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Gould races to her third cross country national title

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Georgia Gould (Luna) celebrates victory in the US cross country national championship race in her former hometown of Ketchum, Idaho

Georgia Gould (Luna) celebrates victory in the US cross country national championship race in her former hometown of Ketchum, Idaho
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kelli Emmett (Giant) is a brilliant descender

Kelli Emmett (Giant) is a brilliant descender
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) entering a steep rock garden

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) entering a steep rock garden
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) setting up for the rock garden

Lea Davison (Specialized) setting up for the rock garden
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) riding through the sharp rocks

Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) riding through the sharp rocks
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) descending switchbacks

Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) descending switchbacks
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kelli Emmett (Giant) descending through the rocks

Kelli Emmett (Giant) descending through the rocks
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt) riding a very strong race

Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt) riding a very strong race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) riding the long flat rock garden with a bit of blood coming from her knee

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) riding the long flat rock garden with a bit of blood coming from her knee
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) was possibly the fastest rider on lap five

Lea Davison (Specialized) was possibly the fastest rider on lap five
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kelli Emmett (Giant) having no trouble with the 100 meter rock garden

Kelli Emmett (Giant) having no trouble with the 100 meter rock garden
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) riding the rocks on lap five

Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) riding the rocks on lap five
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) descends off the mountain on her way to victory

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) descends off the mountain on her way to victory
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) riding switchbacks in fourth place

Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) riding switchbacks in fourth place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) descending 12 seconds behind Gould

Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) descending 12 seconds behind Gould
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) descending on lap two

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) descending on lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The Bald Mountain venue in Sun Valley

The Bald Mountain venue in Sun Valley
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) lining up on the front row

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) lining up on the front row
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) is expected to challenge Gould today

Lea Davison (Specialized) is expected to challenge Gould today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Alison Mann (Rock n' Road) rounding one of the many switchbacks

Alison Mann (Rock n' Road) rounding one of the many switchbacks
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Teal Stetson-Lee (Sweet Elite Rocky Mt. Chocolate) taking the inside line on a switchback

Teal Stetson-Lee (Sweet Elite Rocky Mt. Chocolate) taking the inside line on a switchback
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Heide Rentz riding the flyover

Heide Rentz riding the flyover
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on the flyover with one lap to go

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on the flyover with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) riding with Katie Compton after Compton flatted

Lea Davison (Specialized) riding with Katie Compton after Compton flatted
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) (L) and Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)(R) at the finish

Lea Davison (Specialized) (L) and Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)(R) at the finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) sets the pace up the mountain on lap one

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) sets the pace up the mountain on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) nearly matched Gould for a couple laps

Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) nearly matched Gould for a couple laps
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The Elite Women head up the long fire road climb

The Elite Women head up the long fire road climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) winning in front of her home town crowd

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) winning in front of her home town crowd
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Georgia Gould (Luna) soloed to her third US cross country national title in Sun Valley, Idaho, on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon. The victory was especially sweet because she used to live in Ketchum, the place where she got into mountain bike racing, and many locals had come out to cheer her. Gould set a steady, but hard pace from the start and led the race throughout.

"It's awesome to win here. It's like coming full circle," said Gould. "I did my first mountain bike race at Galena Lodge, 20 miles north of here. I'm excited they had this race here because everyone can come see how awesome the riding is here and how great the community is."

The battle for second was a tight one between Lea Davison (Specialized) and Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) with Davison getting the better of Compton in the latter half of the race.

The women raced a sub-four mile course which featured an extremely long and steep uphill on a loose fire road followed by a long, smooth, wooded, singletrack descent.

"That climb is so hard that I knew it would be important to not go out too hard," said Gould. "You want to be near the front because there is no passing on the downhill, but I think everyone was in the same boat."

After the first lap. Gould led Compton by about 10 seconds. Davison and Irmiger followed at 20 seconds while Kelli Emmett (Giant) rode in fifth.

Compton rode strong, keeping Gould in her sights for the next two laps while Davison rode in third about one minute back.

Davison got stronger and stronger as the race progressed and she started moving up. With just over a lap to go, Davison caught Compton. That was also about the time Compton got a flat.

