Georgia Gould and Stacey Barbossa: The Lost Crosshairs Radio Episode

[Editor’s note: Friend of the site and Crosshairs Radio, Sean Runnette, chatted with Georgia Gould and Stacey Barbossa a few months ago about cyclocross nationals. It was meant to be an episode of Crosshairs Radio, but audio issues threw a wrench in that plan. Going above and beyond, Sean transcribed the podcast so that we can now present it in print form. It’s a great conversation, and one I’m happy has been preserved. Thanks for listening reading.]

The rolling thunderstorms, deep dish wheels and conversations about enduro mean CX is far from folks’ minds, but it wasn’t too many months ago that Stacey Barbossa was fighting for a Masters National Championship in the shadow of The Biltmore in NC. With two 3rds and a 2nd place at CX Nationals since 2012, she’d had enough rehearsal. After a cautious first lap, on the second she found her groove and seemed to be riding into gold.

Serendipitously, Georgia Gould was commentating. From her perch at the finish line, the Luna Chix pro was able to bring the perspective of an Olympic medallist, five-time US MTB champion, two-time USGP CX Cup winner and keen observer of the human condition to what, for Stacey, would become a very, very tough day.
The two of them were kind enough to spend some time talking about the race, and how to move forward after things go pear-shaped. My contribution was to promote literacy in bike-racing commentary by screwing up the audio.

~Sean Runnette

Sean: Georgia, Stacey. Stacey, Georgia, the reason I brought you all here today is that you both shared a fairly traumatic/magical moment at nationals this year. Last year’s nationals this year. I was wondering if you two wouldn’t mind maybe taking us through that?

Georgia: Yeah, I would love to hear- Because I didn’t really see very much, just you charging by the start/finish straight, which was extremely technical uphill pavement. Just to hear, from your side of it,- I guess first you should probably just go into a brief thing of how your season was going up until nationals. Bring us up to speed, because I’d never met you before nationals. Then, how that impacted your expectations heading into the race.

Georgia Gould
Georgia Gould

Stacey: I had arguably one of my best seasons to date in terms of not only results, but in terms of how I felt that I’d performed. Especially the bigger races where there’s no way I could possibly win. Getting a top ten at some of the big UCI races in New England was huge, and I was able to pull that off a couple of times. I’m not going to lie that I went in feeling like I’m there to win, and I’m there to take down anybody there that’s in front of me, because there’s no old bag that’s 50 plus that is going to be better than me.

Georgia: Famous last words.

Stacey: The one old bag that I though could possibly really give me a run for my money was Laura Van Gilder. She decided not to show up. That was pretty good for me. Yeah, I’m not going to lie. I went in planning to win, and feeling like I was prepared to win, and knowing that the defending champ was in the race, but I knew that I was ready. It was a great technical course. Something that, as a mountain biker, got on the course, and I said, “Oh, this is awesome. This is awesome.” Especially after going around a few times, I said, “Wow, this is it. Nice weather, good temperature. A little bit of mud. This is it. This is it.” I told that line thinking that this is the day. This is going to be-

Georgia: Right.

Stacey: Yeah. Everything was falling into place.

Georgia: Take us through the first part of the race then.

Stacey: At my typical less than fabulous start, and I was 4th, headed up the pavement, which was actually pretty good for me. I was in 4th as we made the first turn onto the grass. Then I quickly passed the girl, so I was 3rd. Then we headed into that little woop-di-woo, which I know you all know, that off-camber, sort of double grass woop-di-woo.

Georgia: I’m familiar with the woop-di-woo.

Stacey: I just knew something was going to happen. I backed off and gave the girls in front of me space. Sure enough, the 2nd place girl did a total wipe-out, and did a yard sale. I was back far enough that I didn’t get caught up in her mess. Then I was in 2nd, and Karen Brems was in front, who I-

Georgia: Was this on the first downhill after the pavement?

Stacey: Yep.

Georgia: The very, very beginning?

Stacey: Yep. Very, very beginning. I was in 2nd. I pretty much chase Karen from that point. I could see her, and I was gaining on her. Then, by the time we headed up to the climb, the bonk breaker climb, I was right on her butt. I was thinking, “Oh. I got to find a place to pass. This is where I’m going to pass.” It’s just too tight, and it’s too steep, and there’s really no place to pass there. I just sat behind, and sort of waited. It was the first lap. We had plenty of time.

Georgia: Right.

