Monday, 19 December 2011

The Santa Cruz Christmas Santa Cruise

Sunday was a grand day out, organised by the endlessly and contagiously enthusiastic Joe Whitaker. An end-of-the-year, pre-Christmas Santa Cruz riders get together: The Santa Cruise (see what he did there?). So at 8am a huge collection of both Santa Cruz riders and Santa Cruz bikes slowly formed on a frosty morning at Cannock Chase.

We were joined for the morning by none other Santa Cruz rider Steve Peat and, after a collection of selection box donations for the Bassetlaw District Hospital Children's Unit (Joe tielressly fund raises for causes he believes in), raffle tickets were handed out in the form of numbered beer bottles and, after a cold weather induced minimum of bike faffing, we set off. Sadly Dickon "the boss" Hepworth couldn't join us after being snowed in up in Leeds. The raffle tickets were something else; using his sign writing business' skills, Joe had printed off some custom Stella Artios labels, including one with my name on it. Genius (and it made me very happy indeed, thanks Joe!)
Possibly the best raffle ticket in the world?
A loop of Follow the Dog with a huge train of Santa Cruz riders followed, with everyone trying to stay hard on the back wheel of the rider in front with a constant natter and banter as we rode. There was a brief pause at the top of the one significant climb for the group to reform and the weather took the opportunity to snow reasonably heavily to add to the Christmas atmosphere, at which point I was extremely happy of the Santa Hat I had on under my helmet that I'd been regretting only seconds before as I overheated up the climb.

Once we were done riding it was time for the raffle, called by the big man himself, who also donated a chunk of the prizes. I was lucky enough to win and poo-pooed the bottle of whisky in favour of a "classic" t-shirt with the "UNT©" logo emblazoned on the front.

A morning's riding in the wet at
Cannock Chase... Oops!
Backs slapped and bikes checked over, just two of us set off for another lap of the Monkey Trail as the weather got colder and snowier (which mainly meant wetter). I didn't take into account quite how gritty it would be and did most of this loop in the backing material of my brake pads, having stupidly forgotten to check the ones that were fitted, let alone bring spares, which made for a couple of interesting moments when I forgot as I steamed into a couple of corners!

A ride what we did (sic)
Who would have thought there were hills in the midlands
When we made it back, unfortunately everybody was done eating at the café, but a much needed cup of tea was generously thrust into may hand and we sat around slowly packing up bikes and swapping brave tales of the past season and grander plans for the next one. Joe also made my morning by presenting me with a fist full of Stella Artois bottles with my name emblazened on the logo  (brilliantly printed by Whitakers Signs) and The Santa Cruise logo on the back. A brilliant idea by Joe and one that still makes me smile.
My day's work done, what a great way to sign off a year's riding for Santa Cruz, bring on 2012 :-)
A great day out with some great people. My bike and kit are now both thoroughly covered in mud and grit, which may take me weeks to remove a proper winter ride experience, but will disappear long before another happy memory. Thanks to Santa Cruz and special thanks to Joe
Could there be a better end of ride trophy and ride memento?
No? I didn't think so either...

1 comment:

  1. How good is that! I had a great time with some great individuals, so glad you made the long journey to join us on our end of year get together, you deserved the beers for the miles you put in to get there dude, nevermind the journey back. Cheers.....Joe Whitaker