It was a torrid day for more than 130 riders who registered for the Heretaunga Building Society powered Ramblers Cycling Club racing on Saturday.
The tough hilly course combined with a strong north westerly wind, provided challenging conditions as the Spring Series continued.
Competitors raced from Maraekakaho School out and returned along Kereru Road. The A to D grades climbed over 500 vertical metres as they raced 50km through the three deep gullies before turning at the top of the hill at the end of the sealed road while the E, F and G grades raced 30km which included the first two gullies.
The steep hill climbs at both ends of the gullies quickly separated riders in most grades.
The best solo ride of the day was recorded by F grade's Rob Stephenson as he powered home to finish 1m 10s ahead of the following bunch.
In the bunch sprint for second place, Dave Chote again used his skill and experience as he edged out Kirsty McCallum and Barry Lennox into third and fourth places respectively.
Brett Hooker and new Ramblers member Steve Nicholls broke away from the C grade field after the second gully and stayed away for half the race.
However, chasing by a determined bunch of six riders saw them caught 10km before the finish line.
With a bunch sprint determining the race winner, Allister Beets led the way with Hooker close behind while 15-year-old Amanda Jamieson, in her first C grade race, finished third.
Taking no prisoners, the A grade bunch set off into the wind at a quick pace.
Once the road began to rise even more, the race intensity increased with it and the bunch was soon splintered into small groups.
At the front of the race, Regan Gough, even though he was riding with an arm cast, and Blair Heney were left to battle it out.
These two riders were never challenged on the return journey with Heney taking line honours ahead of Gough with Josh Page crossing solo 2m 49s in arrears in third place.
The main bunch, comprising of just four riders, was headed home by yellow jersey wearer William Green a further 1m 10s behind.
Two riders maintained their unbeaten Spring Series status as Austin Mortimer out sprinted Patrick Barry to win B grade and Mitchell Heney beat Abi Lochhead in G grade.
Cadell Heney and Shamus Christison decimated the D grade field and finished just under four minutes clear of the bunch.
However, Heney was unable to replicate his father Blair or brother Mitchell's victory with Christison taking first place by a solitary second.
E grade had the largest starting field of the day with 25 riders.
Mick Cull proved to be the strongest on the day and his first place moves him into an early series lead.
Racing this Saturday takes place from the Arohanui Christian Centre in Havelock North.