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Rider Interview with Rock 'n Road rider Allison Mann

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |February 2, 2011 9:29 PM
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In 2010, Rock Ďn Road rider Allison Mann made her first of what is sure to be many trips to the mountain bike world championships. 

Despite being a relative newcomer to the sport Mann has made quick progress due to her natural talent and determination to excel. Now sheís gearing up for what is sure to be a successful 2011 campaign.

Allison was kind enough to share her thoughts on riding, racing, and fine beers with MTB Race News. Read her interview below.

MTB Race News: You picked up cycling relatively recently. What made you jump on a bike in the first place?

Allison Mann: My husband and I raced R/C cars as a hobby following college, and in 2005 I was ready to try something new. We both were leading a really unhealthy lifestyle where we ate fast food 2-3 meals a day, didnít exercise, and both of us were gaining weight.  I decided to start exercising that spring, but we never found anything we really both enjoyed. He had ridden bikes a bit in the early 90s, and for some reason we got into watching the Tour de France that year.  It was Lanceís 7th win, and I decided I wanted to try cycling. He had been hit a couple times road riding, so said we had to get mountain bikes and we did that August.  Weíve been riding ever since!

MTB Race News: When you first started racing you were doing both XC and DH races. What made you decide to pursue XC more seriously? 

Allison Mann: Iíve been asked that a few times, and mostly I donít know if there is an answer.  I guess in some ways I enjoyed the challenge of XC racing a bit more.  DH racing is also really challenging, but the courses are a lot shorter and even in California there arenít as many events to choose from.  For some reason I just really was enjoying the XC racing and events.  In some weird way I sort of like the suffering.

MTB Race News: From what Iíve read you really enjoy cooking. Whatís your favorite pre-race meal to cook?

Allison Mann: My "pre-race mealĒ I guess is usually breakfast, and I love steel coat oats with sliced banana, almond butter, granola, and French pressed coffee.  My pre-race snack is usually something simple and similar - banana and almond butter, sometimes on bread with honey.  Post-race I totally love to snack on baked sweet potatoes sliced and mixed with cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and a dash of salt.  For dinner the night before I like to have either Salmon or Steak with veggies.

MTB Race News: You have a full time job in addition to racing. Can you tell us about your job and what itís like to balance a 40-hour workweek with training and racing?

Allison Mann: I work as a Specification Writer at a medical device company locally.  Basically I do a lot of paperwork! I work with our operating procedures and assembly line process documents. I do spend 40 hours a week at my desk, but Iím lucky in that my supervisor has allowed me to take a flexible lunch to get in ride time during the week, which can be tough with the short days in the winter.  Itís pretty challenging at times to fit in work, life, and training, but it keeps things interesting!  My husband, Justin, and I have a pretty good system that weíve created from trial and error and for the most part things at home get done as well.

MTB Race News: What are your big goals for the 2011 season?

Pretty much just continuing to improve climbing and descending and moving up the ladder so to speak.  I hope to have a good race at Nationals and plan to petition for again in 2011 for a discretionary selection to the USA XCO World Championship team.  I was hoping to have a really strong early season, but...

MTB Race News: From what I've heard you've been dealing with some injuries this off-season. How's that been going and will you be good to go by the racing season?

Allison Mann: Iíve been dealing with a flare-up of sesmoiditis in my right foot again this year.  I had it in 2010 as well, after Bonelli and Fontana.  Justin was in a pretty bad road riding accident in early April, and my foot issues coincided with time off the bike as we re-adjusted.  He wound up with multiple fractures in his neck and a broken patella as well.  Essentially after a really strong November and December this past year for me, Iíve had to take January off the bike.  Itís a bit of a bummer, but injury is something I think most athletes deal with at some point.  Iím back on the bike slowly but surely, and while I might have a slower early season than the last 2 years, I should be good to go in April/May.

MTB Race News: What are your longer-term goals? Thinking about a few years from now, what level do you hope to be riding at?

Allison Mann: Iíd really like to be competing internationally at World Cupís.  Iím working toward this now, and weíll see what the future holds!  Itís just not possible to know how far one can take something like this without going out and giving it your all.

MTB Race News: Your blog features a lot of pictures of tasty looking beer. Whatís your favorite beer after a long mountain bike ride.

Allison Mann: Right now Iím really enjoying the left over Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porterís (seasonal and Iíve only got one left!) and Stone Brewingís Lukcy Basartd (also limited release).  Typically I stick to recovery drinks and solid meals, but lately Iíve been enjoying a few beers! 

MTB Race News: Your husband, Justin, is a big rider too. Has that contributed to your racing success over the last couple of years?

Allison Mann: It absolutely has contributed to my success.  It has been so much fun to have a training partner.  Justinís faster than I am, especially descending, so itís great to have someone to push me and help me work on my skills.  We both have different strengths and weaknesses on the bike, so itís good to help each other and push each other.  Not to mention itís more fun training with someone else and having someone to lean on to help stay motivated.

MTB Race News: Where is your favorite place to ride? 

I enjoy some local trails, but if I had to pick one place - Crested Butte.  I donít ride there often, but when I do - I love it.

MTB Race News: It sounds like you spend a lot of time training on the road. Have you ever considered racing on the road as well, or are you set on mountain biking?

Allison Mann: This topic comes up often!  Road racing is in full swing here in So Cal now, and like last year Iíll likely miss the season.  By summertime road racing is usually in a downward swing (as is mountain biking locally) due to the heat, and right now Iím not quite in the spot (fitness or training wise) to be doing road races.  I would like to try a road race some time, but so far things just havenít lined up. 

MTB Race News: Sponsorship can be a tricky thing to pull off. Got any tips to share with up and coming racers?

Allison Mann: Just race and train hard.  I typically contact companies who have products that I use and believe in to try and get sponsorship.  I like to make sure that Iím supporting products that I really believe in and that Iíd be using anyway.  I still struggle with this, so maybe I can use a few tips!

MTB Race News: What bike will you be racing on this year?

Allison Mann: Iíve been riding and racing a Specialized S-Works Epic since 2009 and am super excited to be racing on one again in 2011.  My first bike in 2005 was a Stumpjumper FSR, and I followed that up with my first road bike being a Roubaix, and my first downhill bike a Demo 7.  Specialized makes awesome bikes, and I canít wait to get out and race the newly designed Epic this season!

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