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Interview With Bikes for Boobs Racer Alison Mann

Posted by: Matt Williams |May 6, 2012 5:10 PM
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After a disappointing, injury plagued, 2011 season, Allison Mann is back to top form in 2012. Her win at round two of the Pro XCT Tour in Bonelli, CA confirmed than Mann will be a rider to watch the domestic circuit this season.

Mann recently checked in with MTBRacenews.com to talk about her new team, riding a 29er, her favorite new foods, and what it was like to win her first Pro XCT.

 


MTBRaceNews.com: First of all, congratulations on your big win at the 2nd Pro XCT in Bonelli. Was that race a big priority for you? What was your strategy going into the race?

Allison Mann: Since itís the only Pro XCT race in California, it was definitely on my schedule for the early season, but wasnít a race I prioritized.  With a slow start to this season I wasnít sure how my early races would go.  Though I had a really solid race the weekend before locally at the Rock Ní Road Cup Vail Lake, so felt confident that Iíd be okay to race at Bonelli.  Since I didnít race much last year, and many of the top international women were in South Africa for the World Cup, I wasnít sure who to expect to show up at Bonelli.  I didnít know about half the women on the call-up sheet, which was cool as it still had a lot of international competition, but I had no idea how itíd shake out. I was dead last call up, so I knew that morning it was all about getting from 20th up to top 3-5 on the start lap.  I managed to do that and knew if I could hang on itíd be a good race.

MTBRaceNews.com: How did it feel to win your first Pro XCT series race?

Allison Mann: It felt so awesome!  I knew I had a gap, but I kept pushing that last lap since many racers come on strong toward the end and I was making some small errors from being fatigued.  I was ecstatic as I came around on the grass that last lap and stoked to be high-fiving Tom from Team Big Bear as I crossed the line.  Completely opposite of my Bonelli weekend in 2011 Ė it had been quite a year to get to that place!

MTBRaceNews.com:What have you been up to since the race in Bonelli?

Allison Mann: Lots of training!  My coach had me skip some local races that I wouldíve liked to have been at in favor of putting in long hours on the bike.  I logged my biggest February and March ever, and finished off my last block of training feeling pretty good.

MTBRaceNews.com: Aside from the fact that you were injured last winter, has your training this year been different from years past?

Allison Mann: I actually have had a pretty slow start to the season, much different than in yearís past.  Last year my foot injury took me out of competition and training for basically 5 months, so I missed the entire race season and raced Nationals on a small base fitness and little else.  I spent a few months having fun and then used October through December to basically keep myself in a low volume/intensity holding pattern to get me through to January when I started base training.  My coachís idea was to keep my volume and intensity low enough in the months where itís colder and darker so as not to re-aggravate my foot.  Then it was all about ramping up base training January through March.  Itís much more similar I think to how people train in colder climates, but a much later start to base training than we typically do here in California.

MTBRaceNews.com:What are your big goals for 2012?

Allison Mann: Iíd really like to just have a solid season and feel like I have built on my 2010 race fitness and finishes.  Iím trying to figure out logistics to attend a few international races in Canada and the World Cup at Windham and hope to get some valuable big race experience there.  A good result at Nationals would be awesome as well.

MTBRaceNews.com:Can you tell us about your team this season, Bikes for Boobs, and the organization, Mammograms in Action, that youíre helping to support?

Allison Mann: Bikes for Boobs and Barbells for Boobs ® is a non-profit breast cancer organization that provides funding for low income and uninsured women and men who need screening and/or diagnostic procedures in the prevention of breast cancer.  The vision is to raise awareness of the incidence of breast cancer under the age of 40 and provide resources to those that otherwise wouldnít have it.  The commitment is to be a proactive voice in early detection, promoting self-checks and regular check-ups with health care professionals, and provide straightforward access to services for anyone in need.  The goal is to provide funding for breast cancer centers globally through the Mammograms in Action ® Grant Program as a "last resortĒ resource for thousands of people that donít qualify for government funding or other charitable resources.  Save a Pair.  Save a Life.

