By Kirsten Robbins
The name Georgia Gould has appeared at the top of the North American cyclo-cross results so often this year that it's hard to believe that the 2006 US national mountain bike champion has only been a professional racer for only a few years. Perhaps it's her alliterative name, perhaps it's her prodigious winning streak this season, but this Baltimore native just seems to belong at the top of the podium.
A mountain bike racer first and foremost, 27 year-old Georgia Gould won her first professional race in the 2006 US mountain bike championships. Since then, she's been on a winning streak that included just about every cross country race she entered on the US calendar, including the national mountain bike series. She ended the mountain biking season sixth in the UCI's rankings, the season's only disappointment was being denied a repeat win in the national championship at Mt. Snow this year.
The always smiling Gould hung up the wide knobbies in September to hit the North American cyclo-cross circuit, and it's no surprise she's become quite fond of the sport after taking home four victories and the overall the series win in the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross. Last season she was just two seconds off of a national title in her second sport. This year, after taking on the continent's best women in the knee deep mud at the series finals in Portland and winning, it's no surprise that Gould's answer to the question, "Can you win the US 'cross championship?" was a resounding "Yes!".
When growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Gould wasn't exposed much to cycling. In fact, it wasn't until she moved to Sun Valley, Idaho after completing a degree in psychology that she first picked up the bike.
Gould and her husband Dusty LaBarr currently live in Fort Collins, Colorado, but Gould explained that Sun Valley was where she first took up mountain biking, and then started taking it more seriously after being exposed to the multitude of training rides and weekend races.
"I noticed that mountain biking was something a lot of people did so I started exploring all the trails," said Gould. "When I was nineteen I met Dusty out there and he was also mountain biking, so we ended up riding together a lot. The next couple years I did racing here and there and in 2003, I got more serious and did the whole regional series as an expert. Then in 2004 I got my professional license."
In her first professional season with Team Tamarac, the pair based themselves out of a fifteen-passenger van and drove to the national calendar events. "My husband is very supportive," acknowledged Gould. "He has been my support from the very beginning: he's my mechanic, he feeds me and used to even clean my bike. We train together and we also pre-rode the courses together."
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