The Killing of Iron Mountain

Here is a special contribution from a long time riding friend of my mine.   Iron Mountain is (rapidly heading towards the “was”) a classicly technically challenging hike/ride in San Diego County).   People enjoyed this trail because it was hard.    Once again we have well intended but misguided people in charge listening to the vocal minority of the trail users who want to “say” they did something hard without “doing” something that is hard.   There are plenty of sterile dirt sidewalks being touted as trails in the city of Poway.     The city has plans for additional trails, how about putting the sparse resources they have to making new trails instead of screwing of the ones we already have.     

The Killing of Iron Mountain

by: Steve Gordenker

Mark and I had a chance to get up to Iron Mountain, yesterday. We witnessed firsthand, the latest round of “Trail maintenance”, by Poway parks and recreation trails manager, Bob Hahn. Recall if you will, last year, I spoke in front of Poway’s city council, sat in on parks and trails planning meetings, wrote letters, and emails, and made phone calls to city council members and the Mayor.

 What a complete, colossal waste of my time.

The slow death of Iron mountain continues, at the hand of Bob Hahn.

 untitled1

This is towards the top, at the “Hemotoma” area. Large swath of granite removed.

untitled2

Wheelchair accessable.

untitled3

Ironic, no?

untitled4

They dismantled the Iron Meatball.

untitled6

Two military guys were hiking down Iron from the top. This poor guy slipped on the loose, powdery mess that Bob Hahn’s butchers left when they removed large portions of granite. He rolled his ankle badly and was unable to put any weight on it. With no way to walk out, his buddy had no choice, but to carry him out on his back. They were 2.5 miles up at this point.

 Thank you, again, Bob Hahn, for making Iron Mountain a “safer” outdoor hiking experience, by completely obliterating all of that dangerous grippy granite.

untitled7

untitled8

untitled9

Another iconic section of trail at the top , sanitized for your protection.

untitled10

Yet another switchback section cleaned and smoothed out by Bob Hahn’s wrecking crew.

Aliso and Wood Canyons

Bill O’Neil and I met for a cruise through  Aliso and Wood Canyon Park in Laguna Hills of Orange County today.  My last ride out here was cut short due to a mechnical so today was really my first time seeing the majority of the trails in some number of years.   I found it amazingly depressing how bad some of the trails have been widened with go-arounds that seemed to be at nearly every minor obstacle.   The Cholla trail for example is just a complete mess compared to a handful of years ago.  I wish people could just check their ego and get off and walk the stuff they can’t ride instead of making or taking the go-arounds.   (I know preaching to the choir here) 

 

Here is a shot at the top of the Rock-It trail. Plenty of go-arounds here as well.  This was a mighty fun descent (following the original lines).   Once down Rock-It we worked our way over to Mathis.  My memory of the steepness and length of this climb has been dulled over the years.   It was quite vividly refreshed today as it took quite a bit of gruntage to get my Intense UZZI up this climb.

Once up to the top of Mathis we continued up along the ridge fireroad to “Top of the World”   This was a good place to take a breather and enjoy the views of the Pacifc and Laguna Beach.   From here we went back down to Mathis and picked up the “Car Wreck” trail.

This was my first time on this trail and it was quite a bit of fun.  I managed to not get any pictures taken of the technical bits.  The picture above is just after all of the technical bits along with the namesake remains of an old vehicle.  This trail feeds right into the Oak Grove Trail.   A pretty section of trail.

The next trail we hit up was the Dripping Cave trail.   There were some nice tree lined bits as well as some short grunt working climbing in the direction we were going.

We farted around a bit at the at actual dripping cave

Some of it was just downright photo posing.    It was right about this time we thought we heard the sound of tiny bubbles trying to escape from finely crafted brown glass bottled far off in the distance.    We set out to investigate the sound and found the offending bubbles (in my truck).    Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA and Mission Brewing’s Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout were tasty accompaniments to post-ride chit-chat.   Another NON-Bad day to be on a bike.

Daley Ranch Hack-O-Rama Ride

Being sick sucks!    I have had a lingering cough/congestion for going on two weeks now they is really getting annoying.   My get well plan is based on schedule of copious amounts of NyQuil, Vitamin C, Cascadian Hops and English Two-Row Barley.     I have found it works quite well for either improving ones symptoms or reducing ones attention to the symptoms. 

I have been getting in some rides but not to either the length or intensity that I would care to do.  I have been feeling better for the last few days so I decided to do a larger loop out at Daley Ranch today.   There is plenty of climbing to do out in this area so there would a good bit of effort-per-mile here.

