Let me go straight to my point. The version of myself that traveled to these magical mountains is not the same person that returned from that travel. To say that the whole experience of being at the top of the world in the middle of the Mexican desert was mind-changing experience would be a complete understatement!
Real de Catorce is a "Magical Town" in the state of San Luis Potosí, in central Mexico. Located on a desert plateau in the Sierra de Catorce, it was a prosperous colonial town with silver mines. To get there, you have to go through the Ogarrio Tunnel, that crosses the mountains of the region. The church of the Immaculate Conception, from the 18th century, contains the sanctuary of San Francisco de Asís, a very popular place of pilgrimage. Real de Catorce is one of the towns that belong to the holy land known as Wirikuta. It is one of the most sacred territories of the cosmogony of the indigenous Wixarika (it is pronounced wirrarica, Huichol) since according to their beliefs the creation of the world took place in that site. It belongs to the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, part of the municipalities of Catorce, Charcas, Matehuala, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa de La Paz and Villa de Ramos. Since 1998, it has been part of the UNESCO World Natural Sites Network.
Now you understand why the entire place is so so full of energy and an amazing vibe!
As I have mentioned before on my blogs the entire country is full of regional Enduro Championships and this time the Northern Enduro series have chosen Real de Catorce to be the venue for the 2nd stage. This place is already known due to another MTB race, The Wirikuta Bike which receives almost 1200 rides from all over the world who compete in a XC Marathon Race. The town is already used to these sort of events and the topography proves to be one of the key factors to hold an enduro race.
After a 5 hour ride from the capital city I arrived in the midst of a turnmoil of tourists mountain bikers and locals, the town never sleeps and the entire place oozes energy from its walls. I got to my hotel, a very old and rustic place with many stories to be told and then proceeded to help with whatever I could.
After a brief time getting to greet many known faces and dear friends I had to take some rest. At 5:30 AM we were supposed to be at the top of the entire region in a place known as the ghost town and all of the 5 stages started from there.
Due to its geography and weather the surface of the terrain makes up for a gigantic rock garden. The entire race is a full on technical feature made for only those who are not afraid of wet spiky and sharp rocks with daunting slides and off cambers. After each stage you had to climb up again and find the next start which was indeed a very tough and demanding thing to achieve, hence why the local municipality offered a very amazing way to help. For a small fee you had the chance to be taken up in a horse and to be lifted up as many times as you wished to.
I usually walk the whole race stages and don´t really have any problem with it but in this case it was quite the challenge, the overall altitude was around 3000 Km above sea level and the air was very thin which made quite the struggle at my lungs. After some deliberation, I decided to stick to the 3rd and 5th stages of the race.
The 3rd stage was located at the south of the town in a small community named "Milagros" or miracles, it consisted mainly of off camber rocky sections with fast descents and some nasty sharp rocks made of granite. Due to this I found many riders who crushed their rims and busted their tires. Here are some highlights of the stage.
After spending some time there I decided to travel all the way through the 5th stage that was almost 30 Km from where I was. Got back to the town and started to climb again to the northern part of the race. And that's how I got to the final stage. It was made of very calcium rich rocks with tons of sliding pebbles and very demanding features. I was surrounded by nobody and I felt I was being engulfed by the mountain and then you hear it, the roar, the noise, the sound of tires blazing the mountain. Here are some highlights of the stage.
Finally, the race was over. The brotherhood was at its peak! we waited for the final racers and got to celebrate the winners and to party like animals!
I can honestly say that the whole experience in Real De Catorce was life changing and I can tell I wasn´t the only one who felt that way. It is impressive how much energy you can feel, how the streets suck the stress of your daily life and spit you up renewed and carelessly happy. The work done by the Enduro Y Trail team was astounding to say the least and the whole race proved to be a must go for next generations. These sort of events leave a very big money quantity on the local markets, food sellers, hotels and service providers leading to a very healthy relationship between the national enduro series and the hosts of each championship and race. The entire scene keeps growing on a fast pace and each race you see more and more riders migrating from other disciplines such as XC or even Road riding.
It may be kinda cheesy to say but the Mexican Enduro scene is like no other, each race you go you feel like you're greeting family relatives, it does not matter whether you haven´t seen each other in many months or even years, the warmth in each hug and handshake can´t be replaced by anything, that's probably one of the reasons why we party so damn hard haha!
Time has passed by and each time I go to a race I left with a huge grin on my face and my heart full of so many good feelings and amazing things to remember.
Here are the podiums for each category of the race:
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About the Writer
Stats: Age: 26 • Height: 1.83m • Weight: 90 Kg • Industry affiliations / sponsors: Always looking!!
Session Musician, Marketer and more recently Mountain Bike lover and Photographer Andy Ruiz is at the forefront of the exploding Mexican enduro scene and is the person behind TrailMex a media outlet for all things Mountain Bike and a supporting platform for the lovers of all things Enduro!