Thanks to a crosstown ride from Boulders On Broadway, we headed out, the four of us, Travis Mcmaster, Dirty Biker, Devon Balet, and myself, for what would be 6 days of fat bike hustling across the desert and muddy ocean deltas of Sonora B.C. Mexico. With the two Surly Pugsleys, and the two Salsa Mukluks in two, it was on.
We show up at Nenas Mexico shuttle service with a reservation for four and bikes. We arrive at this shady little strip center on the west side of Phoenix that looks more like Mexico than Mexico itself. Corny, the owner tells us that the shuttle they use won’t work for us, and that if we come around back we can check out the 1992 Chevy Astrovan that can take us and our bikes across the border. This thing is sitting on blocks, with the drive-train laying on the ground and some dude wrenching away underneath it. He tells us that we all have to pay double and the back seat could come out to accommodate our fat bikes, to which we obliged, and proceeded to wait for the drive train to be reattached, the oil changed, and the battery jumped. Roar, this piece of shit fires up, we pile in, and proceed towards La Cholla Mexico drinking beers with the driver all the way!!!
Long story short, we roll into La Cholla Mexico around 10:30 at night, ride a few miles and find ourselves pouring back a few shots and some fine Indio cerveza. We are told by the locals that we could safely sleep on a playground up the street. We head out around midnight, find camp, and post up for the night. This town was bare, nothing but empty homes, which seems to be a common theme in Mexico.
We awoke the next morning to an oncoming downpour. Sheets of rain, sleet, and hail pouring down on what is to be our first day of 200 some odd miles of bike touring through muddy bogs, dirt roads, highways, and beaches. Finally, around noon, the rain ceases and we head out through huge puddles on what would be four-six hours of thick, exhausting, and challenging beach/mud bogging.
The beach was tacky as can be, fun to ride on, and huge. It seemed to go from sea to shore for a good quarter mile plus, at points even more. This was no stroll in San Diego people. At certain areas, we would have to pedal so hard for a good 1000 yards, that if you stopped, you and the bike would sink two feet deep. All you could do was drop to the granny gear and pedal like you were pedaling a Mack truck up a big hill. At the end of each of these bogs, you felt more and more invigorated, yet exhausted each time. My chamois was rubbing me dry, and the burning was becoming unbearable. Dirty reached into his ditty and pulled out a small tube of Dznuts medictaed chamois cream, what turned out to be the unsung hero of my trip, and on we rode, painlessly there-after. Remember, my “clown”bike was weighing in at an easy 65 pounds with all the gear I had packed, and with the 3.8 inch tires at 10 psi, we did our best to float along whenever possible.
I was so grateful to have my Keen Springwater cycling shoes with me. I highly recommend them for this type of adventure as they resisted water well, dried very quick, were super cush to walk in, and had an awesome toe overlap that came in hand time after time.
As we rode along the delta, we jokingly laughed about whether or not you could get a flat on seas shells, as we literally rode almost what seemed a virtual road of shells for quite some time. No sooner did the laughing end,, then Travis got himself what would be our first of 7 flats for this trip. Flats are part of the deal, but fat bike flats, combined with 65 pound bikes, and exhaustion, make for a lot of work, and lots of mental defeatism. I’ve met guys that were chick magnets, but my buddy Devon Balet is truly a “flat magnet”.
These deltas were amazingly challenging. To give you an idea of just how tiring and challenging the terrain was, we found that given their size and difficulty, it was easier to lay the bikes down and waid through the fingers of ocean that separated the delta. We would be searching in turns for a quick route through the ocean at waist level, rather than ride an extra half mile round trip around the fingers. All in all, the first day was en eye opener. About 12-15 miles in 5-6 hours of hardcore mud bogging, delta fording, and adjusting, to what would be the beginning of 4 more days of fat tire bliss.
The night came to an end as we “borrowed” shelter behind a sandy knoll on a seemingly abandoned ranch that we borrowed for the night. It was 6:00, freezing cold, literally, and dark. I was so beat and poorly prepared for the amount of calories we were burning already, that I literally just fell over twice in the last 10 minutes of the leg of the first day. I was grateful to stop, pull off my shoes, and jersey and let my amazing, and lifesaving Smartwool underwear, tee-shirt, socks, and arm warmers do what they do best, not stink and dry fast. As the sunset, we watched dolphins and cranes playfully celebrating our first day of fat tire bliss in the sunset. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.