For many of the 120 starters in Saturday's Ramblers Cycling Club's Spring Series race it was a final rehearsal for Sunday's Tour of the Bay.
The Heretaunga Building Society-powered graded road race was held from Haumoana School.
In a variation from the published programme, A to D grades completed two laps of the Tuki circuit, E and F grades one lap of the same circuit and G grade four laps of the school circuit.
A large group of G-graders turned up to battle the stiff wind as they tackled the four laps of the Haumoana School block.
With rider ages ranging from 11 upwards, it was a diverse group of cyclists who completed the first lap as a peloton which was coached by two mentors with the emphasis on rider safety and bunch etiquette.
At the start of the second lap, with racing proper, youngsters Sophie Chote and Bayley Stephens-Ellison put the hammer down and jumped out to a 30-metre lead. Sue Hobbs and Pauleen Kelly realised these two were a danger and chased, catching the pair just past the poultry farm as they battled into the wind along Parkhill Rd.
This four-rider combo worked well together to pull away from the chasers.
Kelly, who only recently returned to riding, found the pace a tad hot as the youthful enthusiasm of Chote and Stephens-Ellison split the lead group, getting a more favourable wind, with Hobbs managing to keep them in check while Kelly drifted off the back.
At this point, Warren Jackson punctured, which was quite a shame because this looked like being a race suited to his riding strengths.
Hobbs, as usual, was giving the race her all and doing more than her share of the work.
Chote and Stephens-Ellison were aware of this and every time Hobbs flagged slightly, they upped the pace a bit, making it tough for Hobbs to get back on. These tactics continued up to 300m from the finish when a tiring Hobbs could not match the finishing sprints of Chote and Stephens-Ellison.
To her credit, Chote rode an honest race and worked hard, including the final time up Raymond where she charged off, closely followed by new club member Stephens-Ellison.
However, it was Stephens-Ellison who timed his sprint best to take the win from Chote and Hobbs.
The rest of the field crossed the finish line in ones and twos.
The conditions aided the stronger riders, with Blair Heney and Fraser Gough proving too strong in A grade, to cross the line just over two minutes before the third-placed finisher, Ben Ross.
The B grade's Patrick Barry and Aaron Baddiley also dominated their race but with a much smaller margin of just under one minute.
B-graders Hannah van Kampen and Ashleigh Neave showed the benefit of their recent European riding in strong winds early in the race with some solid efforts, and continued to impress.
With early attempts to breakaway not sticking, the C-grade peloton made the mistake of not chasing Dave Johnson, as he rode away to a 34-second win over John Price, who led the rest home.
It was a similar result in the D grade, with Woody Foster crossing the line 32 seconds clear of second-placed Marie Walters, with Alistair Jamieson another 1m 30s in arrears as the shattered pack finished in ones and twos, with a third of the grade abandoning the race.
Mick Cull, in E grade, and Nicholas Kelly, in F grade, strengthened their grip on their respective series-leader yellow jerseys with victories, but in contrasting fashions.
Cull recorded a 50s winning margin over a chasing trio led by evergreen Dave Marett, while Kelly shared the same time as Baylee Lingan and Kirsty McCallum in a tight sprint finish, with five other riders close behind them.
No club racing will be held on Saturday because of Sunday's annual Tour of the Bay fun ride.