October 10, 2006

Xochicalco Archaeological Site + Cuernavaca (Morelos), 08.10.06

Map Navigation: This dynamic Trackmap shows the GPS track (red line) and some geo-referenced photos (red dots) of the cycling tour. Drag the map with your mouse. To see the photos, click your mouse over the little red dots. Click on the photos to go to the picture page.

Photoset Map

Photoset Show

GPS Track: GPX (MapSource, et al), or KMZ (Google Earth)

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 150 Km, Ascent: 1760 m, Time: 6:29 hr, Avg. Speed: 23.2 Km/hr, Max. Speed: 62.7 Km/hr.

Travel Report:

This journey was started by the author in Mexico City (2,240 m alt) at 12:20, a relatively late hour. But anyway, it is always a pain in the neck getting up early on Sundays ... The route we took was Tlalpan to the south, and later, the Free Highway to Cuernavaca. The plain terrain lasts about 15 Km (it was a little boring), but once the ascent starts, things got funny. The initial part of the ascent is the most demanding: But the traffic on the highway was smooth. The landscapes in this time of the year are beautiful, since the rain season has made all the hills greener and the tree foliage denser.

At 2,700 m elevation, we arrived at the Restaurant El MIrador, a place with a beautiful vista of the Mexico City Valley. Unfortunately, this vista was obstructed by a dense smog layer that impeded us from having a clear view of our valley, sorry. After taking some pictures, we continued the ascent to the summit, named La Cima (for a weather station in the surroundings), reaching it at 3,025 m, after 2 hours of cycling. This summit is nearly unimposing, because there is no clear indication where the peak is, so lets say that the Km 44 would mark the summit.

Descent starts and nothing could stop us before reaching the Zapata, in the entrance of Cuernavaca. This Zapata is an equestrian statue of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who fought (among others) Porfirio Díaz, the perennial president of the Mexican republic between 1876 and 1911. Zapata's motto was: "Land and Freedom". He is also quoted as stating: "The land belongs to those who work it". After taking some picture of his statue, i took the Toll Highway in order to avoid the bulk of Cuernavaca, preferring giving a big bypass to this city.

We took the road to Temixco, and Villa de las Flores, because I have planned the route to the archaeological site at Xochicalco going through the way to the airport and Tematla, preferring this route to the classical route to Alpuyeca first and then to Xochicalco. Now, I am not sure if this was the best approach. After a town named Acatlipa, we took the road to the airport, and then to Tetlama. This way was really hilly. Just ups and downs between hills and rivers. But heck, what else could i do but continue cycling ? At the end i arrived at Tetlama, a curious town in the middle of nowhere and at the top of a mountain. The cattle (big cebus) roamed here freely on the highway! I have never had to pass so near from a big cebu (1 m, and in a bike) so it was frightening to me, but somehow i managed to declare myself harmless to the big cebu that was standing in the middle of the road, so I could pass with no problem at all :-). At the end of Tetlama there is a road that took me straight to the archaeological site of Xochicalco.

I visited the museum and the entrance to the pyramids, but i could not continue further because i had arrived 20 minutes later than the last entry allowed hour. So, again, i took some photos of the place and decided to continue ahead the return tour to Cuernavaca. Taking now another path, this time I decided to go back to Cuernavaca using the road to Xochicalco and Alpuyeca. This one is a beautiful descent (300 m descent) with a highway in previous conditions. In the exit of Alpuyeca we stopped for some food (as i was starting to feel hungry). Alpuyeca has an elevation of 1,050 m, so we need some calories before we made the following ascent to Cuernavaca (at 1,550 m). The good news were that for this 500 m ascent we needed to ride 20 Km, so the slope would be only of 2.5 %. Certainly, something needed after 125 km and more than 1,500 m of gain ascent. Bad news was that again, we were losing solar light. The night loomed and it would be dark before we could arrive at Cuernavaca. But, what the heck, this wouldn't be our first (or last) ride in the night: alone and with no lights ...

This last leg of our journey was a little tricky, because there was a lot of traffic in Temixco, so i needed to bypass the cars using the middle "lane" (between both directions), but after Temixco, there was no more car jam. Our arrival at Cuernavaca was at 21:00 hrs, just in time to take some nocturnal photos of the Cuauhnahuac Museum in the center of the city. I proceed later to the Pullman Bus Terminal in order to take my bus back to Mexico City, arriving at 23:30. I could even manage to take the subway in order to be comfortably at home at 00:00 :-)

Thank you for reading. Till the next journey.


Hjalti said...

Wow! This really looks good. My ride logs, using just GPS tracks, aren't nearly as involved.

Here is another pretty good site using GPS and Google to track rides.

Erasmo Perez said...

Thank you very much for your comments :-) I am glad you liked the blog