A dozen riders showed up at the Summit Cyclery shop for the weekly Sunday ride on the lovely morning of 4 October 2015. After weeks of almost daily showers, the rainy season seems to be coming to an end. At least on this day there was lots of blue sky to entice bikers out of bed, onto the saddle and into the hills around Oaxaca. The destination for the day’s outing was the nearby village of Huayapam — or more precisely, the network of back country roads and single track trail in the vicinity.
The group rode a total of 18.9 miles (30.4 km) between leaving the bike shop at 8:30 am and finishing the ride about 1:30 in the afternoon. The group enjoyed rolling terrain, with most of the hill climbing near Huayapam. Riders accumulated 1772 feet (540 meters) of elevation gain and loss going around the circuit. The low point on the day’s outing registered 5104 feet (1555.7 meters), while the high point topped out at 5714 feet (1741.6 meters).
“La Carroñera” (“The Scavenger”) is an epic race held in the mountains just outside San Agustin Etla, a community a short distance to the north of Oaxaca city. On this particular day the contest drew a whopping 190 registered participants, all eager to test their mettle on this rigorous course, which ran 23.54 miles (37.88 km), using a combination of city streets, dirt roads, single track trails across the flanks of the mountain — and one section of tenuous trail running along the aqueduct that supplies water to San Agustin. There were three significant climbs along the way, the first being by far the longest and toughest, requiring contestants to use pedal power to gain 3711 feet (1131 meters) in altitude along the 7.2 mile (11.6 km) route from town to the highest point on the circuit — which topped out at an altitude of 9220 feet (2810 meters). The total elevation gain and loss riding around the course came to a whopping 6676 feet (2035 meters) — certainly a good day’s workout!
Those who preferred a somewhat less challenging course had the option of skipping the upper loop shown on the map. This reduced the overall length of the ride by 5.6 miles (9.0 km) and lopped off 2386 feet (722 meters) from the total elevation gain & loss for the day. Even so, the shorter ride totaled 17.9 miles (28.8 km) and demanded 4290 feet (1307 meters) of climbing and descending. Congratulations to all who completed the ride and earned a special medallion for their effort!
One of the most popular hikes in the Etla valley to the north of Oaxaca city is the trail that runs along the aqueduct which brings fresh water from a mountain stream into the town of San Agustin Etla. Water from this same stream was once used to generate electric power at a hydroelectric station in the nearby mountains, the ruins of which are now a frequent destination and picnic spot. This loop ride offers access to the old power plant and allows cyclists to ride along the aqueduct for a short distance before returning to San Agustin along a dirt access road. Be forewarned that there is some serious climbing to be done on this route, both on city streets, dirt roads and single track trails. This ride basically follows the first part of the 26 mile (42 km) course used for the famed “La Carroñera” bike race held at San Agustin from time to time.
The route shown on the map below covers 8.9 miles (14.3 km). The ride starts from the parking lot at the municipal building in San Agustin, which sits at an elevation of 5757 feet (1755 meters). The high point on the trail reaches an altitude of 7097 feet (2163 meters). The elevation gain and loss riding the trail amounts to 2034 feet (620 meters).
This Sunday (20 September 2015) the Summit Cyclery shop ride ventured into the high country around La Cumbre to sample two super single track trails. An assortment of trucks, vans and cars shuttled riders into the mountains and returned them safely to Oaxaca afterwards. The first part of the outing entailed entering the forest preserve at La Cumbre and riding the “El Cerezo” trail, a super downhill trail to El Punto. This trail has been upgraded recently, and a couple of jumps added to heighten the fun! Kudos to the crew that did the work! The El Cerezeo trail ran 3.45 miles (5.55 km), almost entirely downhill, losing 1730 feet (527 meters) in altitude. (First of the two maps, below.)
Once in El Punto, the group shuttled back up the highway and down a side road to the start of the 204 Trail. This, too, was a sizzling downhill run, made more adventurous by the mud on the trail and the moss on the rocks. Even new tires with stout knobbies were prone to slide around in the goo! Several riders took tumbles along the way, but everyone survived to tell their tale. This second trail of the day’s outing ran 5.3 miles (8.5 km), losing 2711 feet (826 meters) in elevation along the way. (Second of the two maps, below.)
A bright Sunday morning enticed fifteen riders to show up for the weekly ride sponsored by Summit Cyclery, located in the Reforma neighborhood of Oaxaca city. The destination for the day was one of the mountain valleys east of the village of Santo Domingo Tomaltepec. Normally an outing in this area comes with the guarantee of getting wet, as there are numerous creek crossings going into and coming back out of the valley. However, the rains this summer seem to have skipped over this area, as the stream had little water in it and the two reservoirs that supply irrigation water to the community were very low.
Riders left Summit Cyclery at about 8:20 am and traveled 25.2 miles on the round trip excursion, passing through Tlalixtac on the way out and returning by way of Tule — where the group stopped to enjoy nieves of various flavors. In the course of the day they climbed about 1240 feet as they wound along the trail through the woods to the eventual turn-around point.