It always rains on a mountain bike ride in Britain.

You'd think that here in the UK it has rained for the past year or so judging by the amount of water around. Our local land-fill lakes have little waterfalls and the ground just about everywhere is soggy. The trails stink in places and their are mud sink holes.

Hang on there Muddy! It has pretty much rained for the past year, and today was no different on my ride out. Waking up outside looked grey but oddly bright and warm. A ride had been planned but quite frankly I couldn't be arsed. Why bother as I'd only get muddy again?

So, I minced around the house for a whilst; shouted at the kids for not getting ready for school, got shouted at by the wife for not getting the kids ready for school, got shouted at by the kids for not heaping a whole jar of Nutella on to their toast..... Hmmm, bimbled towards bike, moved it around a bit, decided that the option of stopping at home wasn't that hot, so got the thing out.

The weather meant I was confused sartorially and in "I'm a Princess!" land; what do I wear for the ball? In the end I chose lightweight waterproofs as I suspected things wouldn't stay grey and bright. Going out on my bike it felt both warm and not particularly wet, but oddly I remained cold. On the ride it again felt as though it should be warm and dry, but why was I cold? Turned out to be that very fine rain we get here in the UK - I was kind of riding along with it. In other words, riding along things were fine and my glasses didn't even get wet, but each time I stopped I could hear the pitter patter of raindrops on my jacket and it was decidedly not warm. Even now I'm convinced it is a dry day even though patently it wasn't.

All ride I was reminded of a little drawing I did last year. It's one I wanted to put onto a t-shirt but it's a bit miserable. Here it is. What do you Dear Reader think?

My ride out was perfectly fine and I quite enjoyed it. Yet at the same time for the whole ride I couldn't think of a single positive reason for being out. My mood was a bit like the day; bright in spells but generally a bit moody. Suspect it is my sodding lingering cold that is to blame. That and a low level sinus headache. Top tip; in life try not to beak your nose once, let alone four times otherwise you'll suffer badly with sinus headaches. It may also be a certain tiredness of riding in mud all the time. Every single ride now involves mud and has done so for twelve months. My bikes all sport at least three mudguards and I'm always reproofing kit. It would be nice to go out on a sunny day on dusty trails.

Even so, slight negative thoughts or not I was still out for a good solid three hours with no stop. Don't know why but a cafe didn't appeal today. It just seemed wrong to stop riding as both myself and the bike were tuned into the ride. Funny how that happens. Luckily the caravan cafe at Headley was absent and I stood forlornly looking at the spot for some minutes. For some reason though the car park was chock full. The weather wasn't brilliant, the trails are frankly crap and I have a cold yet the ride counted as a good one in my book. I'd even taken the clockwise route, one that seems to involve more climbing than descending - it certainly mullers the good descents as they are taken in the upwards direction. Guess the change in direction made all the difference? It just shows though; if you're a bit hacked off, a bit under the weather, then just make one small change and things perk up.

It's also apparent that a 3x10 set-up isn't totally warranted here in Surrey. All ride I thought I'd see if it could be done easily in the middle ring. It couldn't really as some climbs were a bit of a torque fest, and on one I spun the back out but caught it through the simple method of stalling. But I did it all without shifting the middle ring so it can be done with a bit of luck. Time to ditch the inner and outers then, and probably 350g of mass. Love cutting mass from the bike. I'll try the Box Hill climb before I hack at the bike though. Would be a tad pointless ripping gears off my bike only to find the big local hill being unrideable.

One top positive; Mucky Nutz fenders are utterly brilliant. I don't think I'd be without one ever again. They weigh nothing, yet do a stirling job. The gut fender seems particularly good.