You can lead a mountain biker to water but you can't make him drink it.

Well now. Snow everywhere this week until last night, 26/1/2013. Last night the temperature rose to almost double figures and it rained real hard. Woke me up a few times and I began to get Miserableitis - the ailment that a cyclist gets when waking up to incessant rain.

But what's this? 08:15. The rain has almost stopped and blue skies are on the horizon. I set off into rain that actually stopped within ten minutes. The skies cleared to blue, but then a bloomin' wind picked up right into my face. This wind lasted all the way to Box Hill, yet oddly disappeared almost entirely on the way back. How does that happen?

Whatever. Met AD up on the top of the hill. It was clear it was going to be muddy, but both of us were inappropriately dressed for a clandestine meeting in a Surrey car park. Both of us were wearing too much and hotness was a feature of the climb. All I had on was a pertex top and t-shirt. Really, that warm. AD was time constrained so we agreed to a "there and back" spin to somewhere. Being me I picked a place that would ensure that the "time constrained" bit of the ride was stretched beyond acceptable; Box Hill it was then. This took in the North Downs Way [NDW] and skirted Headley Heath. It was really, really, really muddy. Like mud followed by mud, with muddy track edges leading to more mud. Right at the start was a mahoosive puddle, so any apprehension over getting wet was soon lost on us. Normally we skirt the bigger puddles, not because we're Newbies who don't know better, but because neither of us like wet feet or graunchy transmissions - not Newbies but wuss's then. But today the theme was actually hitting the big puddles - you couldn't miss them so why not just let the Big Kid out? My shoes will probably take days to dry. In the end the best grip was to be had within the puddles so it was the sensible option anyway. AD I guessed was using a non-environmentally friendly chain lube as the puddles had that special sheene on them after he'd been through. [Note: I've just started using one of the environmentally friendly lubes, report soon!]

We slipped and slided all the way there, neither of us getting much grip which at first was disconcerting but once used to it just fun. Today was way more slippery than any ice or snow ride. Later on, coming down the chalk path on Colley Hill, we both had big moments but neither of us was particularly fazed by them. Sideways down the trail towards concrete posts? It'll be fine, no worries.

Box Hill was quiet, just a few stragglers there, not the normal crowds. I bought the drinks and was pleasantly surprised by the prices. After the abysmal failure of the Duck Pond cafe, at almost £5 for two drinks, just over £3 was most welcome. AD had his usual out of date mince pies, so we scoffed them. No idea where he gets them from; I suspect he just buys the entire stock of Morrisons and keeps them in a shed for twelve months.

The ride back was uneventful apart from one big gust of wind. No, not the result of stale mince pie consumption, just a big old gust from above. AD commented that it was things like this that blew trees down, which I dissed instantly but secretly put a faster spurt on all the same and ducked down. Like that'd help if 4,000kg of tree landed on me. "Man saved from falling tree by ducking down!"

Once again AD took the wrong line up the little erroded rise along the NDW and stalled half way up. He knows he does wrong here, and he knows he will stall, but the route he takes is normally the correct and speedy one up in the dry so worth the risk. The path I took up is doable more often but a right lung buster as you have to move side to side from steep bit to steep, stepped bits in order to miss the horrid tree root section. Naturally I berated him for his oafishness and he doffed his cap to my superior being and outstanding bike skills. You just have to put these serfs into their place don't you?

So no events? Incorrect assumption Dear Reader. Once again poor old AD had a mechanical that neither of us was inclined to fix. His Avid Elixir 3's sprung a spring into the rotor and neither of us could see past the mud to an easy way of getting in there to fix it. Turns out he'd also bust a spoke, so another trip to the bike shop A&E for him.

Guess you really want to know how the chalk path rode? Messy. The top section was all mushy ice, so we had to be wary but it actually rode well so we increased speed for the turn. This was fine, bit more speed please, thanks. Then it all went to rat shit. The trail is eroded quite badly. All mud, gullies and rocks. Fun but slippery. Towards the end I jumped [technical translation: I hit it before seeing it and flew over out of control] a gully and landed in a big mud and leaf pile. In no control whatsoever I went sideways one way, then sideways another towards two concrete posts. Only by realising that in braking I was causing the error meant I got through via the simple method of letting the bike do its' thing.

Naturally any and all of the mudguards fitted to my bike pretty much failed to work 100%. It was a bad day out, probably the worst for wetness in a long time, but I'm kinda thinking why are rear fenders so bloomin' big whilst at the same time so bloomin' useless? I was plastered in cack when I got back, and that's with a rear fender the size of an aircraft carrier. At home I remembered something called an Ass Saver that I'd read about a few years ago. OK Mucky Nutz do a copy, but why not get the original? As they are removable items I went wild and only bought one. Crazy guy, eh? Anyway review soon. It looks minimalistic, at 15g is, but it can't be any worse than every single fender I've tied to date can it?

Hardly any mountain bikers out at all. Where have they all gone these days? Never known the trails so quiet. Mind, having said that apparently it gets real busy over at Leith Hill or Peaslake, so perhaps that is where it is at these days?