KRISTIANNA "KRISTY" GOUGH, age 30, resident of San Leandro, CA, about 20 miles east of San Francisco, was a pretty, petite, unmarried female who was born on November 19, 1977 and passed away unexpectedly on March 9, 2008, when several cyclists were hit about 10:25 am by James Council, a rookie sheriff's deputy from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. He was on patrol at the time with only 18 months experience. He was patrolling on the winding Cupertino Road when his white cruiser crossed over the double yellow center line and veered into the opposite lane and struck the three leading cyclists. It is speculated in one of the later papers, that the deputy had fallen asleep at the wheel. This stretch of road is frequently used by cyclists, with a large bicycle lane that is considered safe for training that the club uses regularly. Kristy died several hours later at Stanford University Medical Center. It has been reported that Kristy died of head injuries, internal bleeding and also suffered a severed leg with other gruesome major injuries. Another of her teammates was pronounced dead at the scene, a third teammate was admitted to the hospital with "major injuries". The California Highway Patrol is conducting an investigation and Officer Todd Tuibodeau advised, "We are asking people to avoid speculation and we are avoiding speculating"; he added that the CHP inquiry could take 30 days. (Three teams of reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle contribute to this abridged, amended report as did the Mercury News of San Jose.) My other comments: James' father is also a sheriff's deputy, his son James was convicted in 2001 for engaging in a speed contest on a highway. He received 24 months of court probation. The sheriff's patrol car was facing the wrong way on the wrong side of the road after slamming into the three riding partners. The deputy was walking around in a daze, pacing back and forth along the roadway, telling witnesses that he had fallen asleep. Another deputy was taking James Council to her squad car and two witnesses stated, "She said, `don't talk to those people' then put her arm around him and took him to the car," and presumed out of the area before an investigation had begun. In the intervening time, my granddaughter stopped breathing so many times, said teammate, Brasse who was working with Kristy, to keep her alive until the helicopter could take Kristy to the Stanford Medical Center, where she died. No testing was reported on the deputy at the scene. Kristy Gough grew up in San Leandro, had been a swimmer and ran cross country at the Madeira School, an excellent boarding school in Virginia. Kristy's outlook on life was shaped in part by a childhood that included divorced parents and a lot of moving around. She was the youngest of four children. In college she became passionate for the triathlons. As an amateur tri-athlete (swimming in the ocean 2.4 miles, then cycling 112 miles and jumping off to run a 26.2 mile marathon), Kristy won in her age group, 25-29, in the 2004 Woman's Ironman World Championship in Hawaii; that is the biggest event you can win as an amateur. After turning professional, she used her athletic abilities worldwide. Friends describe Kristy as quiet and introspective, even a bit tough on herself, but full of warmth. She had a wicked sense of humor that she shared with those who got to know her. When Kristy began training, Tanya Grossman, a long time friend, said, "She was just this young girl (when she started) who was very fast and kicked everyone's butt and the guys didn't like it; she was faster than most of them." Then choking up, she added, "She has grown into a woman with depth." One of the many male friends, Bjorling, said, "When I met her, she already knew what was important in life, take it day by day." He also said, "Don't spend too much energy on details, but try to see the big picture. As we see today, life can change in a second." The Oakland Tribune also did a story on this tragedy and the headline reads, "Oakland cyclist killed Sunday was a world champion athlete" with 15 plus pages of worldwide guest book remembrances; such as, "Whenever I have a hard day racing or training, I imagine her (Kristy) down the road looking back for us saying `C'mon boy, let's go, let's go"' from New Zealand, "Her character was like no one else, always giving her best on the day and nothing less. She was a wonderful person and will not be forgotten." "She gave everything always to her expression of physical power, form and beautymy life was enriched having known her." California. "When you swan in the cold lakes of Tansen, it was one of the moments, impossible to forget." Clas and Peter of Sweden. "Her talent and power were apparent to anyone lucky enough to ride in her shadow." USA. "There are a lot of Kristy stories circulating just nowmany of them incredible, but all of them are true." Teammate, San Francisco. Please see the Oakland Tribune at www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune. From her peers, reporters stated the following: What a talented athlete who excelled at cycling. "She was the strongest rider I ever rode with." A male teammate said, "Kristy Gough was a champion tri-athlete who had been training exclusively as bicyclist in recent months, winning just about every road race she entered." "I have never seen her so enthusiastic as in the last couple of months," said a Swedish tri-athlete champion, "She was so strong physically and mentally." She wanted to pursue the Ironman triathlons, but her trainers wanted her to try out for the Olympics and to the world championships for cycling"She was on her way to something great." "Our team pre-rode the course for Brisbane, practicing team tactics for several lapson the final lap, I'm the lead man, putting out tremendous effort and it completely buries me for the finishshe passes me and says, `Good pull!' Even though she was a true star on our team, she had a quiet way of making mediocre riders, like me, feel special and appreciated."-USA San Francisco. "The first time Laura met Kristy, Kristy's shopping cart was filled to the brim with the healthiest food I had ever seen. She was so petiteI couldn't imagine how she could possibly eat so much! I learned about her devotion to being a world class tri-athlete and I would swim at the Chabot, wishing I could emulate her grace in the water and feel half the energy she radiated. She was a strong, beautiful and inspirational woman." Kristy was preceded in death by her grandmother, Marion "Bunny" C. Gough. She is survived by her father, Rip C. Gough, formerly of Houston, TX; her mother, Karen Clarkson, et vir Bill Artz of CA; and her older siblings, Valient, Gabriel and Laurissa Gough; her uncle and aunt, Robert Gough and Phyllis Gough Harris; and Brooke Fatigante Lewis; cousins and grandfather, William B. Gough. Kristy's mother's side of the family includes Karen's mother, Zelda Clarkson and her brothers.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 16, 2008.