Another Olympian with ties to Idaho competes Saturday in London. Mountain biker Georgia Gould will combine speed with technique to navigate rocky descents and dirt trails. The course navigates trails on 555 acres outside London designed for the Olympics.
Georgia Gould started to ride mountain bikes in the summer of 1999. She’d moved to Ketchum where her father lives.
“I started trail running and saw people on mountain bikes,” Gould recalls. “And I thought this is a great way to explore the area and see more of the area than on foot.”
Back then she had dreadlocks and a sense of adventure. “So it wasn’t too long before I found a race that I could enter. I’m pretty competitive,” she laughs. She discovered she liked the challenge of mountain biking and that she had a talent for it. “I moved up pretty quickly through the ranks.”
She worked part time prepping food at a restaurant to try and pay her bills and race fees. Gould remembers her husband and her driving to national races around the country, “in a 15 passenger van with a futon in the back.” Gould’s face lights up with a smile as she laughs again and says “It was totally shoestring budget camping at the races and definitely was pretty broke that year.”
At the end of that year – 2005 - Gould got an offer to ride for one of the best women’s mountain bike teams in the country - Team Luna Chix. A year later she won her first national title. London is her second Olympics.
“Even though it’s not just another bike race, it is just another bike race,” she explains. “My success in recent races is the result of good preparation and if I keep doing the same thing that I’m giving my best chance to have a great race in London.”
Gould raced the national mountain bike cross-country championships in July in Ketchum. In front of hundreds of fans, she strong and fast during the multi lap course that took her through steep rock drops and up equally steep climbs. She won her fourth national title coming across the finish line with her hands in the air, the crowd cheering and yelling her name.
Gould finished 8th in the Beijing Olympics. But this weekend, there’s a very good chance she’ll take home an Olympic medal. Gould races at 12:30 p.m. Saturday London time. That's 5:30 a.m. in Idaho.
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