The wife of a Nowra cyclist killed tragically in an accident at Stromlo Forest Park on Friday said the hardest thing was having to tell the youngest of their three sons.
Navy officer Kane Vandenberg died of chest injuries after his bike went out of control on a downhill slope about 2.30pm.
At the time, Margaret Vandenberg was preparing to pack and leave Nowra to join her husband in Canberra, where he was competing in a cycling carnival, when she received a phone call and the tragic news.
''All I kept saying was 'my son, my youngest son is going to walk in the door in 15 minutes and I don't know what to tell him','' Mrs Vandenberg said.
They have three sons, Joshua 23, Hayden 21, and Lachlan, 16.
''One thing I always said was the greatest thing a father can give his children is to love their mother,'' Mrs Vandenberg said.
''We spoke about that all the time. Kane used to say to the boys, just respect women. Kane respected me, he always hugged the boys, told them he loved them.''
The couple met when Kane was about to enter the Navy at age 17. They were engaged at 18, married at 20 and this year celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary.
When Mrs Vandenberg saw her late husband on Saturday there was little evidence of his injuries.
Her memories of his face - ''my sunrise'' - are intact.
''I touched him, it was a tiny little cut on his face.''
Mrs Vandenberg said the cause of death was a compression chest injury causing aortic rupture.
Mr Vandenberg, 46, had left the Navy five years ago, came to Canberra looking for work and then re-joined the Navy, which also employs Mrs Vandenberg.
They bought a home in Bonner, Gungahlin, two years ago and were commuting between Nowra and the ACT, where Mr Vandenberg had become involved in community and sporting organisations, including the rural fire service.
He took up bike riding with his wife's workmates.
''Those boys are just devastated. He loved going out for a ride with them, he was out with them last Friday,'' Mrs Vandenberg said.
Mr Vandenberg is also survived by his mother, Toni, and brother Jace. His father, Keith, predeceased him, when he too was aged 46.
Mrs Vandenberg saw him leave Nowra about 4pm on the public holiday Monday when he returned to Canberra.
''We spoke every night. We texted every morning. The last time I spoke to him was Thursday night, I sent him a text on Friday morning, I told him to stay safe,'' she said.
''He responded that he loved me. ''