Georgia Gould had goals for taking home a jersey at the US Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend, and while she had to settle for second in the cross country race on Saturday, a great, tactical race on Sunday earned her the coveted Short Track National Championship title.
The race played out almost like a cyclocross race: a tight pack formed at the front after a couple of laps on the short track course (about 3 minute laps). Luna’s Gould was in the mix with her teammate Teal Stetson Lee, as well as last year’s winner, Specialized’s Lea Davison, and one of her teammates, along with Evelyn Dong and Chloe Woodruff of Backcountry.com. ’Crossers Mary McConneloug and Crystal Anthony popped in and out of the group, but while Dong controlled the pace for the first half, Woodruff really launched an attack as the laps counted down.
Finally, Gould and Woodruff were able to separate from the group, and began a battle for the coveted jersey. In the last section, the one part of the course that the crowd at the finish line couldn’t see, Gould made her final attack, and it stuck. She sailed in with plenty of time to put her arms in the air as she took the win, and the crowd went wild.
Cyclocross Magazine: When did you get the lead on Chloe Woodruff?
Georgia Gould: I saw that the gaps were opening a little so I made it hard on the back section. The last time through, I led for part and Chloe attacked on the climb, and I stayed on her wheel. Then on the last climb, I passed her in the traverse.
CXM: Is this redemption from last year?
GG: Definitely! I was like, ‘You are not tricking me into leading this time. You can sit up! I am confident.’ But there were a bunch of people taking turns at the front and making it exciting. And it’s awesome to see everyone racing strong. I’m glad that the younger girls race with us in that race, it’s great experience.
CXM: You won the shorter race, does that bode well for ’cross season?
GG: Definitely. This is all part of my plan to be unstoppable at Cross Vegas, less than 24 hours after I leave from Norway [at MTB Worlds]. It’s like jet-setting!
We’ll see Gould again at the Windham World Cup in two weeks, where she’ll be trying to exorcise the ghost of races past—last time she took the course, she led the World Cup for much of the race until a flat, less than a mile from the finish, left her finishing in third instead of taking the win, much to the disappointment of the crowd.