It was a great day to be out and about and I was not the only one with the idea.   The parking lot was packed and there looked to be lots of folks out who were obvisously trying to keep to thier New Year’s resolutions.     That is all great for people wishing to improve themselves but I think there should be a federal regulation banning the manufacture of Spandex apparel in sizes greater than 18.   Ladies, if  your waist/arse is measured at 325/85R17 or greater then maybe a nice cottton baggie short and fluffy blouse would be a good starting point.    It is like dudes in Speedos (in the US) if you ain’t sporting six-pack abs and could make a living in the adult film industry stick to board shorts cause nobody want to see that kinda stuff!

Post tramatic apparel viewing stress aside I had an alright ride despite not being 100%.  I had plans for doing a 23 mile ride out here, but the hack-o-rama was taking it toll and I snipped off the last segment to make it an 18 miler.   It was still a good day to be on a bike.

La Costa Stroll

Rancho La Costa Preserve is really close to Casa Del Bill so it is often on the menu you when I only have time for a quick fix of dirt.    Despite its close proximity it had been sometime since I last rode out here.  It seems like Elfin Forest, Lake Calvera or Daley Ranch had been getting more play as of late.

Some nice new trail markers can be found throughout the trail system.

Strolling up the switchbacks trail

Flag at the top.    There was some drama a couple months ago as the flag up here (which was put up with permission of the land manger) kept getting stolen by some unpatriotic Jack Ass.  It is awesome that we live in a country where even the idiots are free to express thier views in any manner they are willing to accept the consequences for.    Too bad the Jack Ass was also a monumental coward as I’m quite certain the general public would have expressed themselves in a manner that he would not enjoyed.  I’m thinking getting your ass whooped with a flag pole is adequeate consequence.   

Dumbassness aside the trails were in fairly good shape and fun as always.    Vista Del Mar Trail goodness above.

Tuesday Spin at PQ

Tuesday, I opted for spin through Penasquitos Canyon with the hardtail.   After riding the UZZI around for that last while, the hardtail felt like a  flatland rocketsled out a PQ.  It felt really good carry a good grip of speed under your own power without the assistance gravity.   I knew I was going to be riding the following day, but I could not help myself, I rode like I was not going to ride the next month.  

Of course that was all fine and dandy until about 3/4th of the way the ride,  my body reminded me that I’m at least a couple dozen jelly doughnuts and a growler full of Imperial Stout shy of being “In Shape”.    It was just about this time that I ran into one of my friends out on the trail.   There must be some kind of quantum physics formula that shows that if you meet a friend on the trail and your legs are at least medium rare on the “cooked” scale, said friend will be a hammerhead who will crush your punie little girly man legs into jello.  (Make sure to read it with the “Hanz and Franz” accent)

So there was no cool down cruiser back to the trailhead for me.    I was able to hold on (for the most part) and I felt good, good and worked over,  back at the truck.   It good afternoon ride on a bike.

WEBSITE NOTE:  My PQ page is way way out of date.     With all the crap with the “Tunnels”, Del Mar Mesa, and the destruction of “Intestines”, I have opted to staying out of that politically charged mess (at least from the website perspective).   If the dust ever settles I will update will update the page then.

Celebrating the End of the Day

There is nothing like a little celebration and the end of an awesome day.  It is great to reflect on day well spent with family and friends. One of my favorites is when there is a bit of great mountain biking in the mix as well.    I have been really fortunate to have lots of those days.    Today the celebration was for different reasons.

The day started off like some of my other work trips that have had some awesome mountainbiking through in as well.   Asunrise communter flight to LAX to catch a connector.  The connector in this case was Seattle and I have plans for a good bit of riding during my month long stay up here.   Once we got about the marine layer I was treated to pretty pictureque scene below.

 

 One of the other guys I will be working with on this project was going to drive up versus fly.  He has plans for some post-work vacation/roadtrip.   He offered to drive my bike up so I was more than happy not have tear in down, put in the bike box and lug it around the airports.   Shortly after getting off the plane in LAX and into the terminal things started turning for the worse.    I got a phone call from by work bud.  My Intense 6.6 had been stolen off the back of his truck.  Somebody in Kelso WA cut the fairly beefy cable lock and took off with my cherished rig.  I did have a long enough of a layover that all the phone calls were taken care of with the Kelso Police Department as well as make a few points online about the event.     Needless to say I was good and bummed.

My Baby when she was new (The shock has seens been replaced with a Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock)    The setup of this bike is fairly unique and considering that “Works” translucent paint allows the unique weldmarks to show through, the underlying marks on this paint is a vittual fingerprint for this bike.

Hopefully this along with frame serial number will help it recovery.  I don’t expect I’ll see the bike again.  

