"The Olympics is the biggest reason as to why I'm not going to the cyclo-cross national championships," said Gould to Cyclingnews. "The mountain bike World Cup starts so early next year that I need to switch gears now and start to focus on that. Definitely the first four World Cups will be the biggest goals leading up to the Olympics because those events will decide qualifying."
Gould was recently named to the US Olympic Mountain Bike Long Team, the first step in qualifying for one of what will likely be two female spots. "So far no one has qualified automatically, and standards are pretty high on the women's side."
"Winning the Olympic gold is my aim," she told Cyclingnews. "I finished second in the test event after a crash and a mechanical, so I know I can ride well on that course. I'm confident that I can be one of the contenders."
In addition to the World Cups, Gould says she will also do a few US Pro XCT races in 2012.
The American cross country national champion said that in 2012 and 2013, after the Olympics, she will get back to doing more cyclo-cross racing. "Obviously the 'cross world championships and national championships will be a goal during the next cyclo-cross season.  Worlds are going to be in Kentucky, and that's going to be exciting for the sport."
While Gould spent much of the North American autumn racing 'cross, she has kept her focus solidly on training and preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. "I haven't been training a ton during the cyclo-cross season. I'm not taking a huge amount of time off, just switching gears and base training. The first mountain bike World Cup is in March so it's going to be really important to be fast for those races. And also the first World Cup is important because it determines your start position for the next World Cup."
Gould will race again for Luna in 2012. "My contract is up at the end of next year. We've not talked about after 2012, but based on the past I'm pretty sure they'll want to renew contacts for 2013 and beyond."
Look for Gould raring to go at the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on March 17-18, 2012.