Stacey: Then, when we came over that little hump at the top of the bonk breaker, there was that little hump. I tried to get around her there, and she was having no part of it. I just said, “Okay, okay. You go. Let’s be safe. Let’s not take each other out because we have a big lead. Let’s be safe.” I just kind of followed her as we headed along Cemetery Hill on the off-camber. We took the same line, because as you know there are multiple lines to choose. At one point she decided to veer off from my preferred line, so I went down towards the fence. She went straight, and then, just as I was trying to get past her, somehow we just tangled. We got caught up. I went down into the fence on my back. I was like, “What the heck? What the heck was that?”

Georgia: Right.

Stacey: In retrospect, I guess my derailleur must’ve been bent at that point. I guess. That’s the only thing that makes sense. I got back on and I chased like a maniac as hard as I could. Then, when we headed into that- I think it was called the Kask climb, that run-up. I was able to jump off, and I flew by her, then just motored away at max effort tying to get a huge gap on her as much as I could. It was great. It was awesome feeling like, “Wow, this is great.” I’m feeling good. Everything’s great. I came through the barn. I saw a local guy screaming, “Ah, Stacey. You got it!”

Stacey Barbossa
Stacey Barbossa

It all went a little down hill as I went to the heckle hill, and shifted into my easiest gear to try and ride up. It just ripped off. The derailleur just ripped off. It completely- Gone. I think the people on the hill didn’t immediately realize it, because they were yelling, “It’s okay. Get to the top and put it back on. It’s okay.”

Georgia: Right.

Stacey: I saw it as I was running up, but-

Georgia: Maybe they were just really optimistic.

Sean: Or welders.

Stacey: Yeah, exactly. I’m like, “It’s not okay.”

Georgia: What’s going through your mind at that point? This is always interesting to me to see how people handle something like that. That’s a pretty huge- Something you can’t really plan for, that’s not your fault, that’s just bad luck. At a time like that, where everything’s going well, and everything’s just- Your perfect day, and you’re feeling great, and the course is right for you, and then boom. What’s going through your mind then?

Stacey: I don’t know why this came into my mind, but the first thing was I just wanted to rip off my kit, and go running naked down the hill.

Sean: If you’ve got to have a plan B, that’s a good one.

Stacey: I just felt like, “Oh my good God.” I can’t even believe that happened, and I just wanted to free myself of- I just wanted to rip my clothes off, and just run down the hill because I didn’t know what to do. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t throw my bike. I don’t know. Ripping off my clothes just came to mind. I’ve never done it before, but-

Georgia: Instead of doing that, what course of action did you settle on?

Stacey: I tried to rip the derailleur off at the top to try and get it free, because I knew it was all downhill from there, or mostly downhill. I can’t even believe I was actually thinking somewhat clearly that, just be able to coast. If I could just coast from there, I might be kind of okay because it was so downhill. I couldn’t get it out, and then people were like, “Oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh.” I said, “Well, I can’t rip off my clothes, so I might as well just run to the pit.” I just remember running, and I remember I was running for awhile, and I said, “Where are they?” Like, “Where are they? How far back were they that they still haven’t caught me?” Then they starting catching me. Then I lost it, and started to get pretty emotional as I saw, especially, other people on the course who were cheering for me two minutes before, and now were just crying with me.

Georgia: Yeah, yeah.

Stacey: Yeah, it was pretty bad.

Georgia: So you make it to the tech zone, right? You get a new bike.

Stacey: Yes.

Georgia: What are you thinking then?

Stacey: I’m thinking, “I came here to win.” I think I was in 18th. “I came here to win. I didn’t come here to come in 2nd or 3rd, or whatever.” I jumped on the bike, and I said, “Oh. Oh.” My knee was hurting me. I must’ve hit it. I limped out of the pit sort of, and then I just said, “I didn’t come all this way, and I didn’t put in all the time and effort, and all the missed parties, and all the missed [inaudible 00:09:38] with my friends, to just ride a lap and a half and sit in the pit and cry. I’m going to at least have fun. It’s a great course. Let me just go and beat the crap out of myself, and go as hard as I can, and track down as many girls as I can.”

I just endeavored to catch every single girl that was ahead of me, and had as fun as much as I could while I was doing it. Just ride as fast as I could with nothing to lose. I have a smile on my face as much as I could, and just had fun. That’s pass, pass, pass, pass, pass.

