Thursday, March 16, 2006

Copper Canyon Tour: Part 2: Dropping Into the Canyon

Like any typical group ride, this one started with jump starting a helicopter. No fooling.

This helicopter was parked next to our hotel. The pilot needed two batteries to start the engine. He carried one over and asked to use the van for the other. Then he flew away into the Mexican sky.

We had another big breakfast and then shuttled in the van to the road that goes down into the Canyon to Batipilos. This road has a lot of up/down until it turns to just Big Down. It was sprinkling a little when we drove out, but it stopped soon. The wind was blowing and it was cold. Always a dilema trying to figure out what to wear.

This is where the spectacular views of the canyon started. Copper Canyon is actually a series of Canyons and not just one.

We stopped at a small town to drop the trailer off at a school. Of course the kids came out in force to check out the circus DSC00613.

From this point it was pretty much all the way down.

I was wishing I had a 100mm fork and travel set to 4.5". While my wife rode everything on her hardtail and crappy marz fork. Hardcore.

Personally, I don't like dirt fire/mining roads as much as singletrack. For whatever reason, I just can't get the cornering down. Start wide, cut the apex, exit wide, and all that stuff. Just flail on it. The views were magnetic but the last thing you need to do is look at the view when bombing this road, no guardrail here.


See that bridge way down there. That is where we are having lunch. On and on the road dropped. Simon and Enrique were pulling their feet out and drifting around the turns. I gotta learn how to do this sometime, but Copper Canyon with 3000-4000' drop wasn't about to be my classroom.

Down at the bridge we had lunch
on the rocks DSC00623

And I almost threw my arm out skipping rocks. There were some sweet rocks there, perfect for skipping.

We still had 15 more miles to go to Batipilos. Up and down. The nature of the canyon made it impossible to build to road down by the river. This is the only road into and out of the town. Trucks come around the corner every now and then along with some other surprises.

The views from this road were spectacular. Such a different landscape compared to my neck of the woods.

Across the river I could see tiny trails crisscrossing the mountain. I think those are the types of trail that the Bike Magazine crew came down. I love my singletrack but no thanks. Those are the trails that the Indians walk and run on. Interesting fact about the Tarahumara. These Indians have a reputation as being the best long distance runners in the world. They used to routinely beat the best Western runners in races like the Leadville 100 in sandals made with old tire tread.

You never know what is going to be around the next corner on this road

Going out and back on the road I saw donkeys,
cows (with big horns), goats, dogs, and vultures.

All along this road and many other roads are tributes to the patron saint of the region.

I wish my camera had better color because the colors out there are much more vibrant than in these pictures. The blue sky contrasted against the canyon walls was amazing. When the sun hits the canyon in the morning you can see where the Copper Canyon gets its name from. It also gets its name from copper mining that put the area on the map years ago.

A few hours into the ride to the town we came around one of the endless climbs and corners and saw this facing us. We thought for sure we were getting close to the town.
Thankfully this was just an abandoned mining road that went nowhere and we didn't have to climb it.

Finally we made it to Batipilos

This is an interesting town. It is two streets narrow and really long. Given the nature of the canyon walls and the river the only way they can build is out on the ends. It used to have two more streets in width but a flash flood took those out in a heartbeat.

The streets are narrow and the buildings come right up almost to the edge of the street with tall walls and few windows.

And you have to be ever watchful for the kids. As soon as they see you they dart out to give you high fives.
DSC00683. So cover our brakes.

If you are lucky enough to walk through one of the gates off the sidewalk you can be greeted by a shangrila in the courtyards of these buildings.

This gentleman is part owner of the hotel we stayed at.

He just loves the bikers though he has bad knees. He asked for any tubes we were going to trow away. They don't let anything go to waste down here. We set up the bikes and work area in on of the many courtyards in this maze of a hotel.

Guarded over by this little gargoyle

Once reaching the hotel, it was time for cold Tecate, baths and lounging. Check out these rooms.

We fussed with bikes some. Karen had a tiny thorn that kept flatting her tubes so we found that. The road was littered with those sharp edged rocks commonly found on fire roads, and I cut the sidewall of my rear tire. The Stans No tubes didn't seal it. I patched the tire and was able to get it to reseal w/o a tube but the patch didn't hold so switched back to a tube.

This town is really cool. Everyone is just really friendly and it's just a simple slow pace of life.

The local Indians come into town to trade.

And the kids just love visitors

We had some good dinners at these family style restaurants. The dining room is on their porch of their house. If you use the bathroom you have to go through their bedroom to get to their personal bathroom.

Stay tuned for: The Lost Cathedral


At 8:39 PM, Blogger Jeff Yielding said...

These reports are great, thanks for sharing.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Keith said...

Very cool. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest.


Post a Comment

<< Home