The next event is Saturday, September 29, 2012. Come down and ride with us!!
In its 33nd anniversary, the Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride took place last year on September 24th 2011, with over 4000 participants. The event was billed as the largest cycling event in Mexico and the 3rd most important event of its class in our continent. Being held twice a year, this internationally known event is visited by thousands of cyclist all over the world. For 50 miles of fun, whole families, cycling amateurs and professional athletes share this wonderful and exciting experience that takes place at the beautiful scenery of Baja California México.
There was a friendly and complimentary bike tuning at the start line – which, as a nervous first-timer, I used to ensure my tires were properly aligned. The elite riders were comfortably awaiting their early departure at the helm, separated from the “commoners” and raucous partiers by a ribbon. They wore special identification and would later enjoy a 10-minute lead, ensuring they wouldn’t have to worry about the custom or unusual bikes (I even spotted someone riding a unicycle) or anyone riding under the influence.
Expatriates were also numerous, especially in front of the high-rise beach condos. They parked themselves by the road on beach chairs and with beverage coolers handy. And we were a spectacle to behold:
As picture galleries confirm, many riders take pride in dressing up or putting an act together. I saw mariachis in full garb; all kinds of superheroes; people in really imaginative, self-made costumes; sexy French maids; people with beer hats and boom box radios strapped to their bikes; and all sorts of riders showing off their Mexican pride.
There were even some who risked suffering from heat stroke, like last fall’s yellow chicken – who must have experienced 110-degree heat inside his fluffy, feathered costume.
The ride started at Rosarito Beach at 10 am in front of the Rosarito Beach hotel. It is a 50 mile paved road distance of beautiful scenarios and an interesting course with long straight-aways, turns, uphill’s and downhill’s that you can enjoy with fun and humor along the other participants that have accepted the challenge. There was music, plenty of riders in outrageous costumes, and some riders forgoing the traditional energy drink and snack in favor of a cold beer and fish taco. It is definitely a unique way to learn and breathe Baja California. I found myself surrounded by a festive atmosphere all along the course.
Casual bikers accomplish the ride in an average of 4 hours; on the other hand professional cyclists often take half that time. We finished in 3 hours at a steady pace. The record for the ride is 1:52:54 and it was set by Peter Andersen from San Diego CA, and his team: Karl Bordine, Chris Dimarchi, Matt Johnson and Nate Diebler, on April 21st, 2007. Whether you are a professional or a casual cyclist fun and enjoyment are guaranteed for this ride!
This Ride may not be a competition but it sure was a challenge.
The first 22 miles of the route were on hills along the coast, with picturesque villages and rural areas. This was clearly the easier part of the course. There were four rest stops at miles 16, 26, 39 and 48, where participants were able to drink water, rest or repair their bicycles.
There were many aid stations for people who needed them. I'd heard about “El Tigre” before, which starts at almost sea level and climbs to over 800 feet. This is the most challenging part of the entire bike race. However, many participants walk up this hill or switch to “grandma gear” without embarrassment.
But for non-cyclists, the feeling of accomplishment after conquering this part of the ride is worth trying to pedal it. This is also a good time for a snack.
After El Tigre, there are nice countryside views inland followed by a fun downhill ride before you reach the outskirts of Ensenada. Ensenada looks deceivingly near as you approach it, but there are still a few kilometers left and the nice coastal breeze is replaced by the stench of cars and traffic. Yet by this point the end is near, and you can already imagine the Mexican fare awaiting you after the finish line.
There are plenty of fish tacos and beer at the official finish line party, but you can also explore one of the town’s many eateries for anything ranging from a European coffee and pastry shop to more upscale Mexican cuisine and even vegetarian dishes. If you rode with Outback Adventures, there’s a smaller private party awaiting nearby, with the added benefit of loading your bike and showering before grabbing a well-deserved "chela."
For non-cyclists, completing the ride feels like a significant accomplishment. Every fall and spring countless first-time participants complete it – I saw families with children as young as five (riding on their own or tandem), athletes active in other sports, senior citizens (most of them in amazingly great shape), work and office colleagues, bachelor parties, people trying to win a bet with their neighbor, foreign exchange students from Asia and Europe, and even "superheroes."
I’m glad to have completed this legendary ride during my time in California, and urge you to conquer the road and try it at least once. The resulting adrenaline high can last a couple of days, but the smile on your face and feeling of accomplishment might be there for weeks.
Many participants took advantage of an opportunity to spend the entire weekend in Baja, staying at one of Rosarito's beach hotels or enjoying the road trip aspect. The large number of people venturing south of the border and increased police presence over the weekend, and particularly on race day, ensured a safe and fun filled event.