Crash takes shine off Silver Fox's golden campaign
ROCKHAMPTON'S Ron Hickson was riding high at the Queensland Masters Track Cycling Championships at the Anna Meares Velodrome when disaster struck.
The 69-year-old was in red-hot form, having produced a personal best time to win gold in the time trial on Friday.
The Silver Fox as he is affectionately known was on track for two more medals when he was brought crashing down by a rider in the second round of the sprint on Saturday morning.
Ron fell heavily, deflating his right lung and smashing the wing bone on his pelvis. He was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, where he remains today.
Wife Denise said Ron was in relatively good spirits despite being in serious pain.
"Each day is getting a bit better for him,” she said.
"We have no idea when they will let him out of hospital.
"He's very talkative but every time he coughs his chest hurts and he can't move his leg much at all.
"This would definitely be his worst accident so far. He's broken a couple of collarbones and hit a wallaby and broke a few ribs but this would be the worst.”
Ron is a much-loved and highly respected member of the Queensland cycling community and Denise said she had been inundated with well wishes.
"It's surprising how many messages of support I've received on Facebook from people that I don't even now. It's been wonderful,”.
Denise was not at the velodrome to witness the crash but she said that people who were said they could hear the thump when Ron hit the wooden boards.
"It was a very heavy impact fall. Ron said they wouldn't have been going any more than 15kmh when it happened but sometimes you can be worse off in those situations,” she said.
Initial reports suggest Ron could be on crutches for at least three months, ruling him out of the 50th anniversary of the prestigious Rocky Cup on Wheels to be raced next month.
Denise said Ron would be bitterly disappointed not to be racing the event at which he's become a fixture for decades, but she guaranteed he would still be there to officiate as a handicapper.
The accident could not have come at a worse time for the dedicated competitor, who has also booked his ticket to the world cycling championships in Los Angeles in October.
"He was so excited, he had the whole year planned out,” Denise said.
"He was off the bike for eight weeks after a medical issue in August and it's taken him this long to get his fitness back again.
"It was all looking really promising, especially after he won the gold in a time of 39.684secs. It was the first time he had gone under 40 seconds and he was the only one of the eight riders to do it.
"He was also set to ride off for gold and silver in the individual pursuit and he had the fastest time for the flying 200m.”
Denise said cycling was "everything” to Ron.
"He just lives for it. Every day he can train, he's at training,” she said.
"He was going so well. We're just hoping for a very speedy recovery for him.”