Brian and Karen arrived in Oaxaca on 1 August, having moved to Mexico from Cuenca, Ecuador. They brought their 29’er mountain bikes with them and were anxious to explore the territory around their new home port. A visit to the rolling hill country of the western Etla Valley seemed a good place for an introductory ride. We opted to drive from el centro out to San Pedro Ixtlahuaca and a bit beyond before unloading our bikes and saddling up. It was a cloudy, cool day with occasional rain sprinkles. As expected, there was very little vehicular traffic on the unpaved roads that criss-cross the region like spiderwebs. We rode the lollypop loop on the left side of the map, below, passing through the small villages of Cieneguilla and Jalapa del Valle. That route covered 15.6 kilometers (9.7 miles) with an elevation gain and loss of 363 meters (1191 feet) around the circuit. The highest point was 1900 meters (6234 feet) on the road where there is a nice view of the church and environs of Jalapa del Valle. The lowest point — 1725 meters (5659 feet) — was in Jalapa del Valle itself. It was a pleasant outing that left the newcomers looking forward to future rides on single track trails in the mountains nearby.
by Larry • • 0 Comments
Boulder, Colorado sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains 25 miles northwest of Denver. It is home to about 125,000 people and the University of Colorado. Famous for its liberal politics and an easy-going, outdoor-oriented lifestyle, it is a charming, if very expensive, place to live. A rather surprising number of Boulderites venture to Oaxaca through the year. This past week a die-hard road and mountain bike enthusiast from Boulder was in town doing daily long-distance rides to Hierve el Agua, La Cumbre and other points of interest. Another family group of seven from Boulder were also in Oaxaca at the same time. This latter group rented bikes from Bicicletas Pedro Martinez and arranged for an all-day ride in the Sierra Norte around La Cumbre on Saturday, accompanied by other expat mountain bikers living in Oaxaca and a number of local riders from the Pedalazos club. The group planned to ride the “Cabeza de Vaca” and “El Cerezo” trails at La Cumbre, then zoom down the mountainside back towards Oaxaca on “Trail 204.” The ride went well, despite a couple of rain squalls and some muddy spots in the trail. All survived the ride and declared the day a great success!
by Larry • • 0 Comments
The fourth Sunday in April was another perfect day in paradise — and so another opportunity for a pleasant ride in the countryside around Oaxaca city. Rather than join in one of the several outings sponsored by local clubs or bike shops, three friends decided to go on their own. They pedaled from their homes in San Felipe del Aqua down through town and out into the Etla Valley west of Monte Alban. Upon reaching San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, they opted to ride north through San Andres Ixtlahuaca and over a ridgeline to San Felipe Tejalápam, then return by way of Atzompa. While passing through San Felipe, they discovered a community mountain bike race had just concluded, so stopped to watch local kids being called to the winners’ circle to receive their rewards. Overall, the distance covered amounted to 30.1 miles / 48.4 kms, with an elevation gain and loss of 2306 feet / 703 meters. With a lunch stop along the way, the ride took about four hours.
by Larry • • 0 Comments
On this second day of April, a Sunday, a couple of miles of the main street linking Oaxaca with Colonia Reforma, an upscale neighborhood to the north, were closed to vehicular traffic so that the thoroughfare could become a playground. The route was lined with pop-up tents and an assortment of displays and exercise areas — all part of a project called “Via Recreativa Oaxaca”. The idea was to encourage people to incorporate exercise of various kinds into their daily lives. There were exhibits featuring karate, yoga and Tae Kwon Do. There were pavilions offering dance lessons and others offering bicycles for rent. Several local bike groups sponsored leisurely rides up and down the avenue and around el centro. There were lots of people, young and not so much so, going up and down the street on in-line skates and skateboards, along with walkers and joggers and people exercising their dogs. A festive atmosphere prevailed and the hundreds of people participating seemed to enjoy the event.
by Larry • • 2 Comments
The mighty Titan Zapoteca marathon race held each spring in San Pablo Guila has become one of the premier mountain bike events in Oaxaca state. This year’s installment, which took place on Sunday, 26 March 2017, attracted over 400 registered participants — and a number of non-racing followers, like our little gringo group. As in past years, the race course was very challenging, with multiple long climbs and many treacherous descents. The race course is formidable, running for 42 km (26 miles) through the countryside, with steep climbs and scary, very technical descents. The total elevation gain and loss on the loop course amounts to over 1128 meters (3700 feet).