Needless to say that I was not in a good mood when I got on the flight to Seattle.    I was however fairly comfortable in seat 5C.   Short BEFORE take off, the little five or so year old “princess” in row 8 started screaming crying and wailing.      It was freaking blood curdling and I could see the tightening shoulders and clinched jaws of everyone within my view.  Mom made good effort to try and calm the little princess down….for all of about five freaking minutes, then she just became pretty oblivious to her little freaking scream box urchin.    We were given the okay to use the portable electronics you should have seen the mad scramble everyone was making to fire that those things up to try and drowned out that the baby terrorist cell.   The scramble was enough that the flight attendant actually smile and had to hold back some snickers.    Even with the music pumping you could still here the screaming.   Now I know the difference between a kid in pain and a kid being a pain.  There was not ear ache, no upset stomach, this kid was just an urchin.  Come on Mom, do something, NyQuil, Sleeping Pills, Pillow across the face,  sock in the mouth, something!    The descent was pure torture once we had to turn off our electronic mufflers.   I was fit to be tied when I got off the plane,   luckily I have a couple hours of driving to do and was able to chillax a little.

Because of the length of my stay here I was able grab a condo rental for the same price as a hotel stay.   I was pretty freaking stoked with the accommodations and location.  It was well into the afternoon by the time I was finally able to set down and relax for good with a tasty Pacific Northwest cold one.    Somedays you celebrate a day well spent, today I was simply celebrating the END of this day.    The good news about this Monday is there are a lot of people out there who had something truly tragic happen today and I was not one of them.     Thanks everyone who acknowledged the bummage of my day and offered encouragement and help.   You guys Rock!

San Marcos – Its not a F$%)ing Trail!

Tripe (noun)

  1. Lining of the stomach of a ruminant (especially a bovine) used as food.
  2. A slang term synonymous with rubbish, in the sense of something of little value, or nonsense. 
  3.  (see also San Elijo Trails)

Definition #2 particularlythe “something of little value” is the theme of this rant.

So for the last week or so I have been investigating some of trails not to far from my hood.  The San Elijo Hills area.   I was not expecting much and I was quite underwhelmed.  More than just underwhelmed, I was pissed at what the developer was allowed to get away with calling trails.

 

The Gardens View Tripe – Are you f$%^ing kidding me!  When two trucks can pass one another on it, it is not a trail.   It is a dirt road.

 

I laughed out loud at this sign.  “Give Life A Chance”.     What the sign from the San Elijo Hills Development Company should say is “YOU need to give life a chance, because WE have already bulldozed all the habitat in this area”

 

Take a look at the crap they have on their website.  18 miles of trails.   There is less than one mile of trail in this development.   There are over 17 miles of Dirt Sidewalk Pathway Tripe throughout this development.   Try a little truth in advertising.

The Double Peak Tripe.    The “trail” is the dirt sidewalk on the side of the pavement and then starts up the hill.     Where is the natural outdoor experience here?  You have either pavement or a cement gutter on one side and a wooden rail fence to keep from even contacting nature on the other.   Most of this climb is compacted and absolutely smooth decomposed granite.  It is a nearly sterile outdoor experience where you never escape development.   I have been on treadmills that were only slightly less interesting.   If you can drive a Ferrari or a Prius on it, it is not a trail, it is TRIPE!   

 

Do I even need to say it, “It is not a F$%^ing Trail!    TRIPE, TRIPE, TRIPE!  This is part of the 18 miles that San Elijo is selling as an attraction.

 

The Lake San Marcos Tripe.     PAVED!   I will not buy any blabage about American Disabilites Act Access with this “trail”.   What this picture does not show is how stupidly steep this thing is.  There is no Rascal, Humaround or any other battery powered mobility chair that is going to get up this thing.   The city has a formula for how many miles of trail the community should have for its size and population.   The mileage of this tripe counts towards meeting that trail requirement.  What does that mean?  It could mean less funding for real trails in the future because the city already has its mileage.

 

This is  part of the “Make A Wish Trail”.    I sure did make a wish.  I wish there were more trails like this in the area.   This IS a trail.  Part of it looks to be pre-developement but portions of it are obviously newer.

This is  the “Secret Trail”  aka Trail 90.    While it is fairly short this is good stuff that not only offers a high quality outdoor experience it is substainually less impacting on existing habitat.  This is the best legal and sanctioned trail out here.   It is also a legacy trail from before the develeopment started.  

