Muddy Ground takes the green jersey on the Col du Box

OK Dear Reader, you know this blog isn't like others. You know the ones; where everything is positive. Here you get the warts as well as the cream. Today started off shit. Yesterday our daughter woke me up at 6am by shining a torch in my face. I hate 6am. Wibzo our cat then spent the day bringing in a constant stream of dead or semi-dead birds. Five in the end. In the afternoon I took boy child to a party - have you been to a 6 year olds party lately? Some are good, but this one was dire. The daughter variant had some mates around for a sleepover. First rule of sleepovers? No sleep! They finally went off at about midnight, but boy variant got us all up again at 5am.

So at 7am I was grumpy. Had an argument with the wife as she took umbridge to my changing tyres in my garage workshop. Unreasonable that, and why she calls it a "kitchen" freaks me out - like she's never cooked anything in her life. Cow. So off I set to meet AD up the top. As normal. He did want to go to Leith Hill, but, one I'm intransigent and don't do as asked, and two, it's rained all week so would be horrid up there. As it turned out is was horrid over here, so all I achieved in saying no was to cut my own nose off to spite my face. Next time eh? But I do have a negative view of bikes on cars that I need to see a therapist over.

But for me it was a good ride. I've been out a few times of late, and it shows. Whilst knackered with no energy at the start, I soon got into it and managed the whole ride at perhaps 70% effort whilst still maintaining a decent speed and kept AD in check. AD has not been out so sweated a bit more - I'm guessing he was at 80% effort. This showed on Box Hill where I got up faster than him. Not by much, but first is still first, go ask Wiggins. Now this may not sound like much, but I've never beaten him up any hill. He's so much younger than me as well, so his pride must be shattered. A broken man, shame.

Ooo, but then I was a wuss coming down Stane Street. AD had a slide early on, and then I had one just as it starts to go fast. We were still quick, but could have gone a little faster had I not been wary of the chalk surface. Having said this the trail was in poor condition at the end, being covered in half bricks and thick mud.


Mud. Must mention it as there was a lot.

Enough about mud, you know what mud is. It's brown, sticky and slows you down. Naturally my PACE being a UK designed bike has zero mud clearance and clags up. 2.1" tyres are about its limits. Bit crap isn't it?

Must mention the riders we met. Now being polite AD and me show signs of enjoying life beyond bikes. We are not thin. Today in comparison to most of the other riders we looked as though we were on some hunger strike. Boy were there some fatties around. "Oh it's July; must get the bike out" seemed the order of the day. And you know the type; had it once, still got a bit, but hide the loss by just going fast in certain bits then stopping for a mystery mechanical. We zipped past two, and the one in front I had a notion he'd be a dick. Sure enough he split us later on and hung on to AD. Now he was stuck as we entered a bit of Singletrack where AD has a bit of a break from going fast and slows down to let us old folk catch up, so we formed a little line and I buzzed this guy's rear tyre. Literally. At the mid point I guessed this guy would just stop, and sure enough he did. Saw him later on our way back helping his mate fix a puncture. For one second I felt a shit for being all superior earlier on, but as I'm from the Midlands that soon passed. He had a nice looking rig but really needs to get out more - one suspects if he did we'd be in his dust. But bar ends on a full susser? Is that socially acceptable these days? And they were the big old curved ones that Onza used to make.

My bike now looks trashed again. I had to fix a semi-seized headset, strip one pedal and mal-adjust my gears pre-ride, so this weather is taking its' toll. Love the ride, company is good (thanks for the cake!), don't mind the weather but get a bit tired cleaning my bike. Anybody who sees my bikes may be surprised at this, but I do dislike cleaning them. Why? Because when I start I'm on that road to detailing the blooming' things - cleaning spokes, down in the rotors and every single chain link. Bit anal really.

The other thing of note was my use of ghetto energy drinks. I baulk at the cost of proper ones, as they are just sugared water. For some reason I was looking at diarrhoea products this week (I have a bizarre job sometimes) and it struck me that the recovery ones are just basic energy drinks. They replace lost salts. Aha thought I, I'll make my own energy drink. I've no idea if they work, but they taste awful. As I'm sure you guessed already. May be better with some fruit juice added. But by then I may as well just buy a proper one! For once wife agreed with me that the idea was sound in practice, and as she works in the medical field she may know. But really it's one of those products you consume that you can still taste hours afterwards. One suspects a good belch tomorrow will reunite me with the taste.

Knog products. I've not much experience of them, but what experience I do have suggests that they may be shit. Last week in one big storm I felt very exposed on the road so this week I put a little Knog white LED on the front. It's encased in silicone rubber and promises waterproofness. Now they may have different tests to me, but mine got wet. It came on and did random things that little lights do. It would not go off. It didn't do much illuminating though.

iPads. Also shite. Originally this was written on one. Every "the" was changed to a single e, some letters were randomly changed to capitals, and paragraphs extinct when published. It's kind of handy for surfing though. Other than that get a laptop. Better.