A Buxton cyclist has told how he won a national championship for the third year in a row last month - despite suffering devastating injuries after being hit by a car.
Pete Middleton, 52, spent nine days in hospital with a broken collar bone, seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung after he was hit by a motorist while out on a ride with a friend.
He was left in ‘massive pain’ and unable to breathe after the collision in Parwich on May 8 last year.
Father-of-two Pete, who was in so much pain he never even saw the driver who had hit him at the scene, was rushed to Royal Derby Hospital where he spent five days in the high-dependency unit.
Amazingly, after months on a training bike in his garage followed by slow road riding Pete went on to take first place in the veterans category of the Cyclocross National Championships at Gravesend.
Electrician Pete spent his first night at the hospital on morphine and in ‘indescribable pain’ after refusing an epidural to clear his lungs of fluid.
After being moved onto a recovery ward after five days a consultant surgeon told him he would not be riding for four to six months and not to ‘even think about racing this winter’.
Pete said: “In November I knew I had six to eight weeks to prepare for the nationals so I put all my effort into it.
“I thought ‘if I get a severe beating so what? It doesn’t matter’.
“But there was some luck involved because they don’t get much rain down in Kent which meant it wasn’t muddy so there was minimal running.
“I’d not done any running during the training - if there had been running I wouldn’t have made the top ten.”
Cyclocross is a gruelling race which takes place off-road across grass, mud, woodland and sand - with competitors often having to carry bikes around obstacles.
Amazingly, Pete took the podium place with a time of 00:56:49.75 - a lead of more than 30 seconds.
He said: “For me it capped off a horrible year and put things right again.
“When you get older if you get an injury and don’t get things right you can have that injury for the rest of your life.
“I put a lot of work in but it paid off.”
However Pete said his family - wife Briony, 47, son Paul, 21, and daughter Zoe, 25, - played a ‘massive’ part in his recovery.
Twenty-one-year-old Daniel Desteunder, the driver of the car which hit Pete, admitted driving without due care and attention and was sentenced at Chesterfield Magistrates Court on January 31.
He was fined £80 and made to pay a £30 victim surcharge and £150 costs and given five points on his licence.