moutain biking at otay lakes

I got some new tires and handlebars for my Surly Cross-Check a few months ago to try and rekindle my love of bicycling. This time, I got bars with a more upright posture and some gravel bike tires. Jordan and I were thinking these little upgrades would be nice to hit some city trails with as well as make it more comfortable to ride on the road. Since then, I’ve taken it out a few times – up the hill to Chollas Lake, or around Mission Bay – nothing too wild.

Since we had the Monday off for the MLK holiday – we decided to load the bikes up on Jordan’s new bike carrier (a Christmas gift from yours truly) and head down to Otay Lakes. I’d read that the trails along the lake were good entry-level mountain bike trails, and we were looking for some nature time.

we parked on the south side of the lower resevoir

We first picked up the trails on the edge of the (closed) parking lot on the south side of the lower resevoir. I’ve ridden my bicycle on dirt here and there – but most of it has been in the last year at our nearby park so I would not have described myself as competent and comfortable off-pavement. Fortunately, this first section was a nice wide gravel path with great views of the lake. I wished I’d brought for my binoculars – I heard a bunch of waterfowl calls that were totally new to me!

Eventually, we ran out of the gravel path and found ourselves on some singletrack trails – complete with cute and terrifying bridges!

which way to go 🤔

I have to say – this is the most fun I’ve had on a bicycle in a long time. I can’t believe I’ve never tried mountain biking before!

While we only tackled the south side of the lower resevoir, we did get very close to finding the trail for the upper resevoir. (It turns out it was above the bridge we went under.) Now we know where to go next time!

Those wooden bridges really tested my ability to not target-fixate. You’d think I’d have realized that was the issue BEFORE I just rode the bike completely off the side and into a mud puddle.

we both fell off this one, but i’m the one who rode right off the left edge into the reeds

What a fun day! I can’t wait to go again. I have a couple of things I want to get before we head back, including pedals without straps (a key component of falling into puddles), a new helmet, and a new rear brake pad.

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