After breaking her leg in a crash during the Val d'Isere World Cup, Australian Tracey Hannah had a long road to recovery. However, seven months after her femur surgery, she is back in action on a bike and is training and getting ready for the upcoming racing season.
Below is a question and answer session with Hannah.
First of all, what everyone wants to know, how is your leg, and will you be racing next season?
What an experience! When I broke my leg I had never broken a bone riding downhill. I had never even stayed in hospital before. So when I realised that I was taking a trip to the hospital, in a helicopter, through the French alps, I was in shock. Three weeks later, I left the hospital and flew home to Australia. All through hospital and my recovery, I knew that no matter what, I was going to race in 2013. So, Yes, for sure I will be racing. My leg is going really great. I have been riding cross country, and it feels good, I am waiting for my new downhill bike and when it arrives, it will be just perfect timing to ride again.
How has your recovery been? Can you ride normally again yet?
I haven't really sat still to think that I am recovering. It's more just a setback in my training. I feel like I am getting stronger and fitter everyday. I haven't tried downhill to see how normal I feel, but the longer I wait the more keen I am. I have been pushing it on my cross country bike, and I can't wait to go fast on my downhill bike again. When my bike arrives, I'm pretty sure I will ride it out of the cardboard box I'm so keen to ride a DH bike.
You were in the same team as your brother (Mick Hannah). How did you like it?
It was ok. He snores pretty loudly and he has to have his bluberries and the bananas must be yellow. He taught me a lot about my bike and about riding this season. He is really encouraging, not only to me but to the whole team. It couldn't be better. I really enjoy being on the same team as him. After I broke my leg, he was at my bedside every moment that he possibly could. Except for his seeding and race runs.. He is an inspiration!
What are you plans till the start of the season?
I'll be going on a trip overseas to an exotic destination for the team presentation. Training on my bike, in the gym and at work. Learning how to ride downhill again, stronger and faster than before, on a shiny new bike. I am hoping to attend a couple of national races here in Australia, get the feel for racing again before the World Cup season starts back up.
We heard quite a lot about women's (downhill) racing in 2013: points, prize money, etc. What's your opinion on the subject?
As women's racing grows, the rules will grow with it. And as the rules change and move forward supporting women in downhill, then the women's racing will grow. We are getting alot of support from the public, and it's helping us so much. The sponsors are realising that it is worth it to have women on their team.
What do you think of the women's racing scene?
It's a slow process, but it is definitly growing. The up and coming talent is crazy... I think every year the women are pushing the limits and getting faster and faster.
Which track are you excited to ride next year?
South Africa... It's the fastest track of the season. I love going fast, no brakes, big jumps. [2013 Worlds will be in South Africa - Ed.]
We wish you good luck for 2013 and can't wait to see you back on track!
Thanks. Can't wait to be back on the track. Just because I broke my femur doesn't mean that I won't try the same. If you put your mind to it, and you want it, there isn't much that can stop you from doing what you love.