World Class Riding in Mexico!

I’ve never really had Mexico on my radar for mountain biking until now. When Javier of Oaxaca Bike Expeditions reached out to me, inviting me on his tour almost 1 year in advance, I was excited to say yes and start planning for it.

I did some quick research and noticed my SR Suntour teammates Kurt Sorge and James Doerfling (along with team manager JP Gendron) went on this epic trip down to Oaxaca for a week while being hosted by Javier. They came out with this killer video and no one had a single bad thing to say about the place:

However, coordinating the journey was a bit of a hassle. My flight was booked for me from Vancouver to Oaxaca, but this is a costly and inconvenient route when you live on Vancouver Island. From my home it’s a 1 hour drive, an expensive 1.5 hour ferry ride, and at least another hour of driving through the city to get to the airport. Parking at the Vancouver Airport is also very expensive. I try to save money where I can, but more importantly, I value time over saving money and there was zero connecting flights directly out of Comox. So what I did was book myself a flight from Comox-Vancouver the night before my early morning flight to Mexico. The return flight to Comox was the morning after my late arrival back to Vancouver.

Since there was no other possible connections, this made the most sense. And then I decided to stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel purely for convenience reasons... and it was awesome! I showed up, had my bags taken care of, had a good workout in the fitness centre, and grabbed an awesome dinner and some drinks at the Jetside grill. I still had lots of time to go back to my room, get work done, and have an amazing sleep before my early morning flight.

This was 100% worth the money to me, so I reached out to the hotel and requested a collaboration for my return home. Luckily for me, they said yes and I received a complimentary room on the way home!! Thank you again Fairmont. What an awesome place. I highly recommend staying here if you have an overnight layover in Vancouver.

Since the Spring I was vicariously watching Oaxaca Bike Expeditions’ posts on Instagram and noticing new trails popping up in their network on an almost weekly basis. The terrain looked unique and unlike anything I would think of when imagining riding in Mexico. The dirt was moist and tacky vs. loose and dusty, and the forested region almost looked like it could be the Pacific NorthWest. When we arrived, it was exactly this! The thick arbutus forest reminded me of riding in my hometown of Victoria, BC. Southern Vancouver Island is known for its arbutus trees as well.

One thing that surprised me was the variety of terrain. Bruno Long and I arrived 1 day before the tour so I could put on a skills camp with Javier, and we went straight into the mountains above 10,000 feet to the arbutus forest. Day 1 of the actual tour was much different. We started lower down and dropped into steep, loose, technical, rocky terrain that was pretty full-on and gave you intense arm pump by the time you were half way down. We weren’t complaining! This was equally awesome, but a huge contrast from the loamy, natural flow of our first day of riding.

So many factors made this the trip of a lifetime! The shuttles all week, huge elevation drops, a variety of terrain, ridiculous post-riding activities like going to lucha libre wrestling matches… the list goes on. I’ll 100% be back next year to shred again.

Thanks to Javier at Oaxaca Bike Expeditions and the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel for the amazing memories. Photography by Bruno Long

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