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.
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?
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?
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
MTBRaceNews.com:What have you been up to since the race
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?
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?
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?
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
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
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?
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
MTBRaceNews.com:What bike will you be racing on this
season? Do you get to pick your bike and components, or do sponsors largely
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?
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.