On 3 October 1866 a famous battle took place near Miahuatlan during the time of the French Intervention, when Napoleon III dispatched a French army to conquer Mexico and install the Austrian Archduke Maximilian as emperor. This foreign invasion was vigorously contested by Mexican President Benito Juarez, whose financial and military resources were considerably less than his opponents. One of Juarez’ leading generals was Porfirio Diaz, who like Juarez hailed from the state of Oaxaca. Diaz relied on an imaginative use of terrain and deception to lure French troops into an ambush, which resulted in a clear victory and paved the way for Diaz to later capture Oaxaca city and eventually become president of Mexico, a position he held from 1876 to 1880 and again from 1884 to 1911.
As part of the 150th anniversary of this battle, the people of Miahuatlan staged a 35.4 km (22.0 mi) mountain bike race through the streets of the city and out into the countryside. Multiple teams from neighboring towns accepted the invitation to take part, as did many individual bikers. The race got under way shortly after 10 am, and the fastest cyclists began crossing the finish line about 12:15 pm. The last of the riders completed the rigorous course some three hours later.
In making their way around the race circuit, riders were challenged by an elevation gain and loss of 3436 feet (1047 meters). Miahuatlan’s city center sits at an elevation of 5191 feet (1582 meters). The high point of the race topped out at 6266 feet (1910 meters), while the low point was 5083 feet (1549 meters).
There was a cross-country mountain bike race today (9 October 2016) in the nearby village of Huayapam, so it was decided this would be the destination for the Sunday Summit Cyclery shop ride. Ten fellows set out from Colonia Reforma at 8:30 to ride to Huayapam. The group stopped briefly for breakfast along the way and arrived at the ecotourism park in Huayapam, where the race was held, just in time for the start of the contest. Well over 100 racers took part in the event, spread out in the elite, masters, women’s and beginners’ classes. The course followed basically the same route as last year’s race, with a couple of small adjustments to avoid some areas of high water around the presa in Huayapam. Both race contestants and spectators appeared to enjoy the day’s activity.
This Sunday morning — 25 September 2016 — dawned bright and clear, proffering a great opportunity for a gentle ride through the countryside around Oaxaca city. Members of the Nitos bike club assembled in the plaza in front of Santo Domingo at 8 AM and shortly thereafter set out on a loop ride through San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, Arrazola, Cuilapam and back to Oaxaca. All told, there were eighteen riders in the group. Through the morning and into the early afternoon the group rode a total of 21.7 miles (35 kms), with an elevation gain and loss of 1164 feet (355 meters) along the way. The high point topped out at 5523 feet (1683 meters), while the low point of the day’s ride was 5054 feet (1540 meters).
Today (Sunday, 11 September 2016) the Nitos group sponsored a ride in the countryside to a presa in the hills east of San Bartolo Coyotepec. It seemed this outing would be a good subject for a new post here at OaxacaMTB.org. Apparently, the gods of fate felt otherwise. First of all, my GPS unit failed to map the route. Secondly, because of early morning rain I did not take my camera with me, and so shot no photos of the trip. And lastly, we are having problems with this web site displaying properly right now.
Suffice it to say that the 24 people who took part in the outing (14 fellows and 10 women) had an enjoyable time. The group left the plaza in front of Santo Domingo shortly after 8 am and returned at 2 pm. The leisurely ride took two hours each way, and the group lounged around the presa for two hours, enjoying a picnic lunch and celebrating Salim’s birthday. A few of the more adventurous even went for a swim in the lake.
Sorry there is no map and no photos of the day’s adventure!
In doing trail maintenance work last week, we realized that a couple of short trails around the police firing range just off the Libramiento were not mapped on this web site. Oops! An obvious oversight on our part.
So here are the missing maps:
1. FIRING RANGE LOOP — The loop trail that follows the old jeep road around the top of the hill where there was once a quarry and where the police firing range is now located. This is a very easy trail. It is just .5 miles (.8 km) around and practically flat, with only 28 feet (8.5 meters) of elevation gain and loss
2. SHORT CUT TRAIL — This trail is the shortest and fastest way down for those who don’t want to ride the “Toro, Toro” trail or take the paved Libramiento. This trail takes off from the Firing Range Loop (above) and runs just .4 mile (.64 km) from the top to the junction with the Libramiento. It is rather steep, with an average downhill gradient of 17.3%. The trail drops 367 feet (112 meters) from start to finish.