Two views, one team: Tracey Hannah and Megan Thomas

Tropic gets an insight into the unique athlete-physio partnership between elite mountain biker Tracey Hannah and PhyxMe’s Megan Thomas.

Tracey Hannah
Occupation: Downhill mountain bike athlete
Team: Polygon UR Team
Titles: 11 time National Australian Champion, 3rd in World Cup Standings

Megan Thomas
Occupation: Physiotherapist
Company: PhyxMe Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation

Tropic: How did you meet?
Through a mutual friend, who suggested her services to me. 
Megan: At the beginning of her 2015 Race season, Tracey fell and injured her AC joint (shoulder). A mutual friend recommended Tracey see me.

Describe Megan as a physio...
The first thing I thought of was cruel, she is amazing, I haven’t met anyone like her in the eight years I have been racing professionally. She really knows her stuff.

Describe Tracey as an athlete...
Determined, humble and absolutely amazing! 

Proudest moment of Tracey’s career to date?
Tracey: My best result is being third in the World Cup overall, I’m happy with that because it proves consistency. 
The 2017 World Championships here in Cairns. Tracey was in amazing riding form, it was her home track and her race prep was perfect. In the final she went to ground early on the track and was knocked unconscious. Tracey came to, jumped up and got on her bike to continue to race. Incredibly, she finished third in the world! It was definitely a bittersweet moment. If she didn’t crash she would have easily won, but to finish third after lying unconscious for all those seconds (which is huge in DHMTB races) is just remarkable.

The physio/athlete relationship requires a lot of trust. How did that develop?
Trust and loyalty are built over time, and Megan andI have been working together for over five years. I could trust her from the beginning because she listened to me as an athlete who carried old injuries, I can trust her even more now because she knows my body like a mechanic knows a type of car, I don’t really have to say much and she knows the problem. 

Does Tracey always follow your physio advice?
Yes! Without question.
Megan: Absolutely. She has to be completely honest with me about what training she needs to do, what races she can’t miss and we work backwards from there with every injury. The only part of my advice she forgets sometimes is the “don’t ever fall off part”!

It’s race day. What preparation (physical and mental) do you do?
Race day involves a few practice sessions and warming up, staying hydrated and eating enough food. Mentally I will just to relax, trust the preparation and listen to music before I compete. I have a structured routine and that is extremely important for calming the race day nerves. 

If Megan was an animal, she would be…
My guess is a chimpanzee...

If Tracey was an animal, she would be...
Megan: Definitely a “cougar” AKA the Mountain Lion! Strong, agile, secretive and largely solitary by nature. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking.