Georgia Gould races professionally in both mountain biking and cyclocross disciplines in the USA and around the world. She has earned four career national championships—three in cross-country mountain bike in 2006, 2010 and 2011, and one in short track mountain bike in 2009. She has been employed by the LUNA Chix Pro Team since 2006. Georgia resides in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, Dusty Barr.
We spoke with Georgia prior to her travel to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round #7 held in Val d'Isere, France. After this race she heads to the Olympic Games in London, England. The Val d'Isere race served as an Olympic tune-up for Georgia.
DP: Tell me about yourself.Georgia: I am a professional bicycle racer with four younger brothers; I grew up on Baltimore, Maryland, and attended boarding school in New Hampshire.
I floated through multiple higher education institutions; however, I graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Montana.
My parents are regular folks—mom (Susan) and dad (Frank). They are divorced and each remarried. My dad had two other kids but my mom did you not have any other kids.
DP: When will you be traveling to London? How long does it take for you to acclimatize to the new time zone?Georgia: I will be traveling to London on Monday, August 6th. I spend the week between the world cup and the Olympic race in Germany training.
When traveling from Colorado, it takes me about one week or so to get accustomed to the new time zone.
DP: Now that you made Team USA, who will travel with you for moral support at the Olympic Games?Georgia: Oh gosh! Everyone in my family is traveling to London. Among my support team I will count on: my mom and her husband, dad and his wife, my four brothers, cousins and my maternal grandma. My grandma is turning 80 on the day of my Olympic mountain bike race.
DP: Are there any notable differences between racing mountain bikes in the USA and rest of the world? In your opinion, what country/region offers the best in mountain biking or mountain bicycle races?Georgia: Um! All the regions have a different racing flavor. In the USA for instance, we have a diverse mountain biking atmosphere. We have desert, East Coast, high altitude, etc. That gives an American racer an advantage because of the different terrains we race on. In Europe, there is just not the same breadth of atmosphere.
DP: What would you be doing if you were not a professional bicycle racer?Georgia: I don't know! I have been racing on bicycles since I was 20 years of age and I simply have not thought about it—really. I am hoping something amazing just materializes.
EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN CYCLISTSDP: It has been years since you brought up the issue of purse equity in women’s bicycle racing. Have you seen any improvements both inside and outside of the USA?Georgia: I have seen a lot of improvement in the USA. Many promoters have voluntarily stepped up to the challenge. There has not been any legislative change via Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body of cycling. But the cyclocross promoters have done the most on this issue. They have sent a message of sorts that they value women's cyclocross racing.
Outside of the USA, I believe that in mountain biking the purse is pretty close in prizes but I don't know for cyclocross.
DP: Do you think the UCI and promoters around the world have finally got the message that women should receive wages in cycling?Georgia: Yes! I think that they are folks working hard and are very serious about it. It is a slow process to get things moving in the right direction, especially for cyclocross, but there is still lots of work to be done overall.
BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY
♦ Blog: Georgia Gould
♦ Twitter: @gouldgeorgia
♦ Facebook: Georgia Gould on FacebookDP: I noticed you are very active on the online world with Twitter, Facebook and a personal blog. The London Olympics organizers have posted a “bazillion” rules about athletes’ social media usage; are you aware of them? Will you be posting messages using social media platforms from the Olympic Village?Georgia: Yes, I think so. I am not aware of the rules and plan on reading up them prior to my arrival.
DP: The USA Cycling has created a one-stop, follow-your-rider of sorts website Are you aware of it?Georgia: I was not aware of it! How cool of them!
Editors Note: NBC Sports will be streaming 3500 hours of live Olympics via online, mobile, television, etc. Fans can catch Georgia in the Women's Mountain Bike Cross-Country scheduled to be televised on Saturday, August 11 at 7:30 a.m. EDT. TECHNICALLY SPEAKINGDP: Which bicycle will you race in the London Olympic Games?Georgia: I will be racing on an Orbea Alma 29er carbon fitted with Shimano components, Selle Italia saddle and a Fox fork (100mm).
DP: Have you tested the newly designed Olympic kits by SKINS? How do they feel? Do they feel as good as the compression apparel?Georgia: I have tried it on but I have not been riding in it yet. The mountain bike kit seems to be of good quality.
DP: Will you be wearing/using any other specially designed Olympic Games apparel or equipment?Georgia: I will probably get a specially designed Olympic Games bicycle frame but I am not sure what other special products I will be receiving to be used on race day.
DP: I must say that the “Birth of the HeckleMe” was a clever way to market the Luna Bars, so tell me will you be looking for “heckleme” signs at the Olympics?Georgia: (Laughs) Yeah—we will see! People thought it was a fun thing to do so we will see what happens.
Georgia: I usually have a Luna protein bar after racing. I use the Clif Shot Gels and sometimes before a race I use Clif Shot Bloks. My favorite is the margarita because I need more sodium since I have a high sweat rate.
