Fort Collins' Georgia Gould raced the 2016 mtb season with the best fitness of her life and was in the best place mentally since 2012 unfortunately, lady luck and the UCI start grid don't care about those things. Although she raced well in the States she wasn't able to get the illusive World Cup win that she's be fighting for for years. That combined with an Olympic Team snub by USAC, Georgia was ready for the 2016 season to be over by late summer. Instead of racing a few fall CX races before prepping for the 2017 mtb season, Georgia took the whole 2016 CX season off. She and her husband, Dusty Labarr, spent nearly a month riding motorcycles across much of the Central and Eastern United States. In the following interview Georgia discusses the trip, and big changes in her race schedule and team for 2017.
Occupation Pro Cyclocross Racer
Years in the Fort 10
Hometown Baltimore, MD
Type of Racer/Strengths Being heckled and not DNFing
YGR: According to the Facebooks, you and the hubs just got back from a pretty epic moto tour. Where all did you guys go?
: We took a northern route back east and a southern route back out (South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania,Maryland,Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas) we were gone 24 days, 14 days of riding, and 4792 miles.
YGR: What were you riding?
: Moto Guzzi
YGR: When did you pick that up?
: early Sept
YGR: How long have you been riding?
: I've had a dirt bike for about 5 years, but this is the first street bike I've owned
YGR: Do you think it helps your mtb and cx skills?
YGR: Have you ever done a tour like this before?
YGR: Can you still hear the hum of the motor?
YGR: How long have you guys been planning that trip?
: we threw it together pretty quick. Tried to take advantage of some free time we both had.
YGR: Where ya going next?
: Staying put for awhile!
YGR: Favorite place along the route?
: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Huge, 400+ year old trees. Amazing.
YGR: Weirdest experience during the tour?
: talking to all the old guys who like talking about motorcycles
YGR: Where did you stay at night?
: hotels. Also with family.
YGR: At what point did you decide enough was enough?
: Dusty had ridden from the east coast to CO before and he said Kansas cracked him. So we decided to learn from past mistakes, rented a truck, packed up bikes and drove the last seven hundred miles home. I don't regret it.
YGR: So, what you’re saying is, no CX for you this season?
: yes, sadly.
YGR: Missing it yet?
: of course!
YGR: Sticking with Luna for next year?
: No, I'll be moving on.
YGR: Wow, so after 10 years of riding with the Luna Pro team, you’re moving on. Do you know who you’re riding for next year?
: not yet
YGR: How did your departure from the team come about?
: It was just time to move on. It was my choice to leave the team. I had a great career with Luna, but I am also looking forward to the future and new opportunities.
YGR: How about Dusty? (Georgia's husband Dusty Labarr is a mechanic for the Luna Chics)
: Dusty is moving on too.
YGR: Are you looking for a team or are you going to build a solo program?
: I'm open to either at this point.
YGR: So what’s the plan from now until the racing starts?
: well, after 3 weeks off, I'm easing back in. I'll be mixing it up (as usual) with some running, xc skiing, etc.
YGR: Have you considered doing any xc ski racing?
: maybe for fun. I'm usually up for trying new things.
YGR: What’s is going to be your first MTB race?
: not sure
YGR: What does your 2017 season look like?
: not sure
YGR: Was it hard to give up the World Cup schedule?
YGR: 2017 CX?
YGR: As a primary goal or after a full MTB season as per usual?
YGR: Well, that's very interesting. Why the shift?
: A change, I've never had the opportunity before.
YGR: Domestically or Euro?
YGR: Your 2016 mtb season must have been terribly frustrating. You appeared to have good fitness but horrible luck all season. Poor call-ups led to crashes and mechanicals which led to even worse call-ups which led to more crashes and mechanicals. Correct assessment? With such large and competitive fields, how do you stop that slide once it starts?
: haha yes, you pretty much nailed it. I was pretty bummed that I wasn't able to really show my fitness at all those world cups. I was hoping to end my World Cup career with some solid races, but it was just frustration after frustration. Stopping that slide? I think the call-up system should go back to World Cup points. Or at least have top-30 be World Cup points. I started behind people I had been beating in every World Cup because they had more uci points. At the end of the day, I didn't feel like I was ever RACING at those races, and that's why it was easy to walk away from that.
YGR: The Olympics were on the line all season. Did that add pressure to perform or were you out there strictly to win a WC?
: Of course the Olympics was a huge goal for me, but I didn't really feel more pressure. I knew that things can always happen (mechanicals, illness, bad luck) so I just went into it with the goal of preparing the best way I knew how. And I did. Again, the fact that I didn't really see the fruits of that labor was frustrating and disappointing, but the thing that matters most to me is I know that I was very prepared, the fittest I've ever been, and in the best spot mentally and motivationally since 2012. That's what I'm proud of.
YGR: We’re a couple months past the Rio Olympics, how are you feeling about not being selected?
: I'm disappointed, but I’ve moved on.
YGR: Do you think the course suited you?
YGR: Tokyo 2020?
YGR: So you’re saying there’s a chance. Nice.