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Driving MEX to La Malinche?

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Re: Driving MEX to La Malinche?

Postby mtnjim » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:16 pm

Just a quick update. I flew into MEX at noon last Friday, was escorted to the Thrifty rental place and picked up the car. Following suggestions from ThornTree and here, I used the credit card insurance for the rental with the Thrifty million peso liability rider ($17US/D) and got a GPS also ($6US/D). Everything went smoothly for the first part of the drive, about a half mile when I thought I was folllowing the directions to "bear right" and heard the soon-to-be-dreaded "recalculating" from the GPS for the first time. wandered around the area near the airport for maybe 45 minutes (recalculating) (recalculating) til i was finally on my way out of Mexico City. There were really no problems til Apizaco when the address I had entered for the Hotel La Posada took me somewhere else. Easily remedied by asking directions at the nearest gas station.

The next morning, I drove out to the Centro Vocacional Malinitzi 3065m for a little acclimatizing and to make sure I could find the place. There are only two turns from the hotel to the Centro but I managed to miss them both the first time through. Asked directions at the first opportunity each time and was corrected and on my way.

I hiked up to treeline on the trail. Most of it appeared to have been redone recently, wide with drainage gutters. I've done a few hillclimbs with comparable grade (2000'in 2.3 miles, 3000' in 4 miles) but was surprised at this trail's sustained steepness. I met some other runners out doing the same as I was.

Race day was clear and sunny. The previous 2 days had been a bit cloudy am but no precip. Big crowd. They had chartered a bus from Mexico City and the parking lot was almost full when I got there 1 1/2 hours before the start. Picked up my number and the race director introduced me to another runner in my age group (65+) and a couple of other local runners. The other old guy looked really fit and I knew I'd need to push it.

The race started with about 1k on pavement through the Centro to the beginning of the trail, then up through the forest, not so steep at first but becoming tough after another small section of pavement. I have too many injuries so I fell back on the 1st part, then started passing way more folks than were passing me as it climbed and became steeper. Cazando los conejos. Rabbit hunting. There were spots of very slick still frozen mud as we got close to treeline but overall a really excellent trail. Until the spot I had reached the day before where a steep climb to the south(?) ridge proper began. There was no real trail but lots and lots of obviously tracked routes to the ridge through rocks, scree and volcanic sand. Go up as straight a line as will allow you to keep a good pace til it turned back to a normal trail on the ridge, follow the ridge to a steep talus slope then around to the final short scramble to the summit. Get tagged and head back down the same route. Just pick the straightest line that will let you stay on your feet and go.

I went pretty hard (for me) all the way down. I really wanted an age group win out of this. Slipped and smacked my shin in the talus, feet out from under my and down on the scree, on my tail in a muddy section lower down, but nothing nearly as spectacular as a couple of somersaults i saw ahead of me. Great recoveries , those guys! I finished in 2:47:something, good enough for an age group first, so I was pleased. Nice award ceremony, lots of congratulations and some pleasant conversations, well, as much as my poor Spanish will allow.

Then back to MEX to return the rental. Turned out that the preset for Thrifty was at an airport other than Benito Juarez and when I realized this and reset it I was on the wrong side of town. I suppose i should have seen this earlier but I was tired and it was almost dark. I did get quite a tour of parts of Mexico City that most tourists miss. Or avoid. The GPS kept trying to get me to jump off of overpasses or run into buildings (turn right NOW, recalculating, recalculating) but I eventually did get back and turned in the car and took a shuttle to the hotel for my 6:00am flight.

Fun trip but rushed. Now I'm thinking about the next race in the series, the Iztaccihatl 4000, a 25k with 2000m gain, from San Rafael to Chalchoapan. Thinking....thinking...thinking... we'll see...

Driving in Mexico wasn't really too bad. The area around the airport was a little tricky for me but the main routes there would have been fine if I'd known my way around at all. Out of Mexico City it wasn't much different than here. I was really surprised at how good the roads were. Lots of US highways are far worse. poor signage lots of places, though. As far as the Mexican driving style was concerned, except for a few instances of hesitation and a couple of lapses into courtesy (quickly corrected by me fellow drivers...beepbeepbeep, shouts) I fit right in. Intersections where the four lanes of your two lane road try to squeeze into or through the four lanes of another 2 lane road were a bit challenging. All in all, a really good trip.

Thanks all,
JimS

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Re: Driving MEX to La Malinche?

Postby Theodore » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:10 pm

Congrats! Glad to hear it turned out well. Gives me more hope for a yet-unscheduled Orizaba trip sometime in the future.

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Re: Driving MEX to La Malinche?

Postby cