I don’t normally like large crowds. I was surrounded by 400 people on mountain bikes. We were Mountain Biking from Pinal to Jalpan. It was an event organised by Dardo4sierragorda.com. The small mountain town of Pinal, in the remote Sierra Gorda region of Mexico played host to a large gathering of mountain bike riders from all over Mexico. I’m not someone who usually likes being in a crowd.
The plan was to meet up with Edith and several other mountain bikers that I had ridden with at Nevado de Toluca and from San Miguel to Hidalgo. Things didn’t quite go to plan. Among the 400 or so other riders in a small town I couldn’t find my friends. I needed to find them because they would transport my panniers from Pinal to Jalpan. I searched but could not find them. I just started riding with my fully loaded bike. I followed the crowd of Mountain bikers through the narrow streets of Pinal. Some looked at me like I was a circus freak. Some just thought I was crazy.
I passed the start line. I heard Regina yell my name. I was found. I unloaded my heavy excess weight into a truck. Rafa was driving the truck. He is a little bit nervous. Next week he rides his bike from Mexico to Chile. I remember that feeling of nerves just before I set off on this trip. Good luck Rafa.
My heavy touring bike was now a mountain bike. For about 4-5 hours we rode mainly downhill to the town of Jalpan. Deep mountain gorges. Endless rolling mountains. Countless small mountain pueblos. That was our journey. It was a fairly easy trail. There were many resting places where the organisers set up drink stands.
There were some punchy, steep uphill sections and some steep descents but most people had little problem. Some people suffered minor injuries which were treated by the Red Cross Ambulance who followed us on our journey. They did a great job.
Residents of the small mountain villages lined the path as we moved through. I guess they don’t get to see 400 mountain bikers pass their house everyday. I’ve never ridden with so many people before. Well, maybe I did many years ago in Amsterdam.
The journey ended at the campground, next to the lake in Jalpan. There was a finish line, music and people were presented with medals. But they forgot one thing. There was no beer at the finish. A group of us set off into town in search of beer and food. I was extremely hungry by this stage. I was almost hangry hungry.
Thank you to all my Mexican friends for making this a great day. Thanks to Dardo4sierragorda.com, check out their YouTube Channel, it’s awesome, specially the ride through Cañon del Paraiso which I will be doing soon.
Pinal > Jalpan = 41km