Author: Deron

Dear Santa….

Any of the following for X-mas, please.

Especially this!

Oaxaca Flume Trail

Another day out in the saddle riding with the guidance of guide Carlos Silverberg. This time it was a full day grinding up and taking in The Oaxaca Flume trail. Starting from Mountain Bike Oaxaca’s headquarters, it’s a short bit of rolling singletrack to reach the dirt road that is 95% of the ascent. The road is closed to public motor vehicles so there is no car dust to suck as you climb ~700m in elevation over ~8km. Then again, this means there are no colectivos to catch a ride from. 🙁

Once you reach the junction with the singletrack, you work your way northward through pine trees on a skinny tread of trail that is thickly covered with dry pine needles. Elevation drops, but after each ravine crossing (dry during this time of year, thankfully) you can expect a brief climb back out of the ravine before the more typical rolling flow across the ridges. The slippery pine needles and occasional rock band keep your attention, but the biggest challenge is just keeping your line on the thin trail as it traverses very steep slopes.

Eventually there is a sustained downhill (~1km) which departs the pine forest and drops you into the elevation of the scrub oak coverage. The trail utilizes an erosion-worn rut full of scree and blocks of rock…and in the current dry season – lots of dry leaves (~15cm deep or more). No large drops but pretty much steady 15 – 30cm jumble of rock crud to plow the whole way down, with the occasional sharp turn &/or 20 – 45cm ledge or pile-o-crap to descend.

From there a ~0.75km climb up a steep slope with occasional breather breaks heads to the northwest and allows the trail to connect over to the next big valley. The reward for the climb is an extension in the final descent, as the trail will cross back to the southern ridge as it winds its way back to the west on its return to the Etla valley.

The Oaxaca Flume trail’s namesake, the old hydroelectric facility’s water flume, is visible across the valley to the north as the trail heads west at this, its most northern point. The flume appears as a landscape scar running along the contour line across the far south-facing slope. As the trail dives down to the valley it follows a well-worn donkey trail that is full of the typical scree and baby-head boulders. Yum!

Once down out of the scrub oak and into the weeded fields and occasional corn-field, countless social trails crisscross the area — i.e. multiple options exist for routing your way home or adding extra kilometers. For this outing we headed across the small valley to the outcropping hill known as La Corona (The Crown) and ran down its eastern flank and on into San Pablo Etla for lunch before returning to HQ.

I STRONGLY urge you to hire a Mountain Bike Oaxaca guide the first few times you take on The Oaxaca Flume. Using the GPS, it would be easy enough to find the singletrack turn off from the Etla Ecopark dirt road but the trail eventually crosses MANY intersections or heads through low, grassy vegetation that obscures the route. As noted above, the bottom part of the trail involves the massive network of social and improved trails near the populated areas, but even though this would just lead to alternate routing/mileage, one could easily get totally lost in the middle sections of the trail. Besides, having a guide will have somebody giving you an idea of what to expect on the trail and allowing you to ignore navigation and totally focus on drinking deeply from The Oaxaca Flume trail.

Physical Difficulty: Difficult (A shuttle up the road would cut this to Moderate)
Technical (i.e. IMBA) Difficulty Rating: Intermediate-Advanced / Blue Circle – Black Diamond


Outing – 2013-02-04 Ride (aka Great White Force from the Great White North)

I went over to Etla to ride with a tour today.  Geoff and Glen(n)  were in town visiting and deciding to go out with Carlos for a sampling of Oaxaca singletrack.

D, G, G on the trail

Scouting for an Etla to SFdA Connector

After a short Thursday Morning No-Drop Group Ride with Larry and Judah, Carlos and I headed up Trail HFR to check on the post-rainy-season condition of Trail BK and to scout for possible singletrack trails to connect over to the trails Carlos and his amigos have built in the Etla hills.  Our ride/scout GPS data is in grey, other trails and scouting efforts in the Viguera valley area are also included.  In short, we didn’t find a way that gets us far enough north, but we were please to find Trail BK in such good condition and to be reminded how interesting and fun that trail is.  We’re going to pursue pushing it on to the north and thus provide a bi-directional rideable route of singletrack. Care to help us?

To better examine these map items, instead of displaying a small map here, please load the map data in GoogleMaps (opens in a new window)

Here is the GPX file.

Here is the KML/KMZ version.


Outing – 2012-12-06 Ride (Yet Another CO Gringo)

Quick (morning) ride to introduce new amigo Judah to a sampling of some of the singletrack of the SFdA area. I.e. Trails TTT, R, MMD, and LP


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