Leah Goldstein in Redlands
ValueAct’s Leah Goldstein is no stranger to the art of defending the leader’s jersey. After grabbing the leader’s jersey in the TT, stage 4 in last year’s Mt Hood Cycling Classic, she almost singlehandedly – with only one teammate – survived the onslaught thrown at her from the Aaron’s team to take the top step in the overall classification. For the third time. In a row.
“I just dug deep, and with a little bit of luck and then at the end with 5 k to go, she just launched and I had nothing left, I would stand on my bike and I think I would almost fall off. I just had a little spin, put my head down and pray to God that I wasn’t going to pass out before the finish line.” said an exhausted Goldstein after crossing the finish in Stage 5, Mt Hood 2007 and successfully defending her jersey.
Goldstein is no stranger to pain either. The current Israeli national road race and time trial champion was the 1989 World Bantamweight kickboxing champion at the age of 17. Then Goldstein joined the Israeli Military and moved on as an Instructor for the Police Academy.
“I was an officer in the Army, and then I worked for the Academy and I have some connections there and I do some personal training for commandos and officers that need to get back into shape. I’m too old to serve, I’m considered old now.” Goldstein continued when I asked her about her current status with the army.
Goldstein had a horrible crash in a high speed descent on Stage 2 of the 2005 Cascade Classic, breaking 17 bones and had to stay 2 months in the trauma unit, and endure face reconstruction. Less than nine months after the accident, the astounding Goldstein returned to racing. But the accident has left scars, physically and mentally.
“I still have a fear, and these girls know that I have fear of descending, I’m very careful, I have to play safe, I am very selective with what I race, I don’t do crits. I can’t sprint, my mum can beat me in a sprint for godsake.” explained Goldstein (in 2007) about her fear after the crash.
New to the ValueAct team this year, Goldstein is the current leader (with a 33 seconds lead) in the Pro Women’s race after 2 stages in the Tour of the Gila, a race known for its climbing and scary descents. One tough broad.