Since the 24th, after our ChePe incident with runaway trains and police with guns forcing us off the train, Birch and I took a new and unexpected direction. We decided to ride with Chris through the mountains heading south for Mexico. Today has been the 4th day since we took on this new route. It has been quite the journey of discovery; Seeing the beautiful and best kept secrets of Mexico and a test of strenth, endurance and lack of readiness for extreame conditions that are ahead.
Chrismas Day- 25th
It was a quiet day on the roads, since the holiday was celebrated on the 24th. Crigi (Chris), Birch, and I left the hotel in the morning, got out water fills in town, then took the highway 25 to exit the quaint town of Creel. It was COLD- i had to buy gloves and wear layers to stay warm durning the morning ride. That first day of riding was both a glorious and brutal riding experience. We started from very high elevation from Creel and rode down into the canyon. The roads were empty, well paved, and fun to ride down at 45 km and hour! There were ever greens and pine for miles. We saw pass small villages in valleys of vellow grass where goats, cows and horses were grazing. There were beautiful works of log cabins and stone masonry. The farmers were the indigionus Tarahumara people- men in cowboy hats, women dress in vibrant colors of long skirts and scarves. They seem shy, but very sweet. It feels like this mountainous part of Chihuahua is very protected of nature and it’s people. I feel like I am in the mountains of the northwest, but yet, way less untouched by modernization (no commercial construction, oil drillings, gas stations) It’s just pure mountains, and it’s people- almost like I went back in time.
The rock formations were incredible as well- HUGE boulders topple eachother to form these incredible walls of smooth rock. The walls towered over us as we zipped down along side the mountains. And during parts of the ride, some of the views from around a corner or gliding down a road- was so divine- I cant emphasise enough that the views were so beautiful. I think anyone with a bike, or car, should come and ride this 25 highway, because it is so breath-takingly wonderful.
The brutal reality was climbing up these roads with a load and a lack of a smaller front crank. I feel behind a lot, especially dirning the last part of the first day. From my butt down to my calves, were HURTING! And recovering from a stomach flu was also slowing me down. I was a sweaty, aching little machine working my way up mountains ot a canyon – “INSANE” I was thinking. How does it come to this, now rideing through mountains.
And that night- being one of the coldest nights on record- BUUURRRR!!!
We camped in the back of a gas station. The only one we saw for miles- and it was no longer in operation to serve. It was just a little Tarahumara man who let us camp in the back of a station and let us refill on (questionable) water from a undergound well. We set up camp. That night we had on all of our layers. Crigi was well prepared for cold weather camping. Birch had a bag rated for 45, not so many layers- but a taller bigger guy he was able to withstand the clold. Me- I had on all my layers, but my feet were so numb- even with my shoes on. The temperatures dropped to -5 C /22 F that night. I kept waking up from the cold feet, and batroom runs. I notice the slight difference in the bathroom- so I eventually brought my thermarest and sleeping bag into the bathroom. The room was small that my feet slept under a urinal. At least it was unused that it seemed clean.
The second day was a little easier for riding. Not as many steep climbs. The sun warmed us up a bit, and we were decending in elevation. That night we camped in a private property area under pine trees. We made dinner and had a campfire sharing personal stories. We rode about 64 kms that day.
Next morning was eaven better. We only rode 20 kms into the big town of Guachochi. It was a hilly ride- which made for easier climbs and not so steep downhills. We entered into Guachochi by 10 am and got a hotel. After checking in and unloading, we took a 50 km roundtrip to an overlook of the canyons. We rode through gravel dirts roads that took us though beautiful pastures. The entrance to the lookout was 10 pesos- Birch compared the bargain to a $25 Grand Canyon view entry- and The Copper Canyons are about 4 times the size.
The view was incredible and well worth the ride.