DP: I know Luna does have a recovery product. What is your favorite recovery fuel?Georgia: I use the protein bars for recovery and then I try to get some kind of protein and carbohydrate after each race. I also drink coconut water to replenish electrolytes. But I don't have a recovery drink that I use every single time. Another thing I like to eat is dry figs.
DP: Which is your favorite Luna bar? What about the new Luna Fibers—what can you tell us about them?Georgia: I do not have much experience with the new fiber bars. I have tried them but I have not race-tested them yet. Among my favorite Luna flavors are the chocolate coconut and lemon zest.
PRE- & POST-OLYMPIC GAMESDP: You are doing the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Val d'Isere, France on July 28. What is your goal there and who can you count as your rivals?Georgia: To win the race of course! I have not looked at the start list and but I am confident that I will be racing against the top mountain bikers in the world. My rivals will include my teammate Katerina Nash plus Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and French champion Julie Bresset to name a few.
Editors Note: Georgia finished 5th in this event. DP: Who will be your competitors at the London 2012 Olympic Games?Georgia: Simply put, everyone who has been on the podium thus far in the World Cups is a threat to me.
DP: What countries present the greatest threat to Team USA?Georgia: For the Olympic Games each country can only send a maximum of two mountain bike riders. Therefore, I see Canada and France as strong rivals but countries that have been racing well include Slovenia, Poland, etc. No one country presents a single threat to Team USA in the mountain bike discipline.
DP: According to your personal blog you plan to race the London Olympic Games (July 27 to August 12) then Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden, Austria (September 6 to the 9); What are your goals for these races? What size bike will you race on?Georgia: My goal is to win at the above events! A lot of people have switched from the 26er to the 29er, for example both Catharine Pendrel and Katerina Nash, both Luna Pro teammates, will race their 26ers, but I will be racing in the Orbea Alma 29er because I feel more stable on the downhill and on the bumpy terrain. I found that using a 29er size bike has given me confidence in the races.
More information on the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championship is at http://www.saalfeldenleogang2012.at/deMUSIC, CYCLOROSS, PREPAREDNESS, ETC.DP: In your opinion, what is the state of women’s mountain biking in the USA today? What country has the best female pro mountain biking athletes?Georgia: I don't think that there is one standout country. The USA definitely has good juniors and U23 women who have put in good performances at the national championships and around the world. It is exciting to see that the next generation is coming along with strong performances.
One of the drawbacks to USA mountain biking development is that there is no national mountain bike series and it makes it difficult for development. The high school mountain bike leagues will strengthen our development for sure, but the our country needs to go back to hosting good national mountain bike series to prepare the riders for racing on the world stage.
DP: If you could speak to a room full of junior riders who are considering mountain bike racing, what would you say to them?Georgia: I would say to them that I think that bike racing is a great sport and to consider having a Plan B because I have seen too many juniors burn out and I think it is important to have other things going on, too. Further, I would tell them not to put all their eggs in one basket and enjoy the moments. A junior rider has so much time ahead to develop so I would stress to be patient because the payoffs do come later in the future.
DP: What would we find in your play list?Georgia: I love a variety of music on my playlist! I love to mix it up! I have 80s music, classic rock, etc. One thing I don't listen too much of is classical music. As far as artists are concerned, I love White Stripes, The Black Keys, Beck, Rolling Stones and Queen, to name a few.
DP: What do you like most/dislike most about mountain biking/cyclocross?Georgia: As for mountain biking: I like that I get to ride my bike on trails all around the world. It is a great way to see new places. I enjoy the solitude that one can find while riding. As far as not liking something, it is not really about a dislike, per se. It has more to do with the professional athlete maintenance part, and these include keeping motivated and able to leave the work in the office. In essence, even when I have time off I must think about the entire body and job combination.
Cyclocross: I really like the fact that the racing is close and dynamic. In a cyclocross race, a rider can be separated by seconds, whereas in mountain biking one can be separated by minutes. The thing I dislike about cyclocross is not being able to feel some parts of me after deep cold weather racing. The slow thaw that occurs is the most painful.
DP: As you are about to participate in your second Olympic Games, what will you do differently when compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?Georgia: This time around I know what to expect and I have a better idea about the craziness that the Olympic Games brings. I feel better prepared. Also, I have spent more time on the Olympic mountain bike course because I got to race on it in July 2011. I am confident that I can have a good race on the course. I think having more mountain bike racing experience gives me a better advantage this time around. I won't change anything because everything is working well at this time.
LUNA Chix Pro Team headed to the London Olympic Games: Catharine Pendrel (Canada), Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) and Georgia Gould (United States).
About the author: An experienced racer, Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling news and general peloton ramblings. She also holds an MBA, is a marketing strategy expert, and is a social media team member/contributor to the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association.