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Georgia Gould came out of nowhere to win the 2006 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships. In the last three years she has become one of the top XC racers in the world.
In 2007, Gould swept all six events on the National Mountain Bike Series, scored her first podium finish in a UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event, won the Pan American Mountain Bike Championships and rode to a top-10 finish at the World Championship.
In 2008 she again won the U.S. national series title. Gould also made an appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, scoring an 8th place finish in what was only her second year of world-class racing.
Singletrack.com dropped Gould an email as she prepares for the World Championships in Canberra, Australia this weekend and then the two remaining World Cup races in Switzerland and Austria. Gould is currently ranked 14th in the World Cup. She finished second, behind Luna teammate Catharine Pendrel, in the 2009 Pro XCT national series.
ST: As far as your 2009 mountain bike schedule goes, is Canberra the last race of the season for you as the final ProXCT in Las Vegas was cancelled?
GG: No, I will be going back to Europe for the last two World Cup events.
ST: If the Worlds are your last mountain bike race of the season, how does that dictate how you approach the day?
GG: I look at it like any other race: I’m going to try to win!
ST: What is the difference in mindset between one stop in the Pro XCTour or a World Cup stop versus a one-day shot at the Rainbow Jersey?
GG: I try not to think of it as being so different, otherwise I end up getting too stressed out. That being said, it is the WORLD championships, so it’s a pretty big deal. I prepare the same as I would for any other race. I would never change anything major (warm-up, bike set-up, etc.) before a big race. During the race I might take a few more risks, but in general I’m a pretty conservative rider.
ST: How do you get up for such a race after flying half way around the world?
GG: World championships are never too hard to get psyched up for; it’s the biggest race of the year! I try to arrive about a week before the worlds to give myself a little time to get used to the time zone, climate, etc. By comparison I would usually arrive two to three days before a World Cup and one day before a national race.
ST: On paper it looks glamorous to jet around the globe and race your bike. But what are the realities, like keeping the training/nutritional regimes going as you would at home? What are your must-haves on the road?
GG: I have to say, I can’t really complain about anything – I have the coolest job! It can get tough when you are living out of a bag for most of the year, but it is amazing how only a few days at home sleeping in your own bed can rejuvenate you. I do get to travel to a lot of cool places, but usually the trips are short – only a few days – and most of that time is spent training or resting, so I don’t have a ton of time for sightseeing (I just keep a list of places i want to come back to).
I don’t have any specific dietary restrictions, so that makes my life a lot easier when I am on the road. Overall, I just try to be flexible and have a good sense of humor. I don’t stress about the little things.
ST: As far as the 2009 Pro XCT, you finished second overall on the season behind Luna teammate Catharine Pendrel. What are your thoughts on the season? Satisfied?
GG: 2009 has been a challenging season for me. My results haven’t been as good as past years, so that has been tough. I had some bad luck at a few races, and I just had a hard time putting it together for some other races. I did have a few really good races, and overall I think it was a solid season. If I have an “off” year and I’m still riding pretty fast I have to be satisfied with that.
ST: For a race like the World Championship, what is the dynamic between you and, say Pendrel, where you both are now wearing your national colors rather than your Luna kits? Is it no-holds-barred?
GG: No holds barred!