MTBRaceNews.com:Does the fact that a number of top domestic riders are focusing on the Olympics open up any opportunities for you this season?

Allison Mann: I think the top women in the US are still doing all of the big events.  Even with Sea Otter Classic losing its UCI status this year and going back to the big loop format, the Pro Womenís registration list still includes all of the big names.  Races like Whiskey Off-Road also are pulling women like Georgia Gould, so they are still very much racing here in the USA and are not only racing World Cups. The net effect is that it keeps the level of competition super high for US races even though the women on the Olympic long list are working hard to be competitive internationally.  So, Iíd say the opportunities remain about the same.

MTBRaceNews.com:Iím always impressed with the amazing looking food featured on your blog. Any good new recipes youíre willing to share?

Allison Mann: A friend of mine, Stephanie, that is an amazing chef, turned me on to two a few months ago: kabocha squash and what I have dubbed "paleo medleyĒ.  Kabocha squash is a Japanese squash that is similar to pumpkin that you can buy in most grocery stores.  Slice in half, remove the seeds, cut each half into about four slices, bake with EVOO [olive oil] and any seasoning (I really like McCormick Maple Smokehouse) until soft.  I eat the skin.  Paleo medley: take a head of broccoli, cut up in smaller crowns, put in a big pan with EVOO, sautee with your choice of mushrooms, onions, colored sweet peppers covered, with garlic and ginger seasoning.  Simultaneously I bake spaghetti squash.  Once done the spaghetti squash is removed from its skin with a fork and mixed in with the sautéed veggies leaving a nice "medleyĒ!  Since weíre mountain bikersÖtry a grilled steak with salt and pepper and a nice black IPA to go along with it.

MTBRaceNews.com:Working recovery into a training plan can be tricky sometimes. Is there anything special that you do in a recovery week, other than riding your bike less of course, given that you still have to wake up and go to work in the morning?

Allison Mann: Sadly, not really!  Iíd like to say I get caught up on stuff I donít normally have a chance to do, or sleep more, or do more yoga, but I probably just wind up wasting it working or running errands.  Basically itís just the usual Ė less volume and intensity. I do incorporate compression and ice into my recovery routine. I have been working some with a startup company, 110% Play Harder, that has a really sweet solution for getting both ice and compression to help with recovery.

MTBRaceNews.com:What bike will you be racing on this season? Do you get to pick your bike and components, or do sponsors largely dictate it?

Allison Mann: This year I went "bigĒ.  People had been asking me for 2 or so years if I was going to get on a 29er, and after having a crashing problem last fall, I finally demoíd the Specialized Stumpjumper 29er and Epic 29er.  I have never raced a strict hard tail, so was a bit hesitant at first, but as soon as I got my bike I knew I made the right decision going with the S-Works Stumpjumper 29 hard tail.  Itís been awesome.  I chose to go with the SRAM bike because itís what I am used to riding.  Iíve had SRAM on my mountain bike and road bike for a few years now and feel comfortable with it overall.  So, basically I do choose all my own components.  Iíve tried to cultivate relationships with companies whose products I use and love anyway, and while my sponsor list isnít huge, it helps that I believe in what I am using, have paid for if Iím not still, and would continue to do so.  Products like my Specialized bike from Rock N' Road Cyclery, Ergon grips, gloves, and packs; Oakley sunglasses;110% Play Harder recovery gear; Topeak tools; and Twin Six aprŤs wear of course.

MTBRaceNews.com:If you could do any race in the world you havenít done, which one would you go do and why?

Allison Mann: I havenít done all that many different races!  I have been fortunate though in that I have raced some really fantastic events like Downieville All Mountain Classic, or the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne.  Itís easy to think "OlympicsĒ or something huge, but Iíd like to consider a hundie at some point.  Iím doing Whiskey Off-Road this year which sounds like a hugely fun destination race.  Racing in Europe would be spectacular.  Even BC Bike Race looks totally fun and challenging.  But, letís just start with getting to race my first World Cup this year.  I hope to line up at Windham in June!  I think itíd be cool to get my first World Cup start at an event in the US.  Hopefully build from there.

 

 

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