¿Tu sabes yo soy loco?

“Don’t you know I’m loco?”

I’m stuck home with work and other unsavories, but my boys are out living it. Evan Chute is in Mexico, and he just filed this report:

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

By Evan Chute

I booked a mountain bike ride with EcoRide in Puerto Vallarta for a little two-wheeled happy fun time action while I am here on vacation with the family. Turns out, being a gravity junkie, I made the right choice of the three main mountain bike outfitters here in town! Rogelio set me up with a guide named Alonso, and also on the ride was local ripper Anibal and a Nor-Cal XC fella named Stosh. Stosh and his buddies had met Alonso last year up in Whistler, and were in Puerto Vallarta visiting and riding for three weeks solid. The four of us planned to rock the Las Agujas Downhill trail from 3,300 feet elevation way outside of town nearly all the way to the beach. Here’s a shot of the building to look for when you head to PV next:

Stosh decided to ride up the road on his Giant NRS, but the rest of us decided this DH was to be in straight up freehucker fashion, which is to say fully shuttled by Rogelio’s girlfriend! And true to DH form, we packed that CRV full of bikes and riders, and headed out for our ride.

On the way up, my Mexican partners were jabbering away about something, and not knowing Español I could only tell that they were heckling Rogelio about something, but I had no idea what. Anibal turned to me after a bit and tells me that Rogelio “Is like a sort of politician, who is running for office. He is going to be the Governor of the Beauty Salon!” which was referring to his wild, bed-riddled coif. Hilarity ensuing already! Otherwise driving up the road to the top of the trail was uneventful, yet spectacular, with great views of the Mexican jungle outside of Puerto Vallarta. The road was steep, winding, dusty, and narrow; and if the trail was even close to this we’d have a great time!

After we reached the top, one of the members of our posse enscribed a little message for Rogelio and his girlfriend:

After getting the bikes together, we were on our way. The ride started with a little hike up a ridgeline:

The trail was narrow, loose, dusty, winding, and off-camber. PERFECT. Once we got to the top of our first little climb, Alonso let me know that all was well with the world, and the fun was to begin:

The Mexican singletrack is sweet and flowing as the tequila. Quick break for a trail shot:

After a little bit of singletrack, we came across the first of several stunts and jumps, an 8′ long 12″ wide 6′ high plank drop. Sweet! Alonso told me that he built this stunt himself, taking two months to drag the plank up from a local football field 200 meters at a time. He said he got no help from anyone because everyone in town thought it would be “too high” to ride. Here’s Alonso sizing up the action:

And then giving her over the edge, full-on huck style.

I told Anibal that he and Alonso were going to embarrass me into doing this thing, even though I’m not used to riding skinny stuff like this. Anibal told me that it was “no problemas” if I didn’t want to jump it, that it’s all for fun so do what I need to do. And then he proceeded to blast off it real smooth like:

The height was really no issue for me, but as I said I am not used to riding skinnies, especially this high up. Plus, being on a bike that was way too small for me was making me nervous so I was pretty much going to bow out of the whole deal. I ran at it a few times and then just let go of the brakes, glided across the skinny, and off the end. Good thing Alonso had my camera and was sitting underneath the drop to catch the action. ¡Bueno!

The ride was super fun so far, and very relaxed. We made a lot of stops to just chill, and we’d hike up and hit certain things multiple times. I think Alonso and Anibal were stoked to have a couple of actual mountain bikers on the ride they love, rather than leading touristas up to the waterfalls on the dirt roads. Stosh was loving life, as most of this ride was singletrack he had never ridden, and was content to hang with us at each stunt watching and taking pictures. Front to back is Alonso, Anibal, and Stosh:

Cove Bikes help the guys out at EcoRide a bunch, and our steeds for the day were very capable G-Spot FR’s. Aside from being a small and me being a 6’2″ 200 lb. gringo, the bike took everything I threw at it very well!

After some more really fun, steep, loose trail, we found ourselves at the end of the first section of singletrack and a nice little cliff drop action. While Alonso grabbed a shovel from a nearby church construction site, I took an opportunity to snap a self-portrait with him working behind me, rocking the full-face that EcoRide hooked a brother up with, as well as a set of Roach knee/shin guards and a CamelBak. You see… I didn’t think I’d be rocking a sweet DH, and only brought my XC stuff.

After the landing was finished, Anibal was the first to get after it. According to him, the unfinished church we were near must “Not have God helping too much, it has been like that for 8 years!” Here he is, finding a little religion:

No prayers necessary for this drop, the landing Alonso built was muy perfecto, and made the touchdown off this 6-7 footer feel like an ice cold Tecate on a hundred degree day: smooth.

After a short spell on the road we drove up, we found a nice little place with two decent hits. Me and Anibal hit the one on the right, which was smaller and only 2-3 bike lengths long. Anibal had some style and definitely gav’er over that one. I passed out some turnbars for free, but Anibal looked more stylish, as you can see.

Alonso has spent some time in Whistler and the North Shore of BC, and it shows in his nose-high style as he rocks the bigger set, which was 4-5 bikelengths and a bit taller. In the background you can see a local taking pictures… he was just driving around in his VW Beetle and saw us jumping and thought he would take a look.

Below that was my favorite section of trail, with a couple fo great turns and some wooden stunts, plus your basic general all around goodness. Start up high and let the brakes off down a gentle pitch, off a 5-6′ drop onto a wide smooth trail, RAIL a right hand berm, bunny hop over some roots brat-dat-dat, RIP a perfect left hand berm, down two wooden stair steps, then launch off a 6′ high ladder drop over a deepish dry creek bed gap to a sweet landing.

Thor Wixom would be proud!

At the very end of the second section of singletrack was a gnarly, deep, eroded, rocky chute that was über fun. It should be noted that XC honch Stosh hung with us the whole way, helping to take some pictures and just ride some sweet Mexican singletrack and soak up the 80 degree heat. Here he is on that really technical chute, showing he ain’t no sissy…

We were all out of water at this point, but town was just a Km away or so. Once we got back into Vallarta, the streets got really narrow and cobblestoned, busses were roaring by, cars were honking, donkeys were pooping in the streets, and we pedalled back to EcoRide tired, dirty, sweaty, and happy.

I’ve been here a week, and I have to say my Español is actually getting better, my legs are more sore, my feet are sunburned to all heck, and I can’t remember the last time I ate this much ridiculously good food. Big shout outs to Rogelio, Alonso, and Anibal from EcoRide, as well as Stosh and Dustin from Nor-Cal… may your trails be long, narrow, and twisty always.

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