Chinese burn

Without pain killers: Hamish Fleming's treated at a Chinese hospital

Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.

Queenstown multisporter Hamish Fleming is recovering in China after ripping open his arm in a nasty crash.

The Peak to Peak champion, 26, came off his mountain bike while racing with his team on the second day of the Wulong Mountain Quest 2016 earlier this month.

“I was riding, pumping the bumps, and then I was on the ground,” he says. “It happened that fast.”

Fleming believes his handlebar may have snapped on the quick descent down the rocky four-wheel-drive road.

His first concern was his team’s race position – but then the pain hit.

“Lots and lots of pain.

“The right arm was the worst, followed by my hip and ribs, both knees and finally my left elbow and hand.”

Nasty gash: Hamish Fleming is assessed at a Chinese hospital
Nasty gash: Hamish Fleming’s injury

When he was eventually able to get to his feet, he asked teammates if they could get moving.

“I was in lots of pain and a fair amount of shock, so I just wanted to distract myself.”

But teammate Marcel Hagener says: “No, no, I don’t think so, not just yet.

“I think I see your bone, we need to deal with that.”

Hagener duct-taped the wound.

The team was just two kilometres into a 20km stage and Fleming had to ride, walk, abseil and swim to the finish.

“It really was sore. Every bump and fern I brushed sent sharp pain down my nerves.”

Swimming was the worst.

“The water burnt and stung and it didn’t stop. It was rude, unrelenting and invasive pain.”

He was patched up in hospital and discharged but then the arm wound became infected so he returned to hospital.

“This was a real experience,” he says.

The doctor removed the bandaging and got stuck in with tweezers and cotton buds.

“It turns out pain killers are a western idea. With the infection inflaming the wound the pain was almost unbearable.”

Multisport machine:  Fleming competes in last year's Peak to Peak  PICTURE: RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY
Multisport machine: Fleming competes in last year’s Peak to Peak

As he squirmed on the operating table he was ‘comforted’ by teammate Sam Manson.

“I remember clearly every time he got in deep Sam would go ‘agh, ohh, he’s right in there now’ – so comforting.”

Fleming was given antibiotics via an intravenous drip. Messages of support from friends and sponsors Around the Basinand Hillary Foods kept his spirits up.

Seven days after the infection hit, he was given the all clear.

This week he aims to return to racing at China’s Wengan Outdoor Challenge.

“A few more days taking it easy and maximising recovery before we kick into it again.”