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Gould turns cyclo-cross focus towards having fun

Professional mountain biker Georgia Gould (Team Luna) has taken a laid back approach to competitive cyclo-cross by turning up the fun factor during the 2009-2010 season in the United States of America. However lessening the pressure to win has not kept her off the podium in some of the nation’s most prestigious events.

“This year I’m going to try and take a little more time and give my body a rest,” said Gould. “I am having fun. I love racing cross and I didn’t want it to be miserable. I took the pressure off and that doesn’t mean I’m not trying hard. I still try hard, I’m just not holding myself to the standard of having to win.”

Mountain biking is Gould’s bread-and-butter but0 she uses cyclo-cross as a way to stay fit and healthy during the off season. Gould is no slouch on the ’cross bike, having won the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross series overall title in 2008 and the North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy series’ heavy weight belt in 2009. In the spring and summer months, she races through fully loaded mountain bike schedule that included the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) World Cup series and the majority of US national series events.

During the past two years, Gould has ended her mountain bike season in September and transitioned to the cyclo-cross with little time to recover. This year she made the decision to step back from racing cyclo-cross under pressure and putting the emphasis on recovery, cross-training and having a good time.

“It’s hard and it definitely takes a toll racing year round, which is what I’ve done in the last few years,” Gould said. “Mountain biking has always been my focus because that’s my job and cyclo-cross has always been second tier. For the past few years, I’ve been able to do both pretty successfully but I think it takes a lot out of you to race all year round. Coming into this mountain bike season I was pretty tired, mainly from last season’s cross and I definitely think I suffered from that. I can’t be expected to be 100-percent at every single race all year long.”

Gould finished her mountain bike season at the penultimate UCI World Cup race in Switzerland on September 12-13. Her performance was subpar due to extreme fatigue and she decided to skip the final World Cup in Austria in order to recover before CrossVegas.

“The last mountain bike World Cup I did, I’ve never hoped that someone would lap me and I’ve never considered dropping out of a race like that,” Gould said. “I thought if I’m going to have any shot atCross Vegas and the ‘cross season, I’m going to have to skip the World Cup final and rest for a week before.”

Gould regrets that her decision to take cyclo-cross lightly meant that she will not be supporting her team-mate Katerina Nash at the World Championships held in Tabor, Czech Republic in January, Nash’s native country. “This year I made the difficult decision not to go to worlds which was really hard because it’s in Katerina’s home country and I would love to go and support her,” she said. “I would’ve loved to go and do that.”

Gould will finish up the cyclo-cross season at the Super Cross Cup held in South Hampton next weekend followed by the final USGP in Portland and US Nationals held in Bend, Oregon. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the USGPs, nationals and then vacation,” she said.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.