Georgia: You definitely had to switch something on there, from poor me. I’ve been there. It’s like, “Why me? Why today? Why now? This is sad. Now it’s all over. Blah blah blah.” Then, going from that to, “I did not come here to dick around, do one lap, fall in a thing, and then that’s it. Really? No.” I think that’s such an interesting thing, about how some people would of just, “Oh man, there’s no way I’m going to win now, so I’m just going to drop out.”

Stacey: That was my thought, as I said, but that’s not my story. That’s not who I am. We’ve all had tons of things happen, fall on your head at the start line and all kinds of craziness, but I pride myself on being an animal and fighting. Being a pit bull and fighting to the finish, and just giving it every single bit that I have whether I’m in 25th place at Gloucester, or whether I’m in 1st place at a stupid New Jersey race.

Georgia: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a- I’m the same way. I know there are people, though, that they’d rather drop out than finish last. They’ll say that. To me, that’s super disrespectful of everyone else that races because if only the people that thought they were going to win, or had a legit shot at winning, showed up to a race, it would be like four people most of the time. I’ve been the dead last person. For me, I’d way rather, and it sounds like for you too, I’d way rather finish dead last than drop out and give up.

Stacey: Yeah, absolutely. Without a doubt. I’d rather race my butt off. I don’t care if I flatted, my derailleur ripped off, my shorts ripped open. I’m going to finish that race anyway possible, and just give it 100%. I finished 7th, and wow.

Georgia: Are you proud of your race at nationals?

Stacey: Yeah. I raced as good a race as I could have on my B bike, and considering what happened, yeah. You know what? Yeah, I am proud of it. I put in a super good effort, and I rode a really hard race. I didn’t give up. I’m proud of myself. I’m not going to lie. I would’ve been much more fulfilled if I had the stars and stripes jersey, but it’s all about the effort. I’m sure you’re the same way, that as long as you put in your best possible effort, it doesn’t really matter where you finish.

Georgia: It’s hard though, I think, to separate that out for a lot of people. When you’ve had a race like you had, and you can still recognize, “Hey, all the things that were in my control, I did the best I could with that.” Sometimes you get some bum luck or whatever, but to be able to separate out the race that you raced from the actual result is something I think that’s a really awesome quality for a racer to have. You should be proud of yourself. That’s a super frustrating thing to happen really early in a race. I think you get stronger from that. That’s a pretty major setback to have in a race so early on, and to know that you’re a fighter like that, I think that makes you way stronger, and heading into next year for sure fuels the fire a little bit I think.

Sean: At the end of the race, what is going through your head then? How does that transition into what’s coming for the next year? That’s a huge hurdle. Getting over the race is one thing, and that’s very immediate. It’s a punch in the face immediacy. Then you’re looking down the barrel at 365 more days. Does how you finish that race change the way you go into those days?

Georgia: She’s like, “Oh actually, now that you brought it up, this is going to be a miserable year.”

Sean: Wow.

Stacey: 365 more days.

Sean: I’m going to throw that 3×5 card away. It’s gone.

Georgia: I’m sorry, but you should definitely- I want to hear the answer, too. You seem to have come away from this. Yeah, you’re frustrated. Yeah, you’re disappointed, but overall with a pretty positive outlook because I think you know that your fitness was there. Your handling was there. Your give a shit was there. Your beast mode was there. The only thing was some bad luck. What’s the takeaway there?

Stacey: Immediately, I really wanted to do over. I wanted a death match. Like, “Come on, let’s go. One lap, do or die.” Yeah, so they wouldn’t go for that. I think it’s difficult to deal with it. Obviously it’s devastating in my athletic life, outside of my real life, for that to happen. I think it was really hard on my friends, too, and my family, and my coach, and my teammates. Because here I have this whole awesome community of people sending me a million messages of good luck. Then sending me just as many messages that they were just as broken, as upset. Just so, so much support.

I felt so bad for them that I couldn’t give our New Jersey contingent, our mid-Atlantic contingent, our little elite endurance training team contingent- I couldn’t give them a national championship. I wasn’t just riding for me. I was riding for them, too. I think I was more- I was hurt for me, don’t get me wrong, but I was really upset for them, and to see how upset they were. To see Sean at the finish upset. I was crying on his- Well, on his hip because I can’t reach it.

Sean: Thankfully I was wearing an adult diaper, so it was absorbent.

Georgia: Something very absorbent.

Stacey: Crossing the finish line, they’re crying, and I’m crying, and everyone’s crying. I felt bad that I couldn’t give them what they were hoping from me. That was tough.

