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Mexico Coast to Coast
The Ultimate Cycle Challenge

Mexico is an enormous and varied country with snow capped mountains, jungle-covered hillsides, smoking volcanoes and forests of cactus. The aim of the Mexico Coast to Coast Challenge is to cycle over 600km from the Gulf of Mexico in the east of the country, to the Pacific Ocean in the west. The route is hard, hot and very tough.

Costs have been kept to a minimum on the challenge by using camping and basic hotels and cheap air fights. Total costs per person are £1,125 and therefore a minimum of £1,650 goes directly to the Children's Society. (As we aim to raise much more than our joint £5,000 target we will hopefully increase our contribution).

The Challenge The Challenge


Day 1
Depart UK on 28th April 2001 (incidentally that's my birthday!) Arrive in Mexico City and transfer to our hotel on the edge of town.

Day 2
After a thorough briefing, we will leave the frenetic streets of Mexico City and drive to the beginning of the ride. The journey will take around seven hours and we will pass below the smoking volcano of Malinche and the highest mountain in Central America, Pico de Orizaba. We then descend through the mountains to tropical farmland eventually arriving at the coast and our starting point just south of Alvarado where we camp.

Day 3
After a final look at the Gulf of Mexico, we set off on our challenge.

We begin by cycling through swamp and fields of sugar cane passing through many small villages. Our first stop is at Tlacotalpan, a beautiful village along the Rio Papaloapan. We then continue onto the larger busier town of Cosamaloapan. The small roads are generally quiet, but the towns are busier and in places the large number of sugar cane wagons have to be avoided. After about 50km we stop for lunch. The afternoon's ride takes us through more small villages and tropical farmland. The route is flat and the cycling is straightforward, but it is often humid and hot. Our evening's camp is near the small village of San Isidro. Cycle distance 92km.

Day 4
Breaking camp early, we set off towards the large town of Tuxtepec. The 25Km along good flat roads is great fun if a little busy. We have a short refreshment stop at Tuxtepec before going through the busy town together and continuing towards our lunch stop beside the Rio Papaolopan. After a relaxing swim and a good lunch, we set off towards Valle Nacional, a small town set at the foot of the mountains. The quite road gradually climbs through low foothills and dense jungle. Camp near San Mateo Yetla beside the river. Cycle distance 85Km.

Day 5
This is the most challenging day of the trip with an enormous climb. We begin from an altitude of 250m and climb to 3000m over a distance of 57Km. Our route takes us through dense jungle, cooler cloud forest and once through the cloud at around 2250m into pine forest and later, almost bare mountain slopes.

The route is extremely steep in places and the road surface varies from smooth tarmac to muddy dirt tracks. This is a very tough challenge for everyone and requires patience, determination and stamina. We camp at the summit at 3000m. Cycle distance 57Km.

Day 6
After the challenge of the previous day, we begin with a downhill section. But after the initial descent we climb for several kilometres through coniferous forest and then have a fantastic 20km descent along potholed roads to the town of Guelateao. A further 6km decent takes use to lunch beside the Rio Grande.

The afternoon ride is part of a long and quite steep 28km climb. Our beautiful campsite is situated about halfway up the hill. Cycle distance 67km.

Day 7
Starting early, we attack the remaining 17km of the climb.

Reaching La Cumbra at 2800km, the view is spectacular with Oaxaca, a large bustling city lyinh on a flat open plain with mountains beyond. From the top, we have a great 18Km descent to the outskirts of the city before regrouping and cycling through Oaxaca together. After a quick lunch, we continue to the pretty town of Zaachila where we have a short break. Leaving the town on dirt tracks, we make our way up the main Puerto Escondido road and cycle to Zimatlan where we make camp on the edge of town. Cycle distance 87km.

Day 8
After breakfast, we head out across the flat hot plain through an intensively farmed region. The roads are good and generally the riding is fairly flat. After 45km of mostly flat riding, we have a 9km gradual climb before lunch. The café at the top offers welcome cold drinks and a good lunch spot.

After lunch we have a 14km descent into Sola De Vega, a small and remote town. A 17Km climb follows, through terraced farmed mountain slopes and then coniferous forest. On reaching the top at 2250m we have a 10km descent to our campsite perched on the mountainside. Cycle distance 95km.

Day 9
We should see the Pacific Ocean today!

We continue our exciting descent to San Pedro, a distance of 25km. In the distance we can see the last mountain we need to scale before the end of the challenge. From San Pedro, the road climbs steeply, but the air cools slightly and there are several cafes offering cold drinks and a chance to rest.

Arriving at the 2050m summit there are spectacular views of the ocean. From here we descend 33km through dense forest and then jungle to our campsite near the Rio Colotapec just outside San Gabriel - a wonderful site beside a cool river. Cycle distance 88km.

Day 10
Our final ride is a mixture of good fast descents and several climbs with wonderful views of the ocean ahead.

As we cycle, we leave the dense jungle behind, there is more agriculture and more habitation the closer we get to Puertro Escondido. After regrouping on the edge of town we cycle the last 2Km together to the Pacific and a well deserved swim. Afternoon free, and in the evening - a Celebration meal. Cycle distance 57 Km.

Day 11
Free day relaxing on the beach.

Day 12
Drive to Acapulco and fly out to the UK.

Day 13
Arrive back in the UK.


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