"I flatted on the fourth lap. I felt it getting soft and I could hear the sealant leaking out through the rock garden," said Compton. "Lucky enough that was close to the tech zone, where she got a wheel change."

Davison rode off into second place, madly chasing Gould, who was eager to defend her title.  She also won in 2005.

"Lea was charging. I knew she was not that far behind," said Gould. "I was in the front and I tried to be as conservative as you can be when you're going all out by the top of the climb. I tried to save a little in case someone caught up and attacked... though it would have been a granny gear attack on that climb."

Gould was also plagued by cramps on the final climb. "I was cramping so badly on that last lap. Only my pride was keeping me from getting off my bike and walking. That last pitch with the feed zone at the top was the place where I tried the hardest all this year. I kept thinking don't give up and push."

Her effort was enough to let her race to victory by 23 seconds.

Davison was ecstatic at achieving her best national championship finish ever: a silver medal. "I felt better and better as the race went on. I was closing on that last climb, but I can only be happy. Georgia was on the podium at the World Cup so to be so close to her was a confidence boost. She rode a great race."

Davison's best previous finish was and eighth place two years ago in Granby, Colorado. Last year, she missed the entire season due to a hip injury.

Compton was the only one of the top three women not to suffer from cramps during the race. "It was nice to have a good ride. That hill was so tough the race was like a time trial. I was descending decently today."

Former national champion Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) raced to fourth place. "My race was so-so. I was 90 percent everywhere," said Irmiger, who finished 5:16 after Gould. "I know no one felt good on the climb, but I felt like I didn't have my top end on the climb and on the descent I was just sort of there. It was a weird day."

Emmett, who has focused her training on the upcoming Leadville 100, claimed the final podium spot in fifth at 6:23. "This was my first podium at an altitude race," she said. "I felt good and kept it steady. For me, it was a matter of not making any big, sudden moves. I don't have the speed that some of the girls have. I'm happy with today."

Race Notes

- National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series winner Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) made an unusual appearance in the cross country race instead of racing at the Breckenridge 100 NUE round today. The 100-miler queen put in an impressively fast ride to finish seventh.

- First year elite racer Sage Wilderman (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) finished eighth. Last year's Under 23 women's champion was excited to be mixing it up with the best women in the country.

- Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were spotted watching the elite women's cross country race. The couple has a home nearby.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)1:40:14
2Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing)0:00:23
3Katherine Compton (RaboBank - Giant Off Road Team)0:01:14
4Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek)0:05:16
5Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycles)0:06:23
6Judy Freeman (Kenda / Felt Mountain Bike Team)0:07:10
7Amanda Carey (Kenda / Felt Mountain Bike Team)0:08:43
8Sage Wilderman (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory)0:09:03
9Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes)0:09:39
10Nina Baum (NoTubes Elite Womens Team)0:10:40
11Katherine Sherwin (NoTubes Elite Womens Team)0:11:10
12Elizabeth English0:12:21
13Allison Mann0:12:29
14Carolyn Popovic (Team CF)0:12:37
15Krista Park (Cannondale/NoTubes)0:13:04
16Kelly Boniface0:13:23
17Sarah Kaufmann (Team Roaring Mouse)0:15:34
18Amy Dombroski0:15:50
19Alice Pennington0:15:57
20Chloe Forsman (BMC Mountainbike Development Team USA)0:18:20
21Molly Throdahl
22Heidi Rentz0:19:02
23Kelsy Bingham0:19:23
24Rebecca Gross (Velo Bella)0:19:43
25Jana Repulski0:20:49
26Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes Elite Women's Team)0:21:18
27Lisa Hudson (Feedback Sports Racing)0:24:03
28Joele Guynup0:24:19
29Shannon Gibson (NoTubes Elite Women's Team)0:24:52
30Kathleen Harding0:25:15
-1lapKari Studley (Mafia Racing/Pabst/Felt)
-1lapAnna Fortner
DNFTeal Stetson-Lee (Sweet Elite Rocky Mountain Chocolate Fac)
DNFErica Tingey
DNSMary Mcconneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes)

 

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