Two rides, both with apocalyptic weather post.

The weather Gods were certainly with me this weekend. Saturday evening was the usual X-Factor avoidance schedule, although rather worryingly I was home to see a large part of it. I get the appeal, but just find it over long with no real personalities amongst the contestants - but good luck to Sam all the same. Anyway, the ride itself really was quite good fun. Lots of splashy puddles, racing clouds and a bright moon made for an interesting evening. Did the normal for this time of year spin over to Headley, and even with the bright moon some of those bridleways are dark. Certainly couldn't ride without lights as I sometimes do off-road - sometimes the moon is so bright on the more open sections lights don't really add anything. No dogs near Pebble Hill, which was good, and on Headley itself saw three pairs of eyes watching me from a field, which belonged to a group of deer. It's always lovely to see wild animals when out at night, and as I stood watching them I was aware of an owl flying around. I'm not into nature really, don't buy bird spotting books or such, but do appreciate wild animals when I see them. It makes the ride all the better.

Got home, hint of rain in the air as I came down the hill for the final run. Walked in the door, wooosh! came the rain. Nice one.

Oh and I'm starting to encounter dog walkers at night now as well. Some right off the beaten path, using head torches. And talking of beating, quite a few doggers out on Mogador near the Sportsman, plus the usual crew near Urban Kitchen. These are not out of the way places, but right on the M25. At least this week I didn't encounter the eight youth's of last week who were rather high.

Sunday morning, no ride for me as daughter has a function to go to. But what's this? She's double booked with Mom taking priority! Aha, luckily there's my muddy bike propped in the corner, lights still fitted, still slightly dripping from the rain. Gear on I was out the door by 9. Lovely and warm outside, minimal clothing needed. Warm cycling up the hill.... into a heavy, damp fog. Going over Colley Hill the wind sheer up the bluff was outstanding. Walkers and cyclists alike being blown over to the fence. Anybody with long hair had a trying time; one woman had vertical tresses. Like the deer the previous evening, this natural force made the ride fun and worth the effort.

The fog meant that for once my laziness in not removing the front light paid off. Not for reasons of being able to see, but for those of being seen. Walkers, horse riders and other cyclists popped out of the fog rather alarmingly and it was nice to give prior warning. I wasn't the only one to do this either; the horse riders were all in Hi-Viz jackets, and the majority of mountain bikers I encountered also had lights on. What a considerate bunch.

Stopped at Headley for a weak coffee and the proprietor was in moaning mood; no customers today. Guess I didn't help in just buying coffee and then promptly supplying my own cake. And whilst the day was warm for December, by heck was I glad to have a down jacket in my pack. That wind was mean.

Lots of mud, quite a bit of rain but an amazing amount of wind when out of the woods. What a fantastic ride. And the weather Gods today? Again, got home, rain came hammering down.