#SHREDulita Part 2
You might not expect a popular surf area to be our top choice for a mountain bike trip – but when we heard about trails being built in Sayulita it didn’t take much to seal the deal. We were so excited to put our 2019 collection of multi-sport shorts, leggings, and tops to use that a beautiful beach destination ended up being the perfect place to cram as much as one can into 10 days. Between the mountain biking, hiking, surfing (well…trying to), yoga on the beach, and indulging in fantastic international cuisine, we found little time to think about how hard it would be to leave.
We owe thanks to the lovely Betsy Welch who inspired the location with her article Trails Not Walls about the MTB communities being built in Mexico. Betsy traveled from the states to Sayulita as part of a volunteer group who traded trail building knowledge and trail work for lodging, surfing, cervezas, and a tour of the wild rides up in the mountains of inland Mexico. (At her recommendation we also made a side trip up to those trails, stay tuned for that later in the series!)
Finding trail tools, aka machetes, in the jungle clued us in to something Betsy points out in her article – in the US “rider is not always synonymous with builder.” But in Mexico this is not the case and being a rider comes with trail building. Using tools like machetes is indicative of the labor intensive work involved. We were lucky enough to be guided on the trails by the people building them, like our new friend Edgar, who participated in the week-long trail building class, and Sofia, the only known woman mountain biker living in Sayulita at the time. You can imagine that a company based on women’s specific mountain bike shorts was somewhat foreign and you know we had her outfitted by the time we left.
One name seems to be synonymous with mountain biking in Sayulita and the greater area, and that is Javier. Owner and operator of WildMex, a rental and guide service that donates all the proceeds of the bike rentals back to the trails. (This is also the only place that rents mountain bikes in the area.) Javier is the driving force for mountain biking infrastructure and his efforts are further reaching than Sayulita. He had to dip out of one of our rides to meet, spur of the moment, with a high ranking politician to argue his case for a project.
Riding the hand-built trails, winding through the jungle and overlooking the ocean on the outskirts of the charming town of Sayulita was completely foreign but the sense of community around the sport reminded us that mountain biking has no borders.