Sean: Which is hysterical as a spectator. The only thing in anybody else’s mind is what you’re feeling.

Georgia: Right. I was just going to say the same thing. I’ve been there and I’ve felt the same wanting to do well because you know other people want you to do so well. I think also all those people that truly care about you, they don’t care if you get 25th at nationals, or win nationals, or whatever. They care about you because of who you are, and the kind of person that you are. I think it’s hard to, obviously when you’re disappointed, but to remember that that’s what those people are really thinking. Think about if it was someone else and you were on the side of the course. You wouldn’t be like, “Man, I can’t believe she ripped her derailleur. What a letdown. She should’ve take better care of her bike when it crashed on top of her head.”

Stacey: Georgia, do you think it’s harder, or easier, or the same to suffer such a devastating mechanical on the first lap, or 500 meters from the finish at a World Cup race? You tell me. How did you feel, and what were you thinking? Is it worse or better to be like, “Oh, now my race is over on the first lap,” or, “Oh wow, I have 500 meters to go. Wow.”

Georgia: Yeah. I don’t think one is- Is it worse, or is it a lot worse? I don’t think any one is better than the other. I’ve certainly had a right off the start line mechanical too, where, “Oh, I’m running a whole half a lap from the start line.” I definitely sympathize with your- When I was finishing the race in Wyndham and all the people at the finish line is all my family. A bunch of family was there, and friends. I was all weepy and sad. I looked around and everyone had the same expression that I had. It was like looking in a mirror kind of. Sort of what you said you saw with your friends. Hugely disappointing.

Interestingly, and yes of course immediately it’s pretty emotional, but coming away from that it’s like, “I can win a World Cup.” I pretty much won a World Cup. I have the fitness. I have the skills. I got a flat tire, and I still almost won. To me, heading into being able to say, “Okay. All the things that I had control over, I did well. Going into the Olympics, I have a shot at a medal at the Olympics.” Interestingly, people will come up to me and say, “How did you even keep going on after Wyndham? Didn’t you just want to quit?” I was like, “Are you kidding me? I almost won.” It was just a little bad luck. I guess a big bad luck, whatever, but for me it was, “Hey, all the pieces are there. Yeah it was disappointing, but I’m there.”

I think some people just don’t see it the same way. They’re like, “Why even go on? You failed at the race. You didn’t win.” Instead of, “Yeah, technically I didn’t win, but I sort of did.” Like you were saying, in your race you did the best that you could with what you had. A win was definitely possible. A lot of people think, even now, they’ll say, “I was in Wyndham. Oh, sorry if that was a bad memory.” Are you kidding me? It was a great memory. I almost won a World Cup that day.

Sean: That’s awesome.

Georgia: It was disappointing, and it was emotional. I’m still sad that I didn’t win, but the feeling that I felt for 95% of that race, when I was like, “I’m winning a World Cup. Everyone’s cheering for me. Everyone’s behind me. The whole crowd’s behind me. I feel amazing.” I remember that feeling. That’s what I still draw on, as my World Cup results since then have been not that stellar. I tried to put myself back into how it felt to be really fast and dropping everyone. I tried to take away- I think you know. You probably feel the same way, but the longer that you race, the more bad luck, and bad results, and crappy races, all different various reasons you’re going to have, just law of probabilities.

If you’re truly only in it for the glory of winning a race, you’re just not going to last very long, I don’t think. I think that there’s something about, like you said, battling and being in beast mode. There’s something about that challenge, because you don’t know how it’s going to pan out. You’ve got to be willing to do no matter what, whatever position you’re in. That’s what attracts the people that stay in racing, and are true champions to the sport. Sorry, that was a little bit of a-

Sean: No, no. As jeremiads go, that was a pretty fine one. Have there ever been moments when you’ve just said, “No. You know what? Fuck it. I’m done.” Like, “I am going to get that coffee. I’m going to step through the tape.”

Georgia: Yes. Actually, I had- After 2012, I had a pretty crappy 2013 season. At the end of that season, I was just pretty beaten down physically, mentally. It was pretty sad. I trained really hard. I was really just training out of desperation to get back to the top, and back to the old me. I came out through the first race, and I had told my coach, “Okay, I need the confidence of winning a race. I want to be fast in March. I don’t care if I suck in July. I need to come out and be fast.” I did more intervals than I’ve ever done, and I came to the first race thinking cautiously to myself, like, “I might win this by five minutes. I mean, I’m pretty good right now.”

