After an incredible 20 years of racing, the legend of our sports Sick Mick Hannah announces that his last World Cup will be this weekend in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Mick’s first elite mountain bike race was in Maribor in 2001 where he finished 6th! He stood on the UCI World Cup podium 17 times with one victory, scored 3 medals at World Championships and 16 Crankworx medals!
Here are Mick’s words:
“The time has come to announce that I’m retiring from World Cup racing. This is a moment that I’ve contemplated many times over the course of my life. So many thoughts and ideas have passed through my imagination in the long hours I’ve spent on any number of bikes. I’ve contemplated questions like “When is the right time?”, “am I going to be at the top of my game?”, “Am I going to have a career ending injury?”, “Does anyone aside from myself care?”, “Does it change my life if anyone cares or not?”. Mostly, these questions and many others are irrelevant. They’re fun to talk about and ponder with friends and mentors and they’re a great way to help us learn about ourselves, but they are not that important really. They go along well with one question I get a lot which is “How do you stay that motivated for 20 years?”. I don’t know the answer to that. I have just had a passion for going fast on a bike and set goals and worked hard to achieve them and now 20 years have passed. It has been more incredible than I could’ve imagined. It’s also been harder than I could’ve imagined. The highs and lows are huge.
Sometimes I’ve felt motivated by my own selfish desire to win. Sometimes I’ve struggled to drag myself out of bed due to my struggles with anxiety and lack of belief in my own value. Sometimes I’ve been motivated by the need to financially support my family. Sometimes I am in that sweet place of just being joyful in the moment. Mostly though I am motivated by my desire to fulfill my potential as a man created in the image of God.
I have achieved some seemingly (to me) impossible things from the perspective of a 15 year old kid working on a banana farm. I’ll never forget getting the call while I was at work saying I was going to world championships in 2000. Just getting to be at that race was impossible for me to believe. How could I have imagined all I’ve been blessed with since then?
I have also missed out on the one big goal I’ve had since I was 7 years old. The first time I finished 2nd at the World Championships was in 1994. I was 10 years old and the community we lived in raised the money for my Dad and I to go to the USA. When I got 2nd I felt like I had failed. 23 years after that I finished 2nd at the World Championships in my hometown. How sweet that would’ve been to win! It would’ve been nice for me, but I wanted to win for everyone who’s ever invested energy into my life. I have been loved so well by so many people.
The process of stepping away is a tough one. I’m already going through quite the emotional rollercoaster. I miss racing at this level very deeply already and I’m not even done yet. It’s a similar feeling to leaving my loved ones for extended periods of time. I will always look back on my professional racing career with love. The people who’ve walked with me and supported me have made it all possible and worthwhile. My Dad said quite early on that if I wanted to keep racing I had to start training. I made that decision without hesitation and my Dad and Mum and family and friends and acquaintances too many to number have all poured into my life since then in ways that I could never repay. I’ve got to see the world many times over and ride my bike in the most amazing places and some not so amazing places and conditions haha. I have met so many incredible people. I fell in love with the mountain bike culture from the first day and I’ve now seen that that culture is the same all over the world across all the countries, cultures and languages that I’ve got to experience.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to all of my sponsors. You guys have provided for me and my family and given us a wonderful life for the last 20 years. Thank you to the UR Team. You guys have provided a competitive racing environment for half of my career. Fabien, you have put so much work and passion into the team and stayed behind me through all the ups and downs of racing. Magalie, thank you for all the time you spend behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly as well as the passion you also have for the team and racing in general. Thanks to my mechanic of the last 8 years, Jon Stout. You have shown amazing work ethic and passion for your role. You are always calm, especially when I am not. It still puts a smile on my face each time I get to feel how good my bike is after you’ve worked your magic. Thank you to my competitors. The skill and dedication that you have all shown to our sport and the sportsmanship you have demonstrated to me adds an incredible amount of value to all I’ve achieved.
Thank you to my friends for seeing my heart. Thank you to Tracey for all she teaches me and for being on the road with me the last 10 years. Thank you to my wife, Kimberly. I never want to do life without you. I love you! Thank you to my family. Our parents have never put limits on our dreams and they’ve worked endlessly to support us. It would be impossible to calculate how many hours Dad has spent driving me up to the top of downhill tracks or road riding with me. We’ve laughed, cried, fought, agreed and disagreed and there is no way I would have achieved so much without him.