Okay so maybe I’m being rash and a trail snob but this is some of the worst stuff I have seen in an urban area interfacing  to open space in San Diego County yet.   The dirt pathways have their place down between the homes, but running this crap all the way up into the open space is just dumb.   It does not meet the needs of the users who would venture up that far and it needlessly destroyed even more habitat by making the “trails”  three to five times wider than they need to be.   Arrrrrrrgh, What a nearly complete failure on the part of those charged with the oversight of this development.   I’m not sure if this failure is due to incompetence, ignorance, or just a simple lack of caring but it certainly did occur.  

You can download a map of all this Tripe  here and go see for yourself.   While it is a good workout it is not a high quality outdoor experience.   If you disagree, you need to start looking for some new places to ride as you are missing out on the good stuff elsewhere in the county.

Give the trails a break already!!!

With all of the rains we have been getting a good number of our trails have been soaked and need some time to dry out.   I see on a number of forums some selfish freaking idiots/don’t-give-a-shit-types going out on the trails right after the rains and rutting up the trails and going around puddles making our singletrack wider.  It amazing these jackasses are so hardcore they can go out during or right after a rain but have to go around ever puddle.   Anyone who does this crap is not hard core, rad or “gnar”.  They are a selfish jackass! 

Please give the trails thier due time to dry out and spread the word.  We only get to ride a mere 330+ days a year here in San Diego,  surely we can find something else to do for a few days after the rains.  

Here is a wet trail rating guideline that floats around every season.  It is just a guidline and after these current rains, the trails will need even more rain than suggested.

SDMBA Volunteer Appreciation Gala

Saturday the San Diego Mountain Bike Association had it’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Visitor’s Center of Mission Trails Regional Park.

The event started off with an afternoon ride through the park.   A sizable crowd showed up for the pre-festivities ride that included three different routes for various skills levels.

I ended with the group that I believe should have been called “Should have known better group”.

We decided to climb Jackson to Suycutt Wash and then up to the saddle between North and South Fortuna Mountain.  There is some steep freaking fireroads on this route.  Somewhere near the top of the saddle, I remembered why I don’t ride much here.   Freaking fireroads everywhere trying to be passed off to the public as trails.  Just because you designate something a trail does not make it a trail.  I did chuckle pretty hard later in the day when someone said this place should be called  “Missing Trails Regional Park”.   The rumor/good news is that the management is starting to see the light on sustainable multiuse singletracks.   Okay rant aside,  after making it to the saddle we hung a right and climbed up to the peak of South Fortuna Mountain were we got in some cool views of downtown, Point Loma and the Coronado Islands.  From here we got in some mighty zippy descending that included some hike-a-biking down a portion of “The Steps” trails   Before long we were back to Jackson Drive and dumped a lot of hard earned elevation down the gravely fireroad.

Back at the visitor’s center, I along with a bunch of trails rats and dirt divas enjoyed a good time hanging, grubbing and conversating with each other.  Some of these folks I only see during trailwork events.   It was certainly a good time.  

Some people looked to be planning for world-wide singletrack domination.

It was a pretty lively crowd and there was a rumor that a gang sign or two might have been thrown around. (I think I caught the highly secretive “Sparticus” sign in use)

Later in the evening, there was some absolutely funny awards and killer swag handed out.  Many Shimano shiny bits, cool clothes and various assorted goodies found there way to good homes that evening. Nobody left empty handed.

There was one huge item left to the end for SDMBA’s Volunteer of the Year.    For that Dave Turner was on hand to present Mike MacGregor with a brand spanking shiny new Turner Frame!   Mike logged a grunch of trailwork hours at SDMBA events over the past year, established and headed up the new Trailwork committee and devoted a mountain of time off the trail to help out SDMBA and the MTB community at large.   

Congratulations Mike!    

Special thanks to Andy, Minette, the Social Comittee and rest of the folks that put this thing on.  I think everyone that was there would say it was a really great event.

Comments still a problem

I am once again having problems with users registering to leave comments on the blog.  I had it fixed for a while, but issues have arised again with my ISP and blocking emails.   Hopefully I have it fixed soon.   In the interim, you can email or PM me on the various forum siteswith the username you requested and your desired password and I can set it up.

UPDATE Monday Jan 26th, 8PM:  Okay it looks like it is working again.  My ISP explained that over the last several monthse they have been doing a bunch of ANTI-SPAM stuff measures that caused some conflict with my “non-standard” setup.  Thier current configuration is working and the tech support guys tell me I should not have to change my setup anytime soon.   I have my fingers crossed.

For those of you who have attempted to register in the past and never got an email with an activiation link, you can go onto the blog and when you go to log in, select the “I forgot my password” option and you will be given directions on how get it resent to you using username you orginally tried with.  For new users all should work fine.

Good Luck 🙂

-Bill