Sean: That is the height of caution right there.

Georgia: Yeah. I didn’t tell anyone else that. I was thinking to myself like, “You know, it’s possible I could win by a couple minutes.” I was never even at the front of the race. I finished 4th or something, but I was never battling for the win. That was like, “Wait, what? This is not what I planned for. This isn’t what I expected.” I went to the next race, which was actually in Bonelli and it was hot. I was doing even worse in the race. I felt bad. I was hot. I was just miserable in the race. I just thought, “You know, I have worked too hard for this to suck this much. For this to be this painful. I’m so miserable.” Then, I’m like, “Oh, she’s passing me? Oh that girl, really?” I was the person that I can’t even stand.

I was so embarrassed with myself. I totally gave up. Aside from actually quitting the race, I quit the race. I was just riding around, just like, “Until I get to the finish, like, whatever.” I was so embarrassed that I acted like that. No one knew. No one was like- Because this is just going on in my head. I just thought, “You know what? Maybe it’s just time for me to stop. This isn’t fun anymore. I’m not enjoying it. I’m trying really hard and it’s going worse and worse, so maybe I need to stop forcing it and just stop. Do something else.”

I finished the race, and I came back to the Luna trailer, and my husband, who’s one of the mechanics, and the team manager were standing there. I was like, “That’s it. I’m done. I’m retired, not doing this anymore.” The manager just turned around and walked away like, “I’ll just let you hang out a little bit, and we’ll just talk later.” My brother called me. He had watched the race online. My brother was in the Special Forces. He did two tours in Afghanistan, and a tour in Iraq. He knows a little bit about being in the shit.

Sean: Yeah.

Georgia: He’s like, “How was your race?” I’m like, “It was really bad. Bike racing is hard.” Of course he didn’t say, “Oh my gosh, you are a spoiled brat. I disown you.” Which was perfectly valid, would’ve been a valid response. Oh, and then, “I think I’m just going to retire. I’m working too hard, and this is just not panning out, and it’s not working. It’s not happening for me anymore.” And, “This girl passed me, and this girl. Do you even believe it?” He said, “Yeah they want to beat you. Are you kidding? Yeah. Everyone in the race wants to beat you. You got a medal at the Olympics. You’re just over there racing out of fear, and that’s your ego. You need to get rid of that, because yeah, hate break it to you, everyone all the time wants to beat you.”

Sean: Wow.

Georgia: He said, “You know, you have this big shit pile, and you need to take your big shit pile and make it into little shit piles, and square your shit away.” I was like, “Well, this isn’t really the motivational speech that I was,”- Like the nice, kind, like “Well you’ve worked hard enough. Enjoy your retirement,” that I was expecting. He was just like, “You know, you got to just suck it up. You’re a professional. You need to just do your job. Stop worrying so much about who’s beating you, or what the- Just do your job. Do what you know how to do, race your bike.” He said, “When is your next race?” “Well, I have a short track tomorrow.” “Well, just go out there, race your bike, and who cares who beats you, or how you do, or whatever. Just do your job.”

I came out of retirement the next morning for the short track race, and I really did just sort of let go of, “Oh, what are people going to think if that girl beats me?” Or, “What are people going to think if I get 7th? Because I should be definitely be getting 1st, because I’m Georgia Gould. I got a medal in the Olympics.” Just all this crap that was rattling around in my head, and just got rid of it, or did the best I could to, and just went out and raced. I had a much better race. Most importantly, I realized I’ve got to not- I was so sad and panicked and whatever after my 2013 season that I put everything on the next race. Like, “This race I have to get back to myself.” Instead of realizing it’s going to be a process, a slow process probably. I can’t have these expectations. That’s the worst is when you have an idea about how something should be.

Sean: That’s the hardest thing. It seems like you’ve got to reinvent yourself almost every single season, because goals change.

Georgia: Sure.

Sean: Your body changes.

Georgia: You change.

Sean: Your brain changes.

Georgia: Your body changes. The training that used to work for you doesn’t work anymore.

Sean: Right.

Georgia: The thing that was so frustrating for me for a few seasons was all my numbers were good. I had good training, and I felt good. I’d get into the races, and I would feel horrible. It wasn’t a mental- It was a mental thing, but it wasn’t like when people say, “Oh, it’s a mental issue.” That implies that it’s easy to solve.

