Most years see us riding bikes through winter in North Vancouver, provided there is still an appetite for being wet and cold. While winter was unusually late this year, January saw consecutive storms with above-average rainfall and forced us to put away our bikes. While Gully and I both took the opportunity to brave the weather and ski as much as possible, we were both itching to get a head start on the bike season.
During the fall my roommate took part in the Trans Sierra Norte race and raved about the trails in Oaxaca. I took this with a grain of salt as we are spoiled for choice here in the Sea to Sky. Dry and dusty trails aren't usually my preference, and the summer months are typically when I ride the least. With that being said, at this point in January, the warm trails of Mexico were very enticing. Gully and I set up a plan to escape to for 6 days of riding with Oaxaca Bike Expeditions. After booking our flights, we "forgot" to research any information on Oaxaca or the nearby trails. Turns out we have pretty similar travelling style - keep an open mind, go with whatever comes up and make the best of every situation. Arriving with little to no expectations on the riding quality left us open to have our minds blown. We were not prepared for the quality and variety of trails we were about to encounter.
Although we were in Mexico to ride in the warmth of 25 degree days, it was clear on the drive into the mountains that this would not be the case. We drove further and further into a weather system that had arrived the night before. When we stepped out of the truck, it was 5 degrees, with rain and a cold wind. At this point we were at approx 3400 meters of elevation. I was completely unprepared, having removed my jacket from my bag in the hotel room. With that being said, I handle the wet and cold much better than heat, so I found it difficult to hide my excitement for perfect photo conditions. This was not the Mexico I was expecting.
We spent the majority of the day riding out the trails with huge grins, realizing how lucky we were to experience these conditions. The trees were layered in fog, the greens were as vibrant as back home. The longer trails wind down through multiple ecosystems which provides a vast variety of trail conditions and flora. On the last run of the day, be dropped below the clouds and rode all the way to valley bottom, while a rainbow was set in the backdrop.
The next 5 days of riding took us through a variety of trails networks and areas around Oaxaca. It should be noted that each trail network requires ecotourism visitors to stop and purchase a day use permit, approximately 20 pesos per person per day - roughly $1US. It can be difficult to know where to purchase these without a guide, and trails would also be difficult to locate. With that being said, make the most of your days and hire a shuttle to get as much riding in as possible.We were also lucky to be there while a Lucha Libre event had been scheduled, this was awesome entertainment and a great way to spend the evening after a long day of riding and eating. Enjoy the rest of these photos as we got back to speed after a cold dark winter:
Special thank you to Oaxaca Bike Expeditions and Focus Bikes for making this trip possible.
Special advisory during the COVID-19 crisis:
Like you, we’re passionate about exploring trails. But now is not the time to travel. Please stay home and follow the advice of health authorities to keep yourself and others safe. Do your part now, so we can all explore again later.