February 12, 2007

Teotenango Archaeological Site (Mexico). February 11th, 2007

Map Navigation: This dynamic Trackmap shows the GPS track (red line) and some geo-referenced photos (red dots) of the cycling tour. Wheel up and wheel down your mouse to zoom in or zoom out the map. Click on any point in the map to center it on that point. Or just drag the map with your mouse. To see the photos, hoover the mouse over the red dots. Click on the photo to go to the picture page.

Photoset Map

Photoset Show

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

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 165 Km. Climb: 2350 m. Time: 7:01 hr, Average Speed: 23.4 Km/hr, Energy expended: 33.36 MJ, Cycling Power: 329 W

Travel Report:

This ride started at the relatively early hour of 07:00, but, as I was starting to climb Constituyentes in order to have access to the free highway to Toluca, I broke my chain, because one of its links opened itself, so I had to start looking for a bike repair shop at that early hour :-( Fortunately, I discovered a repair shop (in front of Parque Mexico) at about 2 km of the place where I broke my chain, so I could have repaired it. The tricky part was walking all that way with my carbon fiber SPD shoes ... :-(

After repairing my chain and proofing it (since the road was going to be pure ascent to the Tres Cruces summit, climbing: ca 1,000 m), at 09:50 I could restart the ride towards Toluca. Originally this ride was intended to visit the Archaeological Site of Huamango, but since I had already lost 3 hours, it was now impossible to arrive on time at Huamango, since it closes at 15:00. So I had to re-plan the ride, and after arriving at Toluca, I had to make up my mind. To where from here ?

I asked a police officer in the street about archaeological sites nearby Toluca. He offered me 2 options: Teotenango and Calixtlahuaca, but he recommend me Teotenango for its historical riches and museum. OK, so I decided to ride to Teotenango (Place of the divine wall). The road after Toluca is a little bumpy, since there are a lot of holes in the pavement, a world of difference with the streets of Toluca. Although the ride is mainly plain, I was starting to asking myself when I could arrive at Tenango del Valle, which is the name of the town that hosts the site. Somewhere in the middle of the road (later I knew this place name is Sta Maria RayĆ³n) I found a big religious procession that was heading to visit the Guadalupe Basilica, in Tepeyac, Mexico City. This walking march would take them to this big religious sanctuary in three days ! And in the same town, I discovered an ancient dancing custom, where the kids of the travellers stayed at home, but dancing at the sound of indigenous musical instruments ! Wow, that was my pic of the day :-) It is very interesting knowing that even in presents days, five centuries later than the spanish conquest, there are still indigenous traditions, alive and kicking ! I hope I could find more of this really interesting and capturing traditions on my travels by Mexico :-)

After this dancing, I continued the ride and found along the road a fellow cyclist, with whom I could talk a little, since our destination was the same: Tenango del Valle, in fact, he guided me to the center of the town (he most ride back to his hometown: Toluca). I went to the market of Tenango, where I could eat some fruits (mainly citrics) in order to continue to the Pyramids.

The archaeological site is just a couple of minutes after the downtown. Once inside, I was recommended to visit the museum first, since it closed earlier than the rest of the site. So, I followed the guardian's suggestion and paid a due visit to the site's Museum. Inside the museum a myriad of sculptures and ceramics artifacts can been appreciated. There is even a room dedicated to the display of stone sculptures of nahua gods, really interesting. Its collection of pottery and ceramics is astounding. There are even paintings and some ancient musical instruments displayed. As a curiosity, in the museum are displayed some mammoth bones ... and tools for hunting and eating them, mmhh :-)

Once I had finished the visit to the museum, I started the climbing to the proper archaeological site. It is an almost a 100 m climb from the entrance, over a big-stone paved way, really tricky terrain to make a very steep ascent, if you mind. Some how I could finish it and at its end, the magnificent pyramids !

I took over my bike with me along platforms and pyramids, so I could access most of the site. This site is enormous ! And the weather could not be better, just sun and sun in sight, no hint of rain or stormy clouds :-) So I climbed to the plazas ... and discovered a lot of kids just plainly playing soccer on the plains of the site. I got the impression that people come to this site as a camping day (more that to study history), but well, this is _their_ place. I missed more signboards alongside the monuments, plazas and pyramids, telling the visitors the history and purpose of the buildings. Once I climbed to the top of one Pyramid, the vista was superb, as you can view all the surroundings in one clear shot. Along the stairs of one Pyramids, some reliefs can bee seen where the representation of an eclipse is depicted (represented by a sitting jaguar eating a flower or heart, in the year 2-rabbit).

After finishing this short visit to the Teotenango Pyramids, I went to the town of Tenago del Valle, where could know its Main Square, and its church, where I found the curious detail that the church had on its top our national flag, but with the national shield changed, from the eagle and serpent ... to an image of Christ ! My God, this is an illegal behaviour, but ... who is going to say a word about it (and mix up with the customs of a town) ? :-)

I had now to return as fast as possible to La Marquesa, since I had only a couple of hours with solar light. In my return to Mexico City, instead of returning via Toluca (which proved to be a big turn), I choosed to ride directly to La Marquesa. This road passes through Texcalyacac, and the deviation to Tianguistenco and Xalatlaco. After the last town of Texcalyacac, a 600 m climbing starts that will take us to La Marquesa, where I arrived at the late hour of 18:38. From here another ca. 200 m climbing remained in front of me before reaching again Tres Cruces, which I arrived at 18:54. Light was almost off now, so I had to descent almost 1000 m (elevation), again in darkness. As I have done this nocturnal descent a couple of time before, I lost no time and went for the last leg of my journey, reaching the end of this travel at 19:40 in Mexico City, again safe and sound :-)

Till the next ride, and thank you for reading :-)

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