The Boulder Connection

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!

Sunday Ride In The Country

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. 

Via Recreativa Oaxaca

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.

Titan Zapoteca 2017

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).

Exploring New Territory

Three expats living in Oaxaca set out on this bright Thursday morning in late March to explore some new territory in the Sierra Norte mountains to the north of Oaxaca city.  Using a minivan to haul themselves and their bikes into the high country, the trio drove north on Hwy 175 through La Cumbre to El Punto, then took a newly-paved country road to San Pedro Nexicho where they unloaded the bikes, got in the saddle and rode to San Matias Zoquiápam and back, covering just under thirteen miles (21 kms) along the way. Although the total elevation gain and loss was about 2000 feet (609 meters), the logging roads used were never particularly steep so the pedaling was easy. It was a warm March day in the Valles Centrales, but the temperature in the mountains was perfect for such an outing. Alex, Andy and Larry spent three hours on their out-and-back ride, taking time along the way to stop for refreshments at a trout farm and restaurant tucked into the hillside along the way. An excellent time was had by all. 

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