Sean: Right.

Georgia: I would get into some of the Worlds Cups, and I literally would feel in the first 30 seconds, I would think, “I am not sure I can physically ride this course six times. I might have to walk or something.”

Sean: Wow.

Georgia: It would feel that hard to me, that just finishing those races, to me, it was all I could do to not give up. Do you know what I mean?

Sean: Yeah.

Georgia: All the stuff that used to work isn’t working. My coach would be like, “You should get your blood work done.” I’d be like, “Please be anemic. Oh please, say something’s wrong with my blood.” They’d be like, “You’re perfectly healthy.”

Sean: Come on, anemia.

Georgia: Damn it. I know.

Sean: Hey, if you were anemic, you could’ve been royalty. There would’ve been a lot of perks to that.

Georgia: Really, what I realized is what I need to do is do everything that I can that is in my control to prepare myself the best that I can for success. In my training, taking my hard days seriously, taking my recovery seriously, doing everything that I know how to do to put myself in the best position to have successful races. There are so many things that are out of your control. That was sort of a change in my mentality going into 2015. I came out to the first race, and I didn’t have the panic and the anxiety about, “How am I going to do?” Because I was enjoying my training, and I knew that I was preparing well. I thought to myself, “Well, I mean obviously yeah, you want to win the race. I do want to win, but at the end of the day I know I’m faster. I know I’ve been doing this hard work. If I don’t win, I couldn’t have done anything else.”

Sean: Right.

Georgia: “I’ve got to be happy with that.” I was so much more calm, or more centered going into it. I was in the lead group of three, and I crashed on the last lap, and ended up getting 3rd. I was with the other two up until I took myself out. For me, it was like, “Whoa. Okay. I’m back to the front of the race.” That in and of itself was just a victory even though I didn’t win any- Oh, I won the short track the next day. I haven’t won a cross country race since then. I feel like I’ve made such a big improvement that way, in terms of not being like I should be doing. I should feel like this, or the race should go like this, because I think that’s when things break down. As soon as you have an expectation about how it’s going to go, anything that happens that conflicts with that can send you into a tailspin.

Sean: You and Stacey both are very heart on the sleeve racers, and I think that’s why, as horrible as it was at Asheville, that’s why that race was so freaking compelling.

Georgia: That’s what makes racing, as much as it sucks when you’re the person that’s making it exciting like that- It was the same thing at Wyndham. Have you ever seen ever a race where two teammates are sprinting for the win of a World Cup while the third teammate is running in the background?

Sean: Yeah.

Georgia: That was a super crazy, exciting, “What just happened? How do we all process this?” I think that’s why racing is so exciting, and that’s why we all toe the line because you don’t know if you’re going to be the person that gets dealt the flat tire, or the derailleur ripped off, or the whatever it is.

Sean: But it’s going to happen to someone.

Georgia: Right, but that’s the thing. It could happen to someone. It could be you, or could be something else. It’s the unknown part of it that makes it and keeps it exciting.

Sean: You got that Stacey?

Stacey: How did you feel when your teammate then took the victory? That’s got to be unbelievably- If my teammate won and beat me, I’d be happy for her. Devastated for me, but happy for her. How was that for you to deal with that in that particular situation? When your teammate was actually the one to take the win?

Georgia: Sure. It’s funny, because people definitely have very polarizing opinions about what should’ve, could’ve, would’ve sort of thing. Because definitely she sat up and was like, “Oh God, what do I do?” I’m glad- Not glad, but I think it turned out the best way that it could have because I don’t want someone letting me win a race. I don’t want an asterisks next to my first World Cup win that says, “Because her teammate let her.”

Sean: Right.

Georgia: I don’t really see it as that much different of if it was my teammate or not. It’s just the way the race goes. You catch someone right near the end, like, “Sorry you had a flat tire, but still a race.” I think that’s the best way to respect the race, is everyone race their hardest the whole time. That’s why there’s a really awesome finish line photo of that, of my two teammates. Both of them out of this addled sprint finish, because at the end of the day you want to win the World Cup.

Sean: Right.

Georgia: It’s not like, “That was a great way for that race to go.”

Sean: The plan worked.

Georgia: Yeah, I think that it was- Yeah, like you said, our team got 1, 2, 3 in that race. That was a pretty good result for the team.

Sean: Maybe not for the team bus.

Georgia: The ride home was a little bit awkward.

Sean: I could imagine. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s a bike race. There’s a lot of points on offer there.

