July 09, 2007

Tejupilco (Mexico), 08.07.07

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

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 188 Km, Total Ascent: 2,228 m, Total Descent: 3,068 m, Time: 8:16 hr, Avg. Speed: 22.4 Km/hr, Max Speed: 76.4 Km/hr, Energy Expended: 35.56 MJ, Power: 300 W.

Travel Report:

Upsss, I did it again ! Another cycling ride that starts at the early hour of 07:30 ! We are again back on the right track :-), although still an hour and half later than intended ...

This ride had the stated purpose of arriving at the San Miguel Ixtapa Archaeological Site, but as we will later discover, it proofed impossible to make the visit to the site on Sunday, and get back to Mexico City in the same day

I took Constituyentes Avenue (less than 5 km from home) in order to exit Mexico City and gain access to the free Toluca highway. This is an interesting ascent of 1,000 m up to the Tres Cruces summit (alt: 3,220 m) in 25 km (4 % grade), where I arrived at 09:20. From here comes a descent all the way to La Marquesa and Lerma, from where a gentle slope took me up to the state capital: Toluca.

I couldn't pay a visit to the Toluca center, as I took instead the highway to Temazcaltepec (Pacifico Avenue), in order to save time ... and started the second summit of the day: the ascent to Buenavista.

This road climbs up to a pass between La Calera and San Antonio mountains, reaching a higher altitude than Tres Cruces at 3,300 m. And the climbing is hard, as it is also a long way, from Toluca to the Buenavista summit. But the landscapes are superb ! You are riding near the Xinantecatl (Nevado de Toluca), an impressive broad volcano. As the sky was clear (owed to the previous night rainfall), the vistas of the volcano left me speechless. Man, it is great to ride early and have a clear sky ! I would recommend you a visit to these superb panoramic views at the Photoset Show link, above posted.

From this second summit, comes a slalom descent all the way down to Temazcaltepec (alt: 1,700 m). It is a 1,600 m descent in 45 km (3.5 % grade) ! Temazcaltepec is a picturesque town lost in the sierra, with beautiful roofs made of teja (red colored curved bricks) ... and weather more akin to tropical states like Tabasco or Guerrero. Really, once in Temazcaltepec, you could feel the hot and humidity that is usually found in southern Mexican states, but alas ! I had not get out still of the Mexico state :-) I could even say that the people also started to resemble more akin to the tropical towns in Mexico, meaning with that that they were becoming friendlier and happier than its northern neighbours. Needless to say, Temazcaltepec has no problem at all with water: they have lots of it.

From Temazcaltepec to Tejupilco the road is a sierra-crosser, as I had to climb two summits more, albeit less higher. The highway between this two towns is in pristine conditions. I imagine it has just been re-pavemented, or it is being expanded to a 4-lane highway. Besides, the vistas along the highway are wonderful: you can admire the magnificence of the sierra that was just being crossed. Lots of vegetation, hills, mountains, and a beautiful silence.

Once I crossed those small summits, a descent comes, which enabled me to arrive at Tejupilco at 16:00. Tejupilco is a beautiful town like no other one. Its Cathedral, Main Square, Market and Municipal Palace are so loaded with tradition, that you could swear you were standing in a town of a century ago. It looks so old, yet in a very sustained condition, that it gives the illusion of being aboard a time machine. I loved this town ! I roamed a bit around the Main Square, just admiring the beauty and tradition of its main buildings. What I liked most was its Cathedral, all in white painted, and located at the top of what appeared to me as a hill. It is accessed by stairs. The whole Main Square of Tejupilco made me ask myself if, by any chance, Macondo (the eternal town in One Hundred Years of Solitude) would be a lot different from what I had in front of my eyes. I was waiting (just half-hearted) to see appearing from the corner to Jose Arcadio Buendía :-)

But the show must go on, and I had to take a decision whether continuing or not the trip to San Miguel Ixtapa. Problem was: the archaeological site had closed 1 hour ago (really, that site closes at 15:00 on Sundays !), and there were no buses taking me back from Ixtapa to Tejupilco (being it a 400 m ascent), and the last bus to Mexico City departed at 19:00. If I went to Ixtapa, just to know the town, I would not be able to climb the last ascent back and be in Tejupilco before the last bus to Mexico City departed. So I decided not to go to Ixtapa, leaving that visit to the next occasion I come to Tejupilco. Instead I choosed to roam around town, visiting for example the road to La Estancia Ixtapa, just before the descent road to San Miguel. I also looked for the house were Miguel Hidalgo, the founding father of Mexico, was born, but up to my dismay, not even the police was able to tell me were in hell the house was located !

At 19:00 I reached the bus central, and tried to take the bus, but ... the bus had no big luggage boxes, and I was not able to load my bicycle. I had to wait for the next bus (that came from Altamirano City, Guerrero, at 19:30, fare: 80 pesos) in front of the Church, but again, no big luggage boxes. But this time I was in no mood for waiting for the next (if any) bus, so I had to take off the frontal wheel and ... voila, here we go in the bus :-)

The return bus trip back home took nearly 4 hours, arriving at Observatorio Terminal at 23:00. A short subway trip and I was finally back at home's safety.

Final thougths: Tejupilco represents the first leg of a three day cycling touring from Mexico City to the coastal fishing town of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero (old nahua Cihuatlan: Place of Women), target of a cycling ride that I have already in mind. The second leg is Altamirano City, in the southern state of Guerrero. So, simply stated, stay tuned ... :-)

Thank you for reading. Till the next travel.

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