2008 California Mountain
Unicycle Weekend

October 17-19 -- San Diego, California
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  • Details:
    Saturday - Oct 18th, 2008

    (times subject to change)

    John Foss on the Iron Mountain Trail
    John Foss on the Iron Mountain Trail

    Directions for all Saturday events (in a more printer-friendly format)

    8:00 AM MUni: Iron Mountain/Ellie Lane in Poway, CA
    Trail map image
    This is one of our favorite Muni rides. Various books state this is a 6.4 to 6.63 loop trail. The trails are well marked and well maintained.The summit of Iron Mt. is close to 2700' and offers a great view. From the trailhead, head east. The beginning of the trail is nearly flat. Do not take the first two paths that go to the left, keep riding straight until you begin to climb.

    Iron Mountain offers some of the best muni in the San Diego area. This trail changes constantly, varying in terrain from easy fire road at the beginning (0.75 mile only), to easier rocky sections, to tricky, harder (but still rideable for most everyone) rocky sections, to hardcore rocks and drops, sprinkled throughout with many tasty water bars for never a dull moment. Ridden for all it's worth, this trail will wear out even the hardiest riders.

    One of the nice features of Iron Mountain is that it offers many options to tailor the ride to your liking. You can make this a short, medium, or quite long ride all from the same trailhead start/finish. Here are some options to consider:

    1. For a shorter ride that includes a mix of fire road, water bars, and several challenging rocky sections and drop opportunities, proceed up the main trail until you reach a "tee" intersection, with a choice between going right or left. That's 1.45 miles up to there, which is halfway to the peak. If you've seen enough good stuff to ride on the way up, then just turn around and go back down.

    2. Probably the most popular ride choice will be to go to the peak and back down. Start the same way as #1 above, going up the main trail to the "tee". Then turn right (there's a sign) and head on up to the peak, another 1.45 miles. Going up from the tee, it's only moderately technical for the first half, and then it gets much harder from there on up, with many switchbacks. The view from the peak (assuming clear weather) is fabulous and definitely worth it even if you hike up the whole last quarter of the distance. And if you want the bigger drops and rocks, there are plenty of rocks to play on at the top.

    Of course, you can turn around at any point if you want to shorten the ride. One common point for this is what we call the "big rock". About ¾ the way up the whole trail (or halfway up from the tee) is a huge rock right at trailside (there are lots of huge rocks all over the place, but this one's right there at trailside so it's hard to miss). That's a good shady spot (for a few people anyway) for a break, and a good turnaround if you don't want the heavy technical stuff that's ahead up the trail.

    3. For the best ride, we suggest returning down the Ellie Lane trail rather than going down exactly the way you came up. To do this, after you descend from the Peak, you will see a "Tee" intersection with trail markers for the return to Iron Mt. or the choice to continue onto Ellie Lane. In any case, the sign points out which way to go . You are essentially riding a giant loop to get back to the original trail. Ellie Lane is much less visited that Iron Mountain, so our group may be the only one on this part of the trail. As you are heading back toward the Ellie Lane staging area, make a left turn onto Wild Horse Trail, so you avoid having to walk back to the Iron Mt. Staging area. This is indicated by the dotted lines on the Green colored Iron Mt. Trail Map included with your Registration Package. Returning down Ellie Lane is roughly twice the distance versus going back via the Iron Mt. trail. If you miss the Wild Horse Trail you end up on Route 67 at the Ellie Lane staging (parking) area (which is about a mile away from the main trailhead along Route 67).

    You should also know that taking the Ellie Lane trail will require some additional climbing. There's a saddle formation among the hills, and you've got to get over it before the trail goes consistently down. But if you're into epic, then this shouldn't put you off any!

    NOTES: There is NO water available along this trail! It can get very hot on Iron Mountain, yes, even in October. Bring PLENTY of water. Also bring something to eat…this trail requires lots of energy! There are a couple of porta-potties about a half mile up the main trailhead (along the fire road). No other facilities.


    Saturday Afternoon Events Beginning at 3:00 PM:

    Location for all Saturday afternoon/evening activities: Ranch of Bill Fincher, 15956 Wood Valley Trail, Jamul, CA 91935.

    Coker/36" Race, 3:00 PM:
    We have created a dirt bike trail on the 10 acres of Fincher property, added an extension to the dirt road beyond his home, and will have riders complete three loops of this trail for a speed race. This is an ungraded, non-technical trail going through the Fincher's naturally-occurring boulder gardens, horse fields, and local unpaved street for approximately 1 mile per loop or 3 miles total. This trail has a very quick ride with small turns requiring the rider to focus on the path. There are some steep parts and riders may want to bring 125-150 crank for their 36" wheels. Smaller wheels with geared hubs will also be allowed.

    Trials Competition, 3:30 PM:
    The Trials Competition in at the Fincher ranch will consist of approximately 20 lines, mostly from natural boulders, several from stumps, long sections of tree trunks, poles and balance beams (2 X4's) and several built from pallets, thanks to our favorite builder, John Quadros. The afternoon before the competition, volunteers are more than welcome to help us fine tune the lines. There are endless clusters of boulders to work with.

    This year, in case of a tie for the Trials Competition, we will have judges count each attempt at a line in addition to giving a point for each line competed. Only in the event of a tie, will we use the "attempts" to determine a winner. The least number of attempts overall will be the winner.

    Dinner and Awards Banquet, 6:00 PM:
    The Big Kitchen is catering this delicious meal, and it will include Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad, raw vegetables, Brownies, and drinks. This is the same meal they prepare for our Local Fern Street Circus during performances.

    After dinner, we will give out the awards. We have created a Podium from bales of Straw. If you have portable chairs and can easily bring them, please do so. If you local riders have any portable awnings, these would also be appreciated in case the heat does not abate. Lastly, bring your musical instruments and juggling items for the after dinner party!

    Directions for all Saturday events (in a more printer-friendly format)

    Iron Mountain Trail Map and Elevation Profile (click to enlarge)

    Iron Mountain Trail Map

    Iron Mountain Elevation Profiles


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