Four legs; two good, two bad.

More snow so everything and anything cancelled. Sent a text to AD; ride? Answer, yes. It's some kind of legal requirement here in Surrey; snow + ownership of a mountain bike = Big fine if you don't go out. So two out to play again. My fourth spin out in five days. My bikes are certainly getting used, which may explain the bearing failure on both DMR V8 pedals and what looked like suspiciously low pad material on my rear brake. I was going to swop it out pre-ride but that's always asking for trouble, and I was late enough as it was. So, oiled chain, poor rear brake, pedals with no bearings, shorts on, cheap softshell, seemed good to go.

Cycling over Gatton my fingers and Camelbak hose froze, but I defrosted on the way up so my fingers eventually coped with the cold. My Camelbak hose didn't but wasn't so bad that a blow back moved it all clear, even though this resulted in my carying a now fully inflated bladder - an odd sensation but one that would stand me in good sted should I fall, which oddly today neither of us did. Cycling up the Hill was interesting as there seemed to be no grip on the roads but loads on the trails. "Ride a road, slip a load" was the mantra of the day, and may well have explained the lack of cars on Reigate Hill. Time to stick to trails then, or get a set of these bad boys:

Can't see the point of ice tyres around here though. I'd like some but they'd be a poor £80 investment - the rubber would rot over the years before I'd use them three or four times.

Met AD at the top of Reigate Hill and he made the assumption that we'd carry on to Colley Hill as usual. Always a no-brainer that; why spend all that effort climbing the hill if you're not going to recover energy by then cycling along the top of it? Nah, mix it up MG, make it hard, so we turned around to go back down the hill. You know a ride is going to be hard when you go that way; it involves lots of up and downs, which indeed proved to be the case. Down AD's favoured snow hill, under the M25 and then the "rutted field from hell" nightmare began. I'd warned AD that it would be bad, but as his swearing gradually receded behind me I knew it indeed was. It's never nice that, cutting over fields back to the A217, but at least I knew what to expect but he'd never been that way before. I suspect it really ate into his energy reserves as he wasn't the same after that, bless. It's a horrid section but if you let it get to you then it screws with your head, spoiling the ride. Being a nasty git I kind of guessed AD would play into fate, so immediately afterwards I did another rutted section, this time much longer. It hurt me, and dismounting to clear a big icy log [too much bran in my diet....] I actually ran on a bit so he wouldn't see me walking. If you're going to mess with somebodies' head, then best go all the way, what?

I also wanted to go over the waste lands that form Mogador as when the weather closes in, it gets bad over there, yet the views are great. If you're going to be out in bad weather then why not hit the baddest, most exposed bits? And yes it was blowing horizontal snow, and yes it was bad but at the same time lovely. Within the M25 yet still remote, desolate and isolated. Again AD dropped back and I think he was glad of the duck pond cafe stop even though the actual cafe falls way short of reasonable expectations.

Yes, the duck pond cafe again. It was the only place open; even the pubs were shut. AD's coffee was cold so he asked them to heat it up. They did to the point where it was so hot it was undrinkable. Unfortunately it took a good gulp to realise the fact, by which time AD had burnt his tongue. It made me laugh as he vomited it all out again and back into his cup, but really it's a cafe to avoid. Especially as there prices are variable, our bill for the same drinks coming to an inexplicable 55p cheaper. We went in smiling, said a happy "hello" but got blank, indifferent looks back. Urban Kitchen on Reigate Hill is actually cheaper and more friendly - which is saying a lot. In going into the cafe I felt as though we were doing them the service, not the other way around. And boy were they ungrateful for it. On reflection I'd rather stand in the snow getting cold than go there again. Suspect they like nice clean Roadies, not horrid, smelly mountain bikers cluttering up the place.

On the way back we took the golf course route and it was fine. Iced up so grippy as anything. Saw a big group of cyclists out and they checked our rigs before looking at us. Wonder if we measured up to their standards? Funny the way some cyclists do that; no eye contact but they'll silently check your ride out to the last detail. They all looked to be out on £3k full suspension rigs which made me think. Here they are visually dissing our hardtails, and giving us up as inadequate newbies. Yet both AD and I own sussers for play days away, keeping the hardtails for hack duties. Are they the snobs and us the "chip on shoulder" riders, or are we the inverted bike snobs? Whatever, but I can't see the point of taking a heavy susser out on an essentially slow snow ride. My hardtail bike weighs 27lb and that felt bad enough lugging through the snow.

For the main there was loads of grip today. The only places I really suffered was on the roads, where my tyres refused to grip the ice. What it consistently was though was hard going. As I've been out so often this week, clocking up getting on for 100 off-road miles in the snow and ice, this hardness played into my hands and it is fair to say I left AD way behind. On three occasions he ended up in different time zones he was so far back. I believe he was riding to the Myan calendar he was so delayed. I'll not mention the fact that he's 6 years younger than me so should trounce me each and every ride. Ooops, did! Bad me. If you're reading this Mr Yeti of yesterday, then AD apologises for his bad behaviour. Actually he doesn't - where were you today eh? Tucked up in bed I bet. Fair weather rider.

The snow persisted all ride, and up on the tops the temperature never got above freezing. All ride my front mech refused to work so I did the whole thing in the middle ring. The fact that I did makes me wonder why I have a granny and outer. Time to go 1x9 me thinks, or at least get rid of the 44t outer. That'd take my bike back to 26lb which would be interesting.

And my rear brake? The one that I said was low on pad material. Well it wasn't. At home I stripped it down only to find it full of muddy goo and large amounts of lovely pad material. The goo had made the interior dark so it looked like metal on disc rotor. Once cleaned up the pads looked as new, which isn't bad for two years use. That includes four trips down Snowdon and two to Coed y Brenin. Thanks Superstar. My V8 pedals are now in the bin. Again Superstar will be the answer, perhaps a set of their 340g flatties? The V8's come in near 600g and I really noticed the difference in bike weight when I took them off. I hate pointless mass on the bike. I'm not a weight weanie, and neither do I like the idea of spending £1 to lose 1 gram, but if I can drop mass for no real financial outlay, then why not.