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Georgia Gould’s late season cyclocross start — so far, smooth as silk

January 5, 2014
Georgia Gould wins day one of Altitude Adjustment Cross in heavy snow

Georgia Gould wins day one of Altitude Adjustment Cross in heavy snow

[updated with new content 1/7/2014]

She’s back.

And Georgia Gould’s not surprised – as a seasoned and accomplished cyclist why should she be – that she’s racing like her cyclocross season began in September even though it started just three weeks ago at the Colorado state cyclocross championships.

She had taken a three month break from competition, but her wheels didn’t collect dust in the garage.

“I haven’t been training and racing for ‘cross but I’ve been riding my bike a lot,” Gould said on Saturday after racing again. “So it wasn’t just like, ‘Oh I think I’ll race state championships this weekend,’ like, off the couch.”

Luna Pro Team’s Gould became the new state champion with Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and Marin-Sky’s Nicole Duke in the mix for the podium.

On Saturday she enjoyed victory again at day one of Altitude Adjustment Cross in Longmont, Colorado. Gould crossed the finish line with a wave and smile as a course worker waited to sweep the line clear of rapidly falling snow.

“I had such a rough end of the mountain bike season that right now I just want to feel good in a race,” Gould said. “I had fun today. It was a good course.”

Gould looked smooth again on Sunday when she won day two of the Longmont event. Now that she’s three for three, she wouldn’t mind extending that streak.

Speaking on Saturday about the upcoming cyclocross national championships in Boulder, Gould sounded optimistic. And realistic. While Colorado locals Miller and Duke were registered for the Longmont event, they didn’t start. So three weeks have passed since Gould’s only outing this season versus some of the country’s top women and she hasn’t faced juggernauts like Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) or Cal Giant’s Elle Anderson, for example.

“But I’m feeling good. Really my biggest goal is to just – obviously I want to win, but that’s kind of a tall order for not doing a whole cyclocross season,” she said regarding her chances at nationals. “I’m going to just go out and just give it my best shot and hope that I feel good and soak up the awesome Colorado crowd that I’m sure will be out there.”

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Altitude Adjustment Cross Day 1

The juniors came out to play on Saturday. Katie Clouse (Canyon Bicycles) and Laurel Rathbun, riding in a Hammer kit, lined up in the first row. When Gould rolled up to the second row, she chose Clouse’s wheel.

Elite ladies start, Altitude Adjustment Cross day one

Elite ladies start, Altitude Adjustment Cross day one

Rathbun won the holeshot. Katherine Santos (Red Zone Cycling) and Clouse started fast as well.

Gould decided to lay back a bit and slotted in about fifth wheel. Given the slippery conditions in the snow and sub-freezing cold, she knew a silky ride would count. “That’s the biggest thing for me, is staying within myself. The smoother you can be the better,” she explained post-race. “So I just kind of was patient at the beginning, because it tends to be kind of mayhem at any start; everyone’s jockeying. I just bided my time and tried to stay smooth and have fun.”

She moved up in the first lap, pulled into the lead by lap two, and carefully carried it home to the win with a nearly two minute gap.

Rapid Racing’s Kristal Boni started well and steadily advanced past Rathbun and Clouse by mid-race. Twelve year-old Clouse, who had traveled from Park City for pre-nationals training, held third on course until she broke her chain and pulled out. Rathbun’s efforts earned her third.

Kristal Boni descends from the Longmont course's high point

Kristal Boni descends from the Longmont course’s high point

Boni finished second after a smart and strong race.

“I felt really good and this course was so fun. I think the snow really suits me,” the masters world champion said later. “I just had a blast and tried to keep it nice and smooth, definitely slipped out a few times…I think a lot of it was go slow to go fast, you know, through the corners. Some of the corners especially on the pavement have gotten really slippery.”

Saturday’s experience set Boni up well for the single speed, 40 – 44, and elite races she will contest this week at nationals. “I’m super excited,” she said. “It’s a great result to have before next week.”

Altitude Adjustment Cross Day 2

Sunday dawned colder than Saturday, with temperatures barely reaching 20 Fahrenheit and a shy sun that alternately peeked out then returned behind the low clouds. A smaller ladies field started and Gould dominated from the get-go.

Katie Jay Melena (Bicycle Blue Book), Emma Dunn (Feedback Sports), and Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement)] chased the Luna rider in search of second. Gross emerged the strongest of the group to finish next best after Gould. Dunn placed third with Melena fourth.

Julie Lockhart, legend in Longmont

Julie Lockhart, legend in Longmont

Among those at the back of the field, one competitor in particular drew the most attention. Seventy-four years-young national champion Julie Lockhart trailed the elite field as she raced the women’s 55+ category for the second consecutive day. When Gould passed Lockhart on course the Luna rider cheered on the legend. “Awesome, awesome,” she said.

See the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website for full results from Altitude Adjustment Cross.

Gallery [more to come]

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