Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Race

September 27th, 2008

The Costal Maned Bear

Our misty, deserted campsiteTo be fair, calling this a “race” is a bit of a stretch. Even on the website they just call it a “Fun Bicycle Ride” instead of a race. But everyone has a number and there is a start and a finish and it feels very much like a race. Anyway when I had called up my buddy Graham to tell him I The failed shuttlewould be visiting in LA where he just moved, he told me that unfortunately that weekend he and a bunch of friends were going to be doing a drunken bike race in Mexico. Drunken Mexican bike race? No problem! Sign me up too. Besides the race sounding fun, the idea of going to Canada and Mexico in the same summer had an appeal to it. By the time I got to LA however, everyone who was going to go to Mexico with Graham canceled. We were both still stoked though and, undaunted, we mounted a two-man mission to Mexico.

The cold sea-mist that shrouded our campWe had heard that this huge race (6 to 10 thousand people) was a big party and a good place to camp and party was a beach-side camping area just North of the finish in Ensenada. It was just $15 a night, so we rolled down there. By the time Graham had gotten off work on Friday, I got less-valuable bike to take across the border and we had gotten the van in order for the trip… it was rush hour, and we sat in traffic for a few hours leaving LA. What a shock the 20 million of LA is after The start in Rosarito!being the mountains a week! It’s just WAY too many people. And they all drive their own car. It’s ridiculous. Anyway we hit the border at dark, exactly as all our instructions told us not to do. I’d never crossed into Mexico by car before, and was surpised that there was no border control at all. Catching up to the end of the raceYou just drive on in. Passing by the ghettos and SWAT teams of Tijuana without incident we arrived at the camp site late but safe and sound. The campground was empty, to our surprise, but we were tired anyway so we turned in. The next morning was awoke cold in a thick sea fog and headed into Ensenada to catch the shuttle bus. We were a little late, but the shuttles were still there and eventually we were zooming north above the morning sea mist to the start in Rosarito.

Rickys Place - our first barOne of the better costumesGraham doing high-fives

The late start, the last shuttle, and a bit of traffic, meant that we arrived at the start… after the race had started! And not even at the actual start! Traffic was backed up so they dropped us Part at the Halfway House barabout a mile back. I would have liked to see the huge mass of people at the start, but it worked out better since we didn’t really care about the race anyway and we were able to shoot through the empty start and catch up to the other riders without dropping the $45 on registration! We quickly passed the end of the race and were cruising Helicopter dropping a racer offalong with the endless crowd like nothing out of ordinary had happened. And it truly was an endless string of bikers. We never saw the beginning, and after we caught up we never saw end again either. Even stopping at a few bars we never saw the end. On the tops of hills we could look forward and back and the bikes just went on forever. It was quite the eclectic crowd of bikers, as well. There were costumed people, serious people, kids, tandem bikes, fat people… Rollerblades and a BMX bikeeven BMX bikes and rollerblades (for 50 miles!). We fit right in on our silly bikes: my wobbly town bike and Grahams grandpas’ bike, the kind Albert Hoffman probably rode that fateful day. There was even a guy who kept getting picked up and dropped off my a helicopter, riding his bike between (!). At the beginning of the race all the local kids stood on the sides yelling for candy, just like a parade. We didn’t know this and didn’t bring candy, but Graham had a great time giving them high-fives, the next best thing I think.

Jesus ChristoFinally we finished. I don’t even remember how long it took us… 4 hours? A little more? We ducked out the side of the finish since we’d have felt quilty getting the souviener medals after not paying the entry fee, but we did cross the line. Drinking beer in the hot sun and riding our sub-par bikes made the 50 miles (and almost 2000′ of elevation gain) a bit of a job, and we crashed hard at the van. We’d heard good things about the post-race fiesta though, so we rallied and went to check it out. We stopped for some gut-busting Mexican seafood on the way, a communication Me at the last barbreakdown leading me to order what amounted to a meat-shake. I swear to god it was a meat-shake, check out the picture. We watched bikers continue to trickle through the finish line and I toughed some of the sea-shake down (and actually enjoyed the rest of my food, like the fish tacos), then we hit the fiesta hoping copious amounts of Tecate would ward off Monetzuma’s Revenge. Sadly the fiesta was a bust. We did enjoy some cheap beer and Graham bought a sweet Goddamn seafood meat-shakehammock, but no one was hanging around to party. We heard things had changed and the start in Rosarito was the place to be now. Eh. We decided we didn’t really want to get sloppy drunk and robbed in Mexico afterall and decided to quit drinking and make out way up to San Diego for the night. We have a Bozeman friend there and it was Saturday night so it seemed like the thing to do. Crossing through Tijuana at night (again, sigh), and smoking out the street vendors at the border with the van’s oil-burning exhaust, we eventually made it back to the U.S. of A. In my next entry I’ll cover my San Diego and Los Angeles adventures but that wraps up the Rosarito-Ensenada Mexican bike ride!

The finish in Ensenada!Graham honking his goddamn hornSunset in Ensenada

Salud!

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One Response to “Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Race”

  1. [...] this past year I’ve been up North to Alaska (twice), and way down South to Mexico as well. The big trips I took would have been fun just as they were, but I really like the way [...]

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