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
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
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
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!