Painful end to Ironman training

A Havelock North woman, training to tick Ironman off her bucket list was, "very lucky" to escape serious injury, when she was knocked off her bike by a car yesterday, just fifteen minutes from home.

Marilyn Mansfield, 57, was nearing the end of a three hour ride and was indicating to go straight through a roundabout at the intersection of Simla Ave and Te Mata Road, heading towards Havelock North when the accident happened.

"I could hear it before I felt it. All of a sudden I was on the ground and Dianne, who I had been riding with, was tumbling over me ... The pain was excruciating. I have had three doses of morphine.

"I convinced myself I had a compact fracture in my leg. I used to be a nurse, but I think that was probably where the pedal hit me - you can see where the muscle is all out of shape. I was very lucky not to break anything. So very lucky."

Dianne Wepa, who had been biking single file behind Marilyn, said the accident happened, "in slow motion".

"We had been out to Tuki Tuki and Te Awanga and we were just winding down a bit," she said.

"I could hear a car coming up behind us and I thought it would slow down even more approaching the pedestrian crossing, but instead it tried to squeeze past us. Marilyn's body hit the side of car. She bounced off and hit the road, hard."

The driver of the car was an 85-year-old Havelock North man, who said he was always very conscious of cyclists.

"I was doing well within the speed limit. I always do here - it's a school zone and I live just round the corner. I started driving when I was 17 and this is the first time I have had anything like this happen. It is something I have been terrified of - cyclists are going quite a bit slower than you are driving and I always slow to overtake them."

Hastings roading police Sergeant Clint Adamson said charges were possible, but they still had to speak to witnesses.

"What is in dispute is whether the car has clipped the cyclist or whether she's swerved into the car. The reminder here is to keep your space when going past a cyclist."

A passer by heard the "smack" of the impact and saw both women tumble to the ground.

"I saw them and I knew they were in trouble, so I pulled over to see if I could help. One of the women was in a lot of pain, she was crying out."

Marilyn's husband Graeme didn't know what to expect when he got a phone call at work saying his wife had been hit. "I was told she had two broken legs. I was trying to get there as soon as possible, but I got stuck behind two slow cars. I just cracked when I saw her on the ground covered in a blanket."

Mrs Mansfield was taken to hospital by St John Ambulance and checked out by doctors in the emergency department, before later being discharged.

Arriving home, she "could barely move." While she did not break any bones, muscles in her right leg and hip were badly bruised. It was about ten years ago when Mrs Mansfield started exercising regularly to stay fit, but just recently she had been pushing herself harder to train for Ironman. "I have a new coach in Auckland who gave me a weekend programme. My son found her for me because he's into long distance triathlons.

"I saw him compete on a recent trip to Spain. I had taken my bike over there with me. Last week I was riding along SH1 - I'm not a scaredy cat."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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