I needed to get some iron in my diet so the Saturday morning ride was Iron Mountain and Ellie Lane.
This place is well known as a serious chunkfest and I was looking forward to seeing how the UZZI would feel in this stuff.
Steve was the usual suspect today out playing on the clown bike.
I was pretty effing stoked about how well this bike was handling in the goods out here. Both and the fork and the shock were responding nicely with not bucking or squating in the travel. I certainly optested out the bashguard a handful or so of times.
Steve playing in the chunk. That is a 3.8 tire on the front if your wondering.
Another chunktastic section of trail. Steve accused me of cheating with this bike.
This drop into the switchback was not the problem. It was turn afterwards that took me nearly a dozen attempts to get. Geez, I really need to work on my happy face, I look way too serious in these shots.
See now this clown looks like he is having fun!
Some stairstep chunk
Playing on the rocks. We did not do many miles today at all but the terrian certainly made for a pretty high effort to mile ratio. Good stuff.
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!
Yesterday, Steve (Aquaholic), Mark (HecklerMark) and I decided to get our chunk on at Iron Mountain located between Poway and Ramona. The weather was a bit brisk and the threat of getting a little wet was moderate. All of the other times I have done Iron Mountain I have been solo and the temps were high. Today was a treat by having folks to ride with and not having to stew in my own juices.
There were a metric ton of hikers out today, so trail etiquitte was certainly something we had to be very mindful of today. As in all of my previous visits here, the hikers are generally freaking amazed that anyone would ride a bike out here. There were lots of words of encouragements thrown our way both on the climb and then descent.
The weather did not offer the best of views, but I always find it cool to look down from the peak and pick our there vehicle down at the trailhead. The descent down went well as all three of us seemed to be in a good groove for riding the chunk.
Once back down the mountain, we split off onto the Ellie Lane trail. I am not fan of the ill-placed peeled-log waterbars, then again they are quite a challenge. Once we worked our way past the Ramona overlook we into some good downhill chunk.
Steve being Steve on his circus bike.
Mark in some chunk
Getting some chunk on myself. This was my first time cleaning this sequence.
More Mark Chunkage
Steve and the trail ahead.
The top of “Final Exam” (Trickier than it looks)
Can you tell Steve hates to have his picture taken?
This was by far my best ride out here yet. A damn fine day on the bike, if you like playing on technical bits and down have a problem with some hike-a-bike.