Georgia: Yeah. I think it’s sort of, “What are you going to do, walk your bike too? You’re going to ride slowly as I run ahead of you and then we’re all going- How is that really going to play out? Not really.” I think, as much as it sounds weird, that really it was like a respectful thing to do for me, to just be like, “Hey, it’s the race. We’re just racing. It’s not personal.” Instead of like, “Oh, here go ahead.” Then, what do they do? Which one of them gets 2nd? As much as it was awkward the way it panned out, I think it was the least awkward way. Then it’s like a teachable moment or something, but when in the world will that ever happen again?

Sean: Right. If that’s a teachable moment, I don’t want to go to that school.

Georgia: Yeah, exactly.

Sean: That’s not-

Georgia: No, but that’s the thing that’s so crazy, too, about racing, is every once in a while you have a race like that where it’s like, “Well, that was crazy.” Unfortunately, I was the one that kind of had to be the making it exciting for that race. I take away all the positives out of that race instead of dwelling on the stuff that I didn’t have control over.

Sean: It seems like both of you have really taken the positives from these two horrible experiences.

Georgia: Yeah, no. I agree with you. I think, too, that those as sort of no one wants to have bad luck. No one wants to have frustration and disappointment, but that is part of what keeps you, for me at least, and I would hope for Stacey too, or you, that that’s what keeps you chasing the day that it all works out. The chasing the day when you get to cash in the chips that you have, and your good karma pays off. I think that’s why it’s important to realize, “You know what? I’m just logging the suck races, because sooner or later they’re going to be good.”

Sean: Right.

Georgia: For Stacey, for you for sure next year- It’s fuel for the fire. You come out and you’re like, “All right, it’s on. I’m ready to battle again, and be even more motivated, and even more excited to be on the line again.”

Sean: I don’t know if that’s possible. She might actually burst into flame.

Stacey: I’ll burst right on the line.

Sean: Yeah.

Georgia: Once again, something that will never happen again. [inaudible 00:42:03]. The first time someone spontaneously combusted on the starting line.

Sean: It’s going to be one of you two. All right. On that happy note, you’ve got pact, don’t you? You’ve got a date with Bonelli again, those long, grinding climbs?

Georgia: Yep. I know. I’m excited to race this weekend. It’s always fun-

Sean: Thank you so much for hanging out. Oh my God, congratulations on that- What was that, 2nd place at Asheville? That was a good race too.

Georgia: Thank you.

Sean: I just remembered. Also, just killing the announcing.

Georgia: Oh, thank you It was really a cool- When they offered me the, you know, they said, “Hey, would you be interested?” It’s like, “Of course. That’s so cool.” And have all the women’s racing on one day, and yeah. Hopefully they ask me again. I would love to do it again.

Sean: They’d be idiots not to.

Stacey: I just want to say Sean and Georgia, I’m totally embarrassed and humbled to have this conversation for my silly 50-54 year old woman age group, to be someone [inaudible 00:43:27] a World Cup race. Besides that, your announcing, for so many of us, it was one of the highlights of Asheville. I heard so many girls say, “Oh my God, it was so cool. Georgia Gould said my name!” Or, “I got a shout out from Georgia Gould.” Or, “I got a picture of her.” It was so incredible for everyone that was there for you to participate in the- I mean, you were all over, the relay race, the announcing, the women’s reception. You were just so available that we all really, really appreciated it. It really made a fantastic experience so much better just having you there. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Georgia: Oh, thank you. I really appreciate that. That means a lot.

Sean: Well, my work is done.

Georgia: I will be looking forward to seeing you both at the, hopefully next year at- Where are we going next year?

Stacey: Hartford.

Sean: Hartford. Hartford, yes

Georgia: I’m one season at a time here. I switched over completely to fat tire.

Sean: Square your shit away incrementally. Deal with your next little pile of shit.

Georgia: My next little pile.

Stacey: Best of luck. We’re all rooting for you.

Sean: Yeah, we’ll see you a couple thousand piles of shit down the road.

Stacey: Yeah.

Sean: Really, best of luck at Bonelli.

Georgia: We’ll have to do volume 2 after this year.

Sean: There you go. Kick ass. These next 3 are important, right?

Georgia: Yes.

Sean: All right. Go get them.

Georgia: All right, thanks guys.

Stacey: Thank you.

Sean: Right on. Thank you, Georgia.

Georgia: Bye bye.

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