The first thing Josh Page did was grab his leg warmers from the car after dismounting from his bike from a testing 105km ride yesterday as well-wishers congratulated him.
"Oh, I've got frozen legs, a frozen heart and anything else you can think of," the 26-year-old said with a grin as wife Kerri-anne Pace (nee Torckler) helped him retrieve warm gear from the back of their four-wheel-drive.
"It was freezing. I wasn't warm at all," the Hawke's Bay Ramblers Cycling Club member said after winning the men's open grade of the annual Strata Group Tour of the Bay ride.
In its 22nd year, the recreational tour of about 700 riders marked the beginning of the 2012-13 BikeNZ Summer Series as the first of 11 rides throughout the country.
Asked if he would have settled for Saturday's wind gusts of up to 100km/h, Page said: "Yes, at least it was sunny so I'd probably rather take the wind.
"At least you can run and shadow the wheels so you don't get blown around so much."
He has started work with HRV after finishing at Avanti Cycles in Hastings a fortnight ago, although the bike firm still sponsors him.
"I got away with about 30km to go," he said, breaking away from from the leading bunch that included Olympian Westley Gough, Regan Gough, veteran Craig Lawn, Aaron Strong, Blair Heney and a rash of promising juniors from the Bay.
The statement of departure came at little rise just past the Pukehoumoamoa School.
"No one came with me so ... I thought someone was going to come with me but maybe the rain and stuff was taking its toll on people," Page said after finishing at Oak Avenue, stopping the clock comfortably at 2hr 30min 35sec.
Winston Briggs was next in at 2:31:25 while Westley Gough, of Waipukurau, clocked 2:31:26.
The elite riders started at 9am at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park stadium before Page crossed the finish at 11.33am.
It was Page's first Bay tour victory.
"I think I've been everywhere but first before," he said with a laugh.
"It's pretty cool to win the local fun ride," he added, going on to say the entry of quality riders from around the country made it an enjoyable and competitive event.
The next thing on Page's competitive agenda is the K2 at the Coromandel, the biggest one-day race in New Zealand that takes in a gruelling 185km route.
"I'm pretty keen on trying to win that."
He thanked wife and women's rider Kerri-anne for looking after him, although she didn't compete yesterday.
"She was in the lead car, hanging out of the window taking photos."
Regan Gough won the junior grade over the distance, clocking 2:31:16, beating Ben Ross (2:31:17). William Green (2:31:18) was third.
Ashleigh Neave, 20, of Napier, claimed the women's Open 105km bragging rights with the time of 2:54:59.
Jo Holdaway (3:02:15) was second and Katrina Windelborn (3:21:29) third.
Iona College pupil Phoebe Treseder, of Waipukurau, won the junior grade in a time of 2:54:56.