El plan | The Plan
After 4 years of travelling to Ajijic Mexico to visit family, this time I decided to take my bike and try and discover if the area had any great mountain biking. I had no knowledge of trails in the area short of some Strava segment exploration and definitely no expectations.
Ajijic is a small town about 30 minutes from the Guadalajara airport and on the north shore of Lake Chapala surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Ajijic is 1538m above sea level (comparable to Boulder Colorado) which contributes to its beautifully warm climate that is rarely unpleasantly hot or humid. There are two main seasons, rainy and dry, with rainy having just ended in October.
All I wanted with this trip was to explore a new place on my bike.
Curva de aprendizaje | Learning Curve
I learnt a few things very quickly when trying to build my bike back up after the flight. Perhaps the most important was that in a small Mexican town, finding a presta pump was nearly impossible. I had just planned on buying a pump when I got there, but had to go to three very small bicycle shops in town where I eventually found a small convertible hand pump for 50 pesos.
After a quick roll around town on the cobblestone roads to make sure everything was working well, I was ready to go.
Los Senderos | The Trails
The first time I headed out, I went searching for the trails on my own using Strava segment explore. The area I was exploring made the fear of getting lost obsolete, you were either heading up the mountain, or down it. It was apparent immediately that these trails were amazing. They were super steep, very raw, super dusty, and very exposed. The only frustrating part at this point was that some sections were much more “rideable/fun” than others and with the steep climb up you were working very hard for each descent.
Nuevos Amigos | New Friends
I had looked into hiring a guide to help show me around because of my limited time. Unfortunately, they were very hard to find in the Ajijic area. One guide from Mascota, where a recent North American Enduro was held, was able to connect me with a few local rippers. Rogelio Garcia and Edgar Gomez were both from Ajijic and after a few exchanged emails came to pick me up for a morning ride in the nearby town of Mezcala.
They picked me up early in the morning and we got dropped off around 2000m before finishing back at the bottom. The trail between was epic. I found myself surrounded by the mexican mountainside barreling down fun technical trails, crossing tall dams, and hopping farm fences.
Rogelio works for a tire sealant company called Sella Milk which is not available in Canada yet but when it is, you’ll want to use it. These trails have thorns that go right through DH casing tire sidewalls and Sella Milk was born out of the need for a tire sealant that would handle these conditions.
They were great guys to ride with and super friendly and interested in sharing their riding area with me and I am super grateful to them.
Salida del sol en Ajijic | Sunrise in Ajijic
After a great ride with Rogelio and Edgar, they invited me out for some morning rides in Ajijic as well. It was great to get shown around these trails by riders who know the area well. They shared some fun short flow downhills and some long 7 minute plus technical downhills.
I rode every morning except one, and barely rode the same thing twice.
Descubrimiento | Discovery
So what did I find? Well obviously, I found some amazing trails and an unbelievably underrated riding destination.
More importantly, I also re-discovered a love for exploring new places on a bike. I spend a lot of the year racing, practicing the same sections of trail trying to get faster and faster on them. This trip I rode everything blind. I didn’t get to “scope lines” nor did I care to. It was nice to slow down, explore some new trails, meet some new people with a shared passion, eat great food, drink cold beer and margaritas, and just have fun on my bike. I’ll definitely be back, but I also can’t wait to explore somewhere new.