I had been needing a little Iron in my diet so a ride out at Iron Mountain near Poway was in order. This place is pretty popular with the hikers so if you are going to ride out here you need to plan to be real patient and mind your trail etiquite as you will certainly have plenty of interactions. That is one of the reasons why it is best to do this ride on a weekday. It has been some time since I was last out here and I was quite shocked to see some of the maintenance that was done to the lower half of the Iron Mountain trail. There were lots of sections were most of the rocks has been either removed from the trail or buried in decomposed granite. While it may make the trail smoother in the near term I think it will cause more erosion problems in the long-term than it will fix. There were some sections that had been needlessly widened and debrushed to the point where they may never recover as the vegitation that stabilized the soil has been removed.
Luckily the upper half of the Iron Mountain trails has not been touched (yet) so the iconic rocks and technical features of this trail are still intact. The trail can be quite exhausting on the way up and on more than one occasion I had to stop and catch my brest breath. I felt like a boob for not being able to clean some of the sections that I have handled in the past.
After a nice break at the top it was time to play on the way back down. The chunk of this trail is always a challenge and we sessioned our way back down the trail.
Steve working an interesting line.
One of numerous gnarly switchbacks.
Steve taking a roller
After the Iron Mountain trail we hooked up with the Ellie Lane trail. I had nearly forgotten how much of a grunter it is get get up up the first saddle where the downhill chunk-o-rama starts.
Once over the first saddle on Ellie Lane there was some high quality chunk to tackle on the way down.
Steve taking on an interesting line. After the first chunky descent were would have two more grunt/hike-a-bike sections before the final technical descent of the day. By the time we got down I was feeling pretty worked over but stoked to have got in some solid technical riding.
From there we had some mellow cruising to loop back over to the trailhead where….
the marvels of modern MTB frame designs could be really appreciated. This Santa Cruz frame features a built-in bottle opener!