Carol Harwood can't remember the accident. Photo / Stephen
Carol Harwood bears a few bruises, her forearms are sore
and there's a constant dull ache around her left eye, but she
knows things could have been a lot worse had she not been
wearing her cycling helmet.
The 36-year-old Rotorua woman was in an induced coma for two
days after a crash with a pickup truck on November 27.
She was discharged from hospital on Tuesday and is making a
rapid recovery. She will have surgery at Waikato Hospital on
Monday to fix her broken cheekbone and eye socket.
"I'm quite grateful that fractures can heal," she said. "The
brain can mend itself, but you don't know to what extent.
"It was a fairly expensive helmet. If I knocked my helmet
that hard and there was no crack then it's done its job.
Wearing a helmet saved my life."
Ms Harwood and her partner Sarah Pitcher-Campbell - both
Rotorua Association of Triathletes and Multisport (Rats)
committee members - were going out for a 45 minute ride as
part of their final preparation for the Lake Taupo Cycle
Challenge, which was on November 30.
The crash happened at around 6.30am at the roundabout
intersection of State Highway 5 and State Highway 36 as the
pair rode towards Ngongotaha.
"I don't remember leaving home," Ms Harwood said. "The next
thing I remember is Friday morning when they woke me up and
seeing [Rats president and nurse] Nina's eyes and feeling the
tube come out.
"I was really worried and wanted to know why there were
people inmy room at home trying to wake me up. Then I don't
remember anything until the afternoon when people were
She said she has been humbled by the outpouring of support
from the Rotorua community and beyond. She and Ms
Pitcher-Campbell have received messages from throughout the
Because she couldn't ride in the Cycle Challenge, a figurine
named Carol was attached to a fellow triathlete's bike.
"I've been told I have to beat the time that 'Carol' did this
year," she said.
"I feel quite confident to jump on my bike tomorrow. Had I
remembered everything I don't know [if I would]."
She is not allowed to do any form of exercise that could
result in contact and yesterday began walking.
The only riding she will do in the next month is on her
indoor trainer, wearing jandals so she can't go fast.
Rotorua police are investigating the crash and expect to lay
- by Alison King