North Americans dominated the top 10 positions last weekend in Windham, with many of the season’s breakthrough rides by North Americans in both the men’s and women’s fields. The North Americans brought their best form to the table and proved why Canada and the US are considered two of the strongest countries in the world.
The most notable breakthrough ride came from Georgia Gould, who led nearly the whole race with a large margin, as she had done the previous weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne. In both cases, she lost the win to teammate Catharine Pendrel at the end of exceptional rides.
The motivation of a close-to-home race helped her push deeper, as she suspects it did for the other North Americans. “Any time that you get to race in your own country and your own town it’s definitely motivating to be on your own turf, but I also think that we just have some really strong North American riders,” she said, a belief that riders including Pendrel, Marie-Helene Premont, Todd Wells, Max Plaxton, Geoff Kabush, Lea Davison and Emily Batty confirmed with their rides.
Gould’s flat in Windham and cramps in Mont-Sainte-Anne may have prevented her first World Cup wins, but both rides proved that her form is good enough to place a high bid on an Olympic medal. Now that the initial burn has subsided from the pinch flat that leveled Georgia Gould’s one-minute lead in the Windham World Cup, her confidence and spirits are high.
Ahead for nearly all of the race, Gould ran her flat-tired bike across the finish line to take third in the US World Cup.
But despite the frustration of her bad luck, Gould recognizes that her form is good enough to compete with the best in her field. “I have to have the takeaway be that I have really good form and move on to the next race,” she told Sinlgetrack.com.
As a member of the US Olympic team, her focus now is on building form for London. The past weekends have confirmed that her training is on track and her trajectory will continue to build from here. She acknowledged that there is no telling where the other women she will be competing against in London are in their training, but knows that she’s on her ideal track.
“I’m confident that my fitness is good and I’m hoping that over the next few weeks I can continue to build and get enough faster and that I have plenty of time (in the Olympic race) to stop and change a flat and massage out my leg cramps.” she joked.
In response to the frequent criticisms of her teammate, Pendrel, who now twice took the win after Gould suffered mishaps, she says her Luna teammate did the right thing.
“I think it ended for me in the best way possible in that situation. I don’t want someone else deciding that I win the race. I want it to be me winning the race.
“Some people are thinking, ‘her teammate should have sat up’ but that did not occur to me. If anything I would have been like, ‘no!’ … That’s not how I want to win. Just race your bike.”
With the Olympics not far in the future, Gould has and her compatriots have set the bar high and shown that they deserve a step on the Olympic podium. We can certainly anticipate great things from her at cross country nationals, especially if her luck turns around.
As for the other North Americans who showed good form on their home soil, don’t give too much credit to the home court advantage. “I think this marks the beginning of good things for a lot of North American racers,” said Gould.
Emily spent her infancy in the back of a women’s team van while the team built wheels around her. She spent part of her pre-teen years in Europe following the major European mountain, road and gravity races and touring cycling product factories. College was the first time she lived in a home without a frame building shop in her garage or basement. Her favorite style of riding is getting lost in singletrack trail networks and taking her time finding her way back.