Rosarito Beach -
Ensenada Bike Ride
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For the past 33 years,
there has been a 50 mile bike race that starts in Rosarito Beach
and ends in Ensenada in Baja California, MX. Our buddy Kai
asked us if we would accompany his wife on a trip to Mexico in
support of this race. His wife, Tina, was tasked with
delivering Kai, his son Parker and another mutual friend Scotty
to the start of the race and picking them up at the conclusion
and returning them to the USA. Kathleen and I accompanied
them as the moral support. Being a rather immoral fellow,
the concept of providing moral support seemed somewhat ludicrous
but I went anyway. Weather-wise, the luck of the draw
offered a sunny Santa Ana condition with brisk winds, sun and
high temperatures at the beach (perhaps 90 degrees).
The photos below are
what we saw.
Despite the heat and the
intense sun, we had a great time. Rosarito Beach and
Ensenada are nice areas and are fully accustomed to handling large
numbers of tourists. Any trip across the border needs some
preparation and one of those items is a passport. You may
leave without a passport, but getting home will be
problematic. Since we all had passports, we only had to
suffer the 2 hour wait in line enduring wave after wave of vendors
selling us everything from ceramic Tweety Birds to shrimp
For whatever reason, getting to Rosarito Beach this time proved
a breeze. There were no delays at the border and the roads
were not (yet) crowded. We took the so-called "toll road"
to Rosarito Beach. The free road is very congested and has
many side roads and stop signs. The toll road, despite the
$10 cost, is the fastest and easiest route.
We found a place to park and unload the bikes. It has been
about a year since I was in MX last and I had forgotten about
the different standards on signs and advertising in
general. In Mexico, advertising is more "in your face"
with no question about the goal of the ad. Subtlety really
does not work and without exception, sex sells. More on
We headed over to the Rosarito Beach Hotel on foot to do
registration and check-in.
The Rosarito Beach Hotel is the social nexus in this city and
the hotel is quite nice; very old school in a charming
way. Note the nice tile and landscaping.
The registration area was a mad house and we were actually
early. There was an endless stream of people coming into
the courtyard to register as we were leaving.
This gal was dressed for the occasion and brought smiles to many
The riders were starting to queue up for the start of the race.
The group decided to get some tacos at a nearby stand and check
things out. Note the massive crowd in the distance; these
are all riders.
We walked back to the car, got the bikes
off the rack and the riders prepared to leave. From the
left Scotty, Parker and Kai.
A little more zoom, please.
After the riders left us, we loaded the mini-van and attempted
to find the entrance to the toll road. That turned out to
be a bit more difficult and time consuming than expected, but we
did succeed. While we were looking for the entrance ramp,
the riders were off like a shot. By the time we got on the
toll road, the race was well under way and we could see them on
the free road that generally parallels the toll road.
There were plenty of other support teams that had pulled over on
the road to watch the riders go by.
The road was not crowded; everyone was stopped on the side of
the road looking at the riders. We were able to make good
speed on the highway and soon overtook some of the front riders.
Further on, we passed the lead riders and their highway patrol
These folks were a determined lot, you can see it in the
expressions in their faces.
We continued south at high speed and passed one of many nice
beaches accessible from the highway.
As the road winds through the coastal mountains, we finally got
a nice view of one of the bays down below. In the photo
above, note the large plume of smoke on the horizon and the
circles in the bay. The smoke was from a brush fire
burning near Ojos Negros; it was a pretty large fire.
The circles in the water are actually nets that enclose an
aqua-farming venture. The nets keep the desired fish in
and the predators out. The nets on the left have a fence
around the top to prevent the fish from jumping over the net.
On the outskirts of Ensenada, we encountered a sign for this
Ensenada is a major sea port and frequently hosts cruise
ships. Above are ships from Disney and Carnival in port
the day of the race.
We found a reasonable (aka free) place to park and walked to the
finish zone of the race. Since we drove with purpose, we
were ahead of the riders and the finish zone area was
essentially deserted. That would not last for long.
We ate a nice breakfast and when we were done, the first riders
had started to arrive.
The finish line area quickly turned into a zoo. The 12
massage tables that were empty only minutes before were totally
filled with sore muscled riders seeking relief.
Some of the first wave of riders showed pleasure at their times
and placing in the race.
Other rider's faces showed the strain of extended physical
Still others showed determination; right to the bitter end.
Our team was about 90 minutes back in the pack, so we decided to
walk around a bit and see what was up. The Port of
Ensenada has a huge flag that can be seen for miles and
miles. In the distance are some of the homes on the hill
with nice views of the bay.
I was rather surprised at the reach of American products and
Our riders arrived and we followed them into the finish zone
area. The place was packed and walking was difficult
because each rider had their bike with them frustrating any hope
of walking in a straight line. Chaos reigned, but we did
get to an area where we could sit on the grass. The race
ended at the Hotel Corona which is a pretty nice place.
The first order of business for the riders was food and
drink. Food of the day was tacos. They are not just
for breakfast anymore.
Scott shows his happiness at successfully completing the ride.
On our departure from the finish line madness, we passed a booth
that was offering photos with a lion cub for $20. Jackie
signed right up with her own allowance. Above, she gets
The cub was pretty big and it could surely hurt you if it had a
mind to. But, I believe that the keepers had the cat
lightly drugged to prevent any incidents. The yawn above
supports that theory as do the state of the eyes in the photo
Jackie was very pleased with her $20 investment and took home
some nice physical photos of the event.
Sex sells and big sex sells big. I doubt that the
feminists in the USA would tolerate this ad, but I have to tell
you that after seeing this ad I was searching for a department
store to purchase some of this perfume.
Any trip south of the border involves a border crossing to
return home. And, any border crossing involves dealing
with the street vendors that hawk their wares to captive
audiences trapped in their glass lined cages. The crossing
at San Ysidro (Tijuana) is the busiest crossing in the US and
there are world class street vendors there. They have
snacks, food, drinks, cheesy trinkets, blankets, hats,
shirts......ad nauseum. Eye contact always results in a
knock on your window.
The marketeers have figured out that the 2-3 hours that it takes
in line at the border would be a great way to sell things.
Note that in this one field of view, Dr. Carlos has two large
billboards. The sign on the cart says that you can get
shaved ice in many flavors, delivered to your car, even if the
traffic is moving.
In addition to the in-your-face street vendors, there were all
manner of beggars. Unlike some of the other pathetic
urchins that we passed, this girl is offering entertainment in
return for her tips. She stands on the shoulders of her
partner, likely her brother, and juggles. She was actually
pretty good and we gave her a buck for her efforts. Word
traveled fast and soon we were deluged with others demanding
By the time we made it back to our house, it was fully
dark. We had a full moon and the skies were quite clear.
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