PRQ #3 Alison Dunlap
This is #3 of the Pro Racer Questionnaire Series
Alison Dunlap is one of the winningest mountain bikers male or female in history. Her racing resume is just amazing. Here is just a highlight.
- UCI Tissot Mountain Bike World Cup Champion 2002
- UCI Mountain Bike World Champion 2001
- Olympic Games 2000: mountain bike, 7th
- Olympic Games 1996: road race
- Pan American Games: gold medallist (cross country) 1999
- U.S. National cross-country champion: 2004, 2002, 1999
- U.S. National short-track cross-country champion: 2004, 2002,1999
- U.S. National cyclo-cross champion: 1997-01, 03
- U.S. National Road and Omnium Collegiate champion: 1991
- U.S. Olympic Festival gold medallist (road race) 1993
- UCI Tissot World Cup: 2nd overall, 2000
- World Mountain Bike Championships: 1994, 1997-2002, 2004
- World Road Cycling Championships: 1993-94 (bronze), 1998-99
- World Cyclo-Cross Championships: 2004 (5th) , 2002 (4th), 2000 (7th)
- UCI World Cup wins (mtb): two (cross-country); one in cyclo-cross 2002
- Finished on the podium (top 5) in all UCI World Cup races for 2002, 2000
- National race wins: eight (cross-country), fourteen (short-track cross-country)
- Sea Otter Classic 1st overall 2004, 2003, 2002, 1999, stage winner 1999-2004
- Hewlett Packard International Women’s Challenge (road) stage winner: 1993 1996, 1997, 2001
- Redlands Cycling Classic (road) 1st overall, one stage win: 2000, 1996
- Tour of Willamette (road) 1st overall, two stage wins: 2001
In the immortal words of The Huntingtons, " This Alison: She's the bomb
Yes that was World Champion in 2001. You know rainbow jersey and all:
*fat tire fotos.
Could you imagine wearing that to the Wednesday group ride, "Oh, this old thing"
Like many pros, I'd only seen Alison's name on the results and pictures at Velonews and Cycling news. There have been some nice interviews at CN. But it wasn't until I saw Off Road to Athens that I really became a fan. Not that you can know someone from a few minutes of interviews and racing coverage, but I was struck by her profesionalism and demeanor. There was one scene where she was acknowledging that her chances at making the Olympic team were over. Now I am not an overly emotional person, but I had goosebumps and some welling up of tears during that scene. I also liked the scene in the first race where the locals were chanting her name: Al-LEE-son..Al-LEE-son.
Alison Dunlap retired at the end of 2004. And she certainly went out as close to on top as you can. Get a load of JUST her 1st places in 2004: The list is double with her 2nd, 3rds, etc. She raced probably more days than I trained last year.
1st - U.S. National Championship Cross Country
1st - U.S. National Championship Short Track
1st - U.S. Cyclocross National Championships
1st - NORBA National Short Track Series Overall
1st - Waco Norba National XC
1st - Maxxis Cup, Gouveia, Portugal
1st - Schweitzer Mountain NORBA National Short Track
1st - Sea Otter Classic Overall
1st - Sea Otter Classic Super XC
1st - Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race
1st - Snowmass NORBA National Short Track
1st - Sonoma NORBA National Short Track
1st - Sonoma NORBA National Cross Country
1st - Snowshoe NORBA National Cross Country
1st - Snowshoe NORBA National Short Track
She is currently coaching at CTS and running Adventure Camps. With her palmeres she certainly can teach a thing or two. In fact in my recent writeup on my own skills clinic, I used some pictures of Alison to highlight some points on positioning. I try and visualize this picture when climbing:
and this one when going downhill:
I'm quite flattered that she took the time to answer the questionnaire, and wish her best of luck in her coaching and camps.
-Who are your sponsors that you’d like to recognize
-What makes an athlete a 'good investment' for a sponsor?
An athlete needs to have good race results. An athlete also needs to be well spoken and a positive role model. They need to represent the company that sponsors them with honesty and integrity.
-How long have you been racing mountain bikes, how long as a pro
I’ve raced mtn bikes full time since 1997 and I started as a pro. I raced 1-2 times a year starting in 1993 while I was a road racer.
-What are your goals for 2006?
To make a living coaching and running the Alison Dunlap Adventure Camps
-Who are your cycling heroes?
Bike Geek Stuff.
-What bikes do you race on? What other bikes do you own?
I have raced on a Santa Cruz Julianna and a Blur for the past four years. I also have a Santa Cruz Heckler that I take to Moab. The team will be riding Orbea bikes in 2006
-How do you see XC technology changing over the next 5 years?
Lighter full suspension frames. Bigger but lighter forks.
-What component or cycling gear would you pay full retail for if you had to?
I would pay full retail for a Giro helmet
-Do you have a coach?
I have been coached by Dean Golich of Carmichael Training Systems for the past eight years
*Editor's note: Dean Golich wrote an article in Bicycling in the late 1990's that introduced me to Block Training. And my current guru, Dave Morris and Dean were partners back then in developing this 'revolutionary' protocol. As an amatuer who has 'found my dojo' it is neat to see a pro who has taken the same training philosophies to the top.
-Do you follow a scientific periodized cycling specific training program or ‘just ride’?
I follow a very scientific periodized program.
-Do you strength train?
I lifted weights for twelve years but stopped and haven’t lifted for three years
-How do you recover after a hard ride or workout?
I drink a high carbo/protein recovery drink and try and have a large meal as soon as possible.
-What is your nutrition protocol for a 2-2.5hr XC race?
I eat a large breakfast 3 1/2hrs before the start. One hr before the race I warm up using an energy drink. I race with energy drink and Clif Shots.
Immediately after the race I have a recovery drink and then try and eat a large meal right away.
-What is your pacing strategy for a 2-2.5hr XC race?
I go as hard as I need to to stay with the leaders the first lap. Then things settle down. I usually bump it up a notch for the last lap
-How do you balance the stresses of regular life with training and recovery?
I stay involved in other activities; family, cooking, reading, movies, etc to keep from getting burned out
-Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love donuts
-What advice do you have for those of us with families, and full time jobs who want to race our best?
Get a coach. Get a schedule worked out and follow it. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on the bike. The time you do spend on the bike needs to be of a high quality. You have to be very efficient when you have little time. I think training in the morning is the best.