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Central Otago welcomed a group of cyclists from Christchurch at the weekend with some extreme weather.

Jill O’Connor, one of three team leaders travelling with the 20 YMCA Life Fit cyclists, said they experienced high winds on the Lake Dunstan Trail on Friday, freezing weather for the boat transfer from Doctors Point to Shingle Creek to ride the Roxburgh Gorge Trail on Saturday, and brilliant sunshine on the Clutha Gold Trail on Sunday.

The Life Fit cyclists, who made it clear they considered themselves “mature and motivated, not old”, enjoyed the trail rides, although they had a few minor mishaps.

The Lake Dunstan Trail was quite a challenge in Friday’s high winds, with some riders having difficulties on the tighter corners, Ms O’Connor said.

One rider had a tyre blowout on the trail, which resulted in his bike flipping when he applied the front brake too hard.

“He did a perfect somersault,” Ms O’Connor said.

“He came out of it like a cat.”

Another rider was disoriented by the wind on a tight corner and took a tumble, resulting in her getting a bad scrape, but otherwise the team finished the 160km of off-road trails tired but unscathed.

Ray Blyth, the oldest of the riders at 79, said he and his wife both got involved with riding when they retired, which for him was 2006.

He was on his fifth cycle trip with the Christchurch YMCA Life Fit group, and said he thoroughly enjoyed the rides and gym classes.

The programme was attuned to his age group, with classes that included weights, cardio, spin, yoga and Pilates, Mr Blyth said.

They kept him fit and supple while enabling him to meet friends.

“It’s all about growing old, but not necessarily gracefully.”