The weather forecast for today is of rain, rain and rain followed by periods of heavy rain.

On the ride forums last night and this morning were loads of comments about riders following Rule 1: do not go out in rain. Sorry? How does that rule apply to mountain bikers then? In the Muddy camp Rule 1 has never applied. Mainly because I used to live in Wales - you'd not get many rides in if you didn't go out in a bit of rain now would you? So I'm conditioned to accepting rain as being part of mountain biking and I'll have no truck with the big girls' blouses who tuck up into their duvets on wet days. Having said this I also don't think that riding in the rain makes a man / woman [delete as appropriate] of you. It's not macho to go for a spin in the rain. It's a bit like riding a mountain bike makes you an extreme sportsman. It doesn't does it. One is just riding a bike in the rain, whilst the later is just riding a bike. I don't magically have more testosterone than you just because I slung leg over saddle in the rain now do I?

So, wet. Where to go? I seem to be back to riding solo "Billy no mates" these days, so I'm free to chose the time, place and duration. If I want to mince about, wasting time, I can. Today I had a letter I wanted to hand deliver in Epsom, so the choice was slightly arbitrary; Epsom it was. You can't take a crew out to deliver letters, can you? Venturing out into the rain was a joy. Duvet day or ride out in the damp? Hmm, being a blouse held appeal all of a sudden. Hitting the first bit of trail suggested badness was to come. Down the centre was a free flowing stream and either side was standing water. Buggeration - wet feet within five minutes of being out of the house. Normally all ride I mince around the puddles but today there was no point; just get on with it, accept the wet for what it is. Fair enough. Some of the puddles were huge though, essentially streams for hundreds of metres. The one over by the golf course was unbroken for over a kilometre. That's a lot of water. The golf course itself looked like a little lake, with the greens largely underwater.

Up over the hill the wet got bad. Bit of wind, lot of rain, it hurt. It really did. The rain stung any exposed skin. Worse, my glasses fogged up. They were so foggy there was no point having them on, so into my bag they went. So for the next three hours my ride was a literal blur, which was fun down the new drop-off section leading to the racecourse. Water erosion has made some lovely drops, with one being similar to the final biggie over on Telegraph. Normally hit them with a bit of speed, fine and dandy. This morning I was on the last one before realising it and was thankful for how forgiving mountain bikes are these days.

Dropped the letter off. Not good. Dripping wet muddy biker in the foyer. Left a trail for all to follow. Did spot a new American style diner by the racecourse - will try one day, but not today. Looks good; steamy windows and full of happy people. Figured a dripping wet, muddy biker wouldn't be welcome. Back out to the racecourse, back into an headwind, back to stinging. Saw some roadies duck their heads as they hit it, and heard a few choice words. So not just me then. Clothing working well. Not bad considering my jacket is ten years old, an ancient Nike Gore-Tex golfing jacket bought from TK-Maxx. No idea why, but I seem exclusively to use golfing jackets from TK-Maxx as wet weather cycling gear. Cheap, still Gore-Tex, and they do the job.

Route back a variation on a theme. Now uphill, all has changed. Instead of going with the flow of water and being relatively dry, now going against what are quite moderate streams. Now quite wet right to the point of not giving a toss any more. Well that is until the trail points downhill. All fine for some time, but then realise I'm cold. Wet, cold but not miserable. Of course I was carrying a warm top so could have limited how cold I got. Only problem being the top was a down jacket, next to useless in the rain. Own goal there then. Gradually begin to wonder how the mommy's boys / stay at home brigade stock their bad weather arsenals. If you don't go out in it, how do you develop strategies to cope with dire conditions or recognise when you're in a bad situation? Must have been a lot of people tucked up cuddling their teddy bears as I only saw one other mountain biker out.

Bike shrugged it all off with usual aplomb. So wet that chain lubrication wasn't an issue, water does fine thanks. Brakes a little noisy, suggestive of immense pad wear, hey ho, it is what it is. Lights still fitted from last nights' three hour spin out, and glad of it - came in useful on the little road sections, but more so off-road as in the woods it was surprisingly dark. Gemini Olympia headlight coupled to a C and B Seen battery worked a treat. I'm getting four hours use out of four cell batteries, which is good and the units worked very well in the wet. No worries there.

Ride notable for the cheery "hello" and gate openings from all of the walkers seen. Must have seen well over twenty of them in the time I was out. Normally get ignored even if I am friendly. Today each and every single one was like a long lost relative. Kind of nice that, isn't it? All out against a common enemy, the rain. Not fair weather people, not us. Hardcore dude, hardcore.

Got back home soaked. Usual drill; look after my kit first. Chain removed and plopped to soak in ancient home brew de-greasing solution. Bike washed down in the rain, mud gone. Outer waterproofs off and put into a bucket of Granger's proofing solution to soak for several hours. Packet of biscuits [fig rolls] eaten whilst fresh coffee put on to brew for a caffeine hit. Coffee drank whilst on the way to the shower. Shower on maximum heat, stand in it until can feel extremities again. This took some time.

Sat down, suddenly hit me that a three hour meandering spin against the elements and in running water is very, very tiring. But then I was also out on the bike last night, so that may well have something to do with it. Saturday nights now either consist of watching the X-factor with my family, or go out for a three hour spin in the dark. Go out for a spin then. Kind of an excuse really. On my night rides out I sometimes pass a fish and chip shop over near the duck pond. I've never stopped; never been hungry you see. Last night, single figure temperatures, couldn't resist so stopped off for my first taste of their product ever. Ate them in the cold all happy. X-factor or chips by a duck pond, alone in the cold? Every time, every time. Got home, singer wannabes on the telly. Some OK, but glad that I didn't bother to stop in. Wife asked me about the ride. She can't give a toss really. But X-factor must have been bad as she seemed jealous of my little adventure. Lots of questions about the chips. Funny but with my pub stops she never asks about them.

Duvet day or man up and have some fun?