While the predicted Mayan apocalypse was safely avoided, the 120 or so riders who registered for the Ramblers Cycling Club Summer Series on Saturday were left wondering as recorded temperatures exceeded 40C during race briefing.
Temperatures on the road were tempered by a cooling sea breeze as the A to F grades raced 47km out and return to Camp David, while G grade completed 25km. The hot conditions were matched with fierce starting paces as riders relished the initial tail-wind conditions. Many grades were drenched as storm clouds gathered.
With the Gough cousin trio of Olympian Westley, Fraser and Regan joining professional rider Jeremy Vennell on the start line in The Hub Cycle Centre A Grade, the opposition were in for a tough day.
A solid pace from the start line saw the bunch remain relatively intact on the outwards journey, with a puncture suffered by Fraser ending his chances.
On the return journey, the pack split with about 15km to go, with the chasing bunch unable to close the gap. At the front, Josh Page edged out Regan Gough in a sprint finish, with Dan Warren third. Blair Heney was disqualified. The front bunch averaged 42km/h, and the second group clocking a 41.5km/h average speed.
Last week's winner of the Langley Twigg Roy van Panhuys B Grade, Paul Langford, tried his best to repeat the performance but was denied on the line as Mike Garrity took first place on the same time.
The largest field of the day was in the Grant White Autobody C Grade, with 23 starters. This race also had the closest finish, with nine riders recording either the same time or one second slower than winner Richard Gray.
Club chairman Gavin Bush managed to stay inside the white line as he secured second place just in front of Lindsay Sheppard.
In the AvantiPlus Hastings D Grade, the small field was reduced in size as Derek Ward was dropped off the pace and Cadell Heney failed to complete the race. With 11 riders left to contest the bunch sprint, Ken Jones made it two wins in a row as he pipped David Lay by one second, with series leader Pat Roe finishing third.
Graeme Ewart in the Pedal Power E grade had a two-second winning margin over series leader Hamish Waldin.
Showing that he was more than ready to move up at least a grade, Marewa Epic Cycles F grade rider Peter McArdle continued his recent strong form to not only ride away to win by over four minutes but also record a time faster than the E grade winner.
It was a two-rider tussle for the minor placings, with Warren Quinn taking second place in front of Ian Wright. Mitchell Heney also recorded a DNF to complete a disappointing day for the Heney family.
Retaining her unbeaten series status, Revolution Bikes G grade's Sophie Chote made it three wins from three starts with the consistent Sue Hobbs taking second place, just ahead of Liam Frost.
A steady easterly wind challenged riders who competed on Swamp Road in the second Thursday evening Individual Time Trial (ITT) of the summer.
The anticipated clash between cousins Westley and Fraser Gough saw them secure first and second places with victory to Westley by a margin of 17 seconds at an average speed of 46.6km/h.
Racing this Saturday afternoon is an individual time trial from Puketapu School on the Dartmoor Rd course.
The Thursday evening race won't be held this week.