By Steve Medcroft
Three-time US National Cross Country Champion, 2001 World Mountain Bike Champion and two time Olympian Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix), ended her NORBA National Series career with a win in Mount Snow on Saturday. After a decade of racing during which she won a host of titles, the 36-year-old American left the sport in the best way possible. Cyclingnews' Steve Medcroft spoke with Dunlap about the end of an era and her plans for life after racing.
Dunlap has said she wanted a NORBA National win during her final season to feel like she was going out on top, and although she had podiumed in four 2005 NORBAs before Mount Snow, Dunlap had only this one last chance to win. The Luna Chix rider slipped into the lead ahead of Willow Koerber (Subaru - Gary Fisher) after the end of the first of three six-mile laps and never looked back, winning the race in front of family, friends, and the mountain-bike community she has given so much to in the past decade; a fitting finale to her NORBA Nationals career.
Dunlap is now one race away from ending a cycling career that started with road racing in the mid nineties. She took up cycling after being cut from her Division A Colorado College soccer team, and became the only female member of the school cycling club, winning the women’s National Road Racing Championship in her senior year.
After placing 37th at the Atlanta Olympic Road Race, she met professional mountain biker and future husband Greg Frozley and soon switched her attention to mountain biking. The rest, as they say, is history. Dunlap went on to win NORBAs, US National Championships, Pan Am Games, World Cups, a World Cup Championship and, ultimately, the 2001 UCI World Championships in Vail, Colorado.
Cyclingnews: Knowing that your career is coming to a close, how were you feeling coming into this weekend?
Alison Dunlap: I’ve been mentally getting ready all season for the day when I’m done so I’ve been sad at every race I do - I think about how I’m never going to do that one again or that I’m never going to be at Mount Snow again. Or last week, I was like "thank God, I’m never going to be in Snowshoe!" But at the same time it’s been really exciting to go do these races. So I would say that I was excited coming to Mount Snow but I’m definitely ready to be done with the season and done with my career.
Read the entire Alison Dunlap interview here.