WCC Christmas Ride Out 2017
The official post ride report
What can I say? It was quite a night!...
Windmillers gathered in the chilli winter evening air under the little clock tower in the centre of the Town Square, bikes looking resplendent enough to cause passers by to stop and enquire as to what was happening. 6pm soon arrived and we set off, on mass, to the first destination - the Strathmore Arms in St Paul's Walden. This was the longest and hardest ‘leg’ of the evening allowing Windmillers the opportunity to burn a few calories before piling them back on in fine style at the bar. 40 minutes or so later we arrived, parked the bikes and headed inside to more than triple the normal Saturday night crowd. Drinks were quickly dispatched and we were off again, this time to the Bull in Whitwell. All was going swimmingly right up to the point when we left the Bull to take the shorter route, missing out Breachwood Green, as time was no longer on our side. Firstly Graham forget his helmet, and then, as Windmillers were strung out along the Lilley Bottom Road, a breakaway group missed the right turn to Ley Green and the next destination. Oops. Fortunately a passing car took us up on our request to ‘stop those riders’, beeping his horn and generally grabbing rider attention enough to bring half of them back into the fold. The rest? Well somehow, and I’m still not sure how, they managed to navigate themselves to the Plough and even arrived before us! Phew, we were as one, once again.
Time to head to our 4th and final pub destination on the ride - the Red Lion in Preston. Front running Windmillers circled the square outside the pub until everyone was accounted for when we headed into the garden, arranging the bikes in readiness for judging ‘The Best Dressed Bike 2017’. A willing independent ‘judge’ was plucked from the Red Lion Saturday night clientele and a pronouncement was soon made… ‘This one’, she said, pointing at Rachel’s bike. A worthy winner for sure, for the second year running!
Drinks were soon drowned and were off once more, back to Hitchin for the warmth and comfort of Mevan on Sun Street. We arrived bang on time at 9:30pm… a little too early unfortunately as our table was still occupied, but they soon vacated and we hurried inside to take our seats for the main event… meat meat and bit more meat!
Windmillers sated, it was time to hand out prizes…
Best Dressed Bike 2017 went to... Rachel… who decided the right thing to do was to re-award the prize this year to… Tim Swinburn. Unfortunately Tim wan’t feeling well enough to ride, but he had tuned up on an amazing looking bike at the town square at the start - Well done Tim, a very worthy winner indeed.
Biggest Contributor of the Year went to Andy Ross, as indeed it did last year - we’re happy to award that to Andy every year if he’s happy to continue organising amazing weekends away or longer rides closer to home - well done that man.
Most consistent Rider of the Year… John Blake retained his Crown, despite a verbal challenge to knock it off earlier in the year. John’s been there whatever the weather and is always willing to step up to lead a ‘version’ of the posted route - keeps us on our toes. Top man!
Two new Awards for 2017…
Best / Worst Crash of the Year went to Alex for his horrible ‘off’ back in May which is still preventing him from joining us on a Windmill Ride. We’re all very glad to see Alex getting better and fitter day by day and very much look forward to seeing him back in the saddle ASAP in 2018. Hope the Candy Cane prize comes in handy!
The "WCC Where’s Wally Award" for the most errant rider went to… David Brockwell. Another worthy winner. We’ve often found ourselves asking ‘Where’s Dave?’ when we’re out on the rides. Fortunately though, he usually turns up somewhere!
And so the evening came to an end, but not before I found myself the recipient of a new ‘Buff’, a fine bottle of red wine and a tall bottle of Thunder Toffee Vodka - yeee haaa and THANK YOU Windmillers.
Riders made their way back outside into the cold night air - quite a shock, most (sensibly) heading home while 3 of us headed for a little nigh cap at the Half Moon. It wasn’t until about 1:15am that I found myself cycling along the near deserted streets of Hitchin, on a bike with flashing Christmas lights and a helmet topped with a twinkling Santa hat - not at all suspicious should I have ridden past the local constabulary! “Been drinking have we Sir?"
Another excellent night was had by all (I hope). Here’s to another amazing year of off-road adventures with the Windmill Cycle Club (we’re not a club!).
Merry Christmas Windmillers.
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