Oaxaca's Trans-Sierra Norte 2017 - Photo Epic

Nov 10, 2017
by Nicolas Switalski  


Welcome to the Trans Sierra Norte Enduro experience!

It’s been long since this idea first originated, many epic trips, lots of exploring and many more beers and mezcal that made this experience possible. Oaxaca has long been one of Mexico’s main mountain biking destinations, and it was only a matter of time that this adventure matured into this first edition of a multi-day adventure race.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Emiliano Zapata, the revolutionary represented on the street art in Oaxaca city

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Cempasuchitl flower, the traditional flower of the day of the dead! This flower was believed to hold the sun's warmth and was used to illuminate the way for the departed

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Santo Domingo cathedral is a landmark in Oaxaca!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Mezcal anyone?
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Festivities do not take a break during these days in the city

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The traditional Day of the Dead offering, the seven sections of each offering represents the seven levels the soul has to go through to accomplish rest or spiritual peace

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
One of the local delicacies: grasshoppers; trust me they taste awesome!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
"Copal" is the traditional incense used since ancient Mexico

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Many towns in Mexico preserve their traditional ways in one way or another, but Oaxaca among a few others has managed to adapt and preserve one of the most original festivities known around, this is the Day of the Dead. It may be seen with eyes of disbelief and some reserve by the outsider the way this celebration defies death and mocks it making the stereotype of a scary and unknown departure a original and satiric festivity.

The streets are filled with colour, dancing, festivities, and offerings in hopes to honour the spirits of the departed and for them to accomplish spiritual peace. It is a sight to be seen, and a world to be discovered, no image or writing can be enough to describe what this event really looks and feels like, so that is why this event, The Transierranorte, was born with hopes of reuniting fellow riders with one goal: ride some of the best trails in Mexico, have a great time and show our friends from distant places this magic party that goes on in Mexico.

Day of the Dead Enduro Race in Oaxaca Mexico 2015

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Day of the Dead Enduro Race in Oaxaca Mexico 2015

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead

Arriving to Benito Juarez
After a long ride on these old but trustworthy buses used to transport locals throughout this sierra, our arrival into what will be our campsite for a day in “Benito Juarez” is the first encounter with the famous Oaxacan “Sierra Norte”. Located about an hour and a half from Oaxaca city, this area has several interesting towns and villages that promote ecotourism offering nice little cabins and all infrastructure necesary. This is no touristy Cancun, this is the real Mexico, most riders can be proud to say that this is a place, believe it or not, few Mexican riders have been, and a place where culture and tradition has prevailed over globalization. We are right in the middle of trail paradise.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
"Traditional" refreshments before a long bus ride
bigquotesNo mames weyyy, mas cerveza!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Stoke is high!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
These buses are used to transport locals through the Sierra, they know the roads better than anyone.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
A short delay.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Goodbye Oaxaca city, hello Sierra Norte.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The first riders brief at the town of Benito Juarez, late night details before dinner
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Cabin life! This would be home sweet home for all the riders for a couple of days.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The cliche of camping, ah but it wouldn't be camping without a bonfire.
bigquotesQue ondaaaa!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Race Day 1, Benito Juarez
Day one must have been one of the longest days for many of us. This day was comprised of 5 stages. The first 3 stages were sort of a short warm up and fun way to start this party, with riders adapting to the terrain and finding their flow along the way. It will be needless to say again throughout this article that the stages here were LONG. Day one had one of the shortest stages of the race measuring 1.3km, but also one of the longest with a no less 6.1km long and physical stage, and to make this even more entertaining after this long stage we had the last 5.7km trail called "204" to finish the day up with a tired smile on all the rider's faces. The vertical gain of the stages was no more than 8 meters for the first 4 stages and a considerable 25 meters for the last 5.7 km trail, so do the math, it was lots of the "going down stuff" for the entire race.

Stage descriptions for day 1:
Stage 1: Moustache Vibrations: 3.5km, Stage 2: Jurassic Park: 2.2km, Stage 3: Casa de Cipriano: 1.3km, Stage 4: Mil Rios: 6.1km, Stage 5: 204: 5.7km

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Demis the local girl testing out stage 1, 12 stages to go.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Leigh Bowe was in tune with the Mexican festivities.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Marco Osborne trying to destroy my lense... he missed! Marco absolutely destroyed the field winning all stages except the one where he had a mechanical leaving him out of podium position because of the long stage he had to walk down, tough luck for him.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Loose tight turns equals tree hugging.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The last stretch of "Mil Rios Trail" is just what the body needs after a bike and body destroying trail... full on pedal sprint.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
First tech service after 4 stages, a well needed break to recover from the last brutal stage.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
What are friends for right?

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Mau de Avila racing the last stage of the day, charge down or else get stuck in the dark!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Foot out...
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

This first day of riding has given all of us the taste of the days to come, and the challenges that lay ahead. It's is just the first day and trails are already demanding and rough, finding the right balance between fitness, mechanicals, excitement and full on race mode is key to surviving the three days here in Trans Sierra Norte.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Race Day 2, Ixtepeji
This town holds some of my favourite trails in Oaxaca, they are long and steep and some are super flowy.

