Since I occasionally ride Lair o’ the Bear to Mt. Falcon and back, last weekend I thought I would change things up and start from the Mt. Falcon trailhead instead of the Lair o’ the Bear trailhead. I had avoided this route in the past because I had heard that the Castle trail up to the main park area was annonyingly difficult. Call me lazy, but I tend to enjoy riding my bike over walking it. So after calling myself a sissy and “not a real mountain biker” a couple times, I was successfully peer-pressured into riding up the trail last saturday. I mean, how hard could it be, sissy? Well…I was humbled, and I felt like a sissy. Two miles of steep, water barry, rocky, loose gravelly, no shade, vision blurring, mountain biking suffer fest. So, I guess in retrospect it was entertaining, but during the climb I was telling myself that I would never do it again. Ever. Now that I know what to expect, it would be a piece of cake, again, in retrospect. According to this, the Castle Trail goes up about 1,600ft in 2.75mi. So it is kind of a grunt, but luckily it’s short. It makes the first climb at Lair o’ the Bear seem pretty easy so that’s another benefit. I did accomplish my goal that day of riding up Mt. Falcon, going down to Lair o’ the Bear, riding Lair o’ the Bear, and then back up to Mt. Falcon and down the steepness that is Castle trail. It’s not too bad going down, but the incline really became apparent.
Update: One week later I went back and rode this trail again. It was still hard, but much, much easier than the first time. Familiarity made all the difference.