singletrack magazine a couple of days a week. This led eventually to a full time job at the magazine as Deputy Editor. Full time for Jenn meant four days a week so that she could still get up to adventures at the weekends. Where she went, she never really shared, but there were always photos of the Lakes, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and beyond.
Her attention to detail and insistence that everything be just right kept Singletrack magazine organised and she found time in between the organising to write and photograph some beautiful and well-regarded articles, while maintaining a network of contributors and friends through her preferred silent medium of email.
It’s only now that she’s gone and the accolades have started to appear that you begin to see how far and wide her quiet character reached and how deeply she affected those she came into contact with.
Her professionalism and insistence on a job well done were with her until the end and she carried on working long after she was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2014. It was almost a task in itself to persuade her that the magazine would be OK without her while she made sure she left to say all of her goodbyes.
So, goodbye Jenn, and thank you. Your influence will be felt for many a year and the people you’ve touched will always carry the mark of your resilient spirit with them.
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A lovely piece of writing; moving, and from the heart.
I wish I had known her, she seems very special.
Thanks Chipps. Fitting tribute.
Probably an assignment you never thought you would need to write …..
A nice tribute indeed …
Lovely thing you have done there Chipps.
I am deeply saddened to read of the passing of Jenn. I only knew her through her excellent writing in singletrack. Life is cruel when someone who lead such a healthy life is taken at such a young age.
I am sure She will be missed by all who read singletrack but not nearly as much as those of you who knew and worked with her. I never had the pleasure of meeting her. Please pass on my heartfelt condolencies to all of you at Singletrack and Jenn’s family. Finally I do hope she is tearing up the trails in the sky with Steve W. RIP Jenn.
A fitting tribute
Thank you for writing this Chipps, you’ve captured it perfectly.
That’s lovely Chipps. I didn’t know her but I ha seen the posts on your Face book a few weeks ago. I lost a mate two weeks ago from a heart attack at 50. He left a wife and two kids
I am 54 just and intend to have some mtb adventures next year in Jenn’s and Graham’s memory
Well said Chipps.
Stuns me still how many knew her that I’d randomly bump into now and again. Each with their own memories of her. Always with their kind words.
I’ll miss her.
Hard to read and I imagine harder to write.
As if we need reminding but we really need to savour every turn of the pedals whilst we have the choice.
Amen to that
Very well written, can’t have been easy to do
Lovely tribute Chipps
Great piece Chipps. She was and is a legend.
Well done Chipps, a lovely heart felt tribute, that must have been difficult to write, about a wonderful human being. Here’s wishing Jenn has long, perfect, eternal trails, with a bit of mud thrown in for fun !!!
So true Chipps.
Mechanic, Sales, 24hr racing, Ride the Divide, Writer/Editor.
Blessed and talented x
Lovely tribute Chipps, she will be missed.
Good words Chipps. Sorry for you loss all.
wow so sorry she had to go at age 37, same age as me ….
makes you think … such a sad piece of news ;-(