The day started out with a fresh cut trail made specially for this race, a super fun, short but physical track called "Cabeza de Dragon" that was perfect to start the day. Followed by a track that is one of my personal favourites, a long, steep and "switchback all the way down heavenly-like trail" called "Llano-Carreta". Stage 3 was high on the "funometer", a trail called "El Cerezo" which possibly is the closest to flying you'll ever be on a raw trail, you could tell by the look on the riders faces at the end of the stage this was a all round favourite. And to finish the day, none other than the famous "A Lot of Corners" trail, another classic Ixtepeji, "long, steep, loose tight switchback, arm pumping, finger tiring trail."

Have I said enough? Did I make you want to leave your screen and go ride some bike? Or do you want more? Well... Day three will have more of this, keep reading!

Stage descriptions for day 2:
Stage 1: Cabeza de Dragon: 1.9km, Stage 2: Llano Carreta: 5.9km, Stage 3: Cereso: 4.5km, Stage 4: A Lot of Corners: 5.8km

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Although racers slept in cabins most of the staff enjoyed inflatable mattresses and "warm" tents.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The view through the bus onto the camp.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Chilaquiles, Mexican breakfast delight.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Morning briefing went like this: Riders, we know you're pumped and stoked but please turn the "wattage" down a bit or we will have to hire more medical staff, haha!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Close call!!!
bigquotesOrale!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Erick Pirtle hammering his way through this completely new fresh cut stage.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Ariel Lindsley on one the the transfers.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Mexican Alex Fricke A.K.A. "Fricky Rude."

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Javier Chavez on what most riders would agree was the most flowy trail of the whole event: "El Cerezo."

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Roy Mora on the start of stage 9, last stage of the day.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Buca from Mexico loose right out the stage.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
This trail is called "A Lot of Corners," endless switchbacks all the way down.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
A view from a hill.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Last stage of the day, the stoke is high.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Post stage unofficial hydration stand.

bigquotesQue chingon!

After these long riding days, there's nothing like getting into camp and being greeted with some slow roasted piggies to enjoy with some cold beers. I really don't know if the riding is the high point of the day or the cold beers and good food after, but they definitely both go together so well and makes this a complete and truly satisfying day.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Three little piggies... well 4...

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Race Day 3, Etla
As in all multi-day races, the last day has always mixed emotions, the stoke is high for riding new trails again, the body is tired from the previous days, injuries and pains make their way, and knowing the race is about to finish makes all of this a unique experience. Riders must deal with this and know how much more is left inside them to make that last push to make it safely and triumphantly to the end.

Etla has another kind of trails, long, raw and physically demanding ones. One might think that 3 trails to end the day would be a step-back to the long days we had days before, but this is ever so far from true, don't be fooled between the accumulated fatigue from previous days this would turn out to be the perfect ending to this event.

3 long stages and to finish it off, one of the longest stage of the whole three days. I imagine by now, just reading this your arms are tired and your legs are sore, so I'll stop blabbing and let you see for yourselves...

Stage descriptions for day 3:
Stage 1: Cruz de Estacas: 6.1km, Stage 2, Veredita: 6.6km, Stage 3: Cieneguilla: 5.2km

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The long traverse on from Ixtepeji to Etla was an adventure, note to staff, bring a locksmith next time!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
"Cruz de Estacas" a long and challenging stage, first for the day and a long time favourite!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Argel Becerra from Mexico getting past the swoops of stage "Veredita"

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Gema, one of our medical staff arriving to the last tech zone of the day!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Don't be fooled, the heat here was on top, the white dust reflected the sun and made this little transfer a hell hole.
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Ariel Lindsley tackling the last stage of the race, stoke was high on this one, lightbro all the way down for all the riders!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
More Lightbro anyone?
bigquotesAy weyyyy!
So we made it. Three long days, that seemed much more. Can't imagine anyone asking for more, it was a plentiful menu of trails and I think it's safe to say we had dessert too and are quite satisfied. We had a blast and are now dreaming of the next one.

Hope to see everybody soon again in one trail or another, but knowing people finished with high spirits and genuine stoke after getting to know our Mexican trails brings great honour to me, and I am quite happy to have been able to be a part of this Tran Sierra Norte and share our trails with everyone!

Till next time Twowheeledjunkies!

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Riders cheering Dave our "medick"!
bigquotesChido wey!
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
The whole crew. Good times for the first edition of the #Transierranorte.

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Pro Men: 1st ERIC PIRTLE (USA), 2nd BOTSY PHILLIPS, 3rd MIKE DAY (USA), 4th MAURICIO DE AVILA GOTES (MEX), 5th JAVIER CHAVEZ (Not Shown here, never woke up for the party, haha) (MEX)

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Pro Woman: 1st KRISTA RUST (USA), 2nd LEIGH BOWE (USA), 3rd JAIME HILL (USA), 4th DEMIS VASQUEZ DOMINGUEZ (MEX), 5th HALEIGH SMITH
Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Open 40: 1st MATT PATTERSON (NZL), 2nd EDUARDO SOTO (MEX), 3rd DAVID ZIEGLER (USA), 4th ARGEL BECERRA ADAME (MEX), 5th ALEJANDRO GOMEZ RUIZ

Trans Sierra Norte 2017
Open Men: 1st DAVE SUTTON (CAN), 2nd VICENTE MENDOZA AREVALO (MEX), 3rd TAIT REES (AUS), 4th YURI BOGNER (BRA), 5th ALEJANDRO ROMERO FRICKE
Trans Sierra Norte 2017

You can check all results by day and by stage here

Special thanks to all the sponsors, without them this party wouldn't have been possible: Bikextore, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, POC, Bikextore, Rua by Sellamilk, TRP Brakes, Sensus Grips, Feedback Sports, Bikes & More, Flat Tire Defender, Osprey Packs, EHEC, Hexcentrix, Loam Coffee.

So if you're still hungry for another great Mexican adventure and don't want to miss out or didn't get to be a part of this amazing race, #TransierraNorte's registrations for 2018 are up now here!!!


MENTIONS: @nswitalski / @transierranorte /



Must Read This Week

37 Comments

  • + 44
 This was the most amazing experience in Oaxaca, racing in the first ever TranSierraNorte enduro!

From day 0, the day of the dead celebration, to camping high up in the mountains each night, and who could forget the after party!?! (actually, I think I did forget some parts). At every step of the way racers were treated to amazing Mexican culture and hospitality! The food was incredible, I literally had THE BEST steak I've ever had, and then there's the riding... OMG! Mexican Thunderloam is what I'm calling it. Every stage began with the lushest and loosest, organic duff muffins that this PNW loam junkie could gobble up. But then, you'd emerge from the forest into the dry and rocky valley below, right when your grip was just starting to fail, and it was a full blown rumble in the jungle to make it in one piece to the finish! Honestly some of the most taxing Enduro stages I've witnessed!

Perfect balance of shuttling, pedaling, and descending. I take my hat off to all the hard working people who had the dream of delivering this experience, as well as our awesome group of racers, who I am proud to have as friends now! Also, it was an honor to stay with the locals who live in the mountains and are committed to preserving the environment, which they were so gracious in sharing with us. Estoy agradecido

I'm already registered for next year...
  • + 5
 Congrats on the win in the wrinkle cat! This is definitely on the radar for next year, looks awesome
  • + 4
 Fine words MattPatt- I second everything above and wanna say thanks to @nswitalski for capturing it all!!
  • + 25
 Nicolas Switalski..GREAT JOB!!! Outstanding photography!! Thank you for bringing an event most will never see to us in great pictures. Makes us feel like we're right there enjoying every minute of it. Thank you!
  • + 1
 Indeed!
  • + 1
 Agreed. Those photos are incredible!
  • + 5
 One of my fav places to visit and expending time with my family,beautiful Country. Will be there next year and from there straight to Puerto Escondido. Great exposure to the people of Oaxaca they need help due to the massive earthquake that strike that area not to long ago.
  • + 7
 And just to show it's not a requirement to live in the big mountains, Eric Pirtle, who won pro men lives in St. Louis, Missouri!
  • + 2
 Thank you! I think everyone had hand and arm issues from the super long rowdy stages..no matter where you came from. Unbelievable trails and event. Top notch production.
  • + 9
 Registered for next year! One of the best Race ever period!
  • + 1
 See you there Señor Monkey!
  • + 6
 One of the best race/party I've been part of. Hats off to the team behind it all...

Already registered for 2018!!!
  • + 6
 2018 should be awesome! Hoping to make it!
  • + 5
 Amazing photos Nicolas! @nswitalski
  • + 4
 That settles it! I'm going next year. Amazing photos Nicolas!
  • + 3
 Amazing shots @nswitalski.

I would love to attend this. I need to go to Oaxaca bad.
  • + 2
 I hope that prize money wasn't in Pesos! Give me a case of Oaxacan Mezcal instead!!
  • + 3
 Congrats to Mike Day on the 3rd place. Stoked to see him doing well.
  • + 2
 Man I really wanted to go to this and it looks like I missed out! Maybe it's in the cards for this year!
  • + 4
 Great content
  • + 2
 Incredible photos!! Great coverage! Looks amazing! Much better than snow and -10
  • + 3
 Great photos. Looks like an amazing event.
  • + 3
 Excellent article, great racing, incredible places!!!
  • + 3
 Bravo Nicolas, super nice pics ;-)
  • + 2
 I just wish they'd add a few photos...
  • + 1
 Anyone wanna get a rad group together and do this in a couple years? Or next year
  • + 2
 Best pics EVER and great coverage.
  • + 2
 Have you ever tried using a wide lens?
  • + 3
 Epic Foto.
  • + 2
 Looks like an incredible event!
  • + 2
 Thanks for the great times and photos boys????????
  • + 2
 So much color! Love the photos - great wide angles!
  • + 1
 Stunning cathedral.
  • + 1
 Nice bus
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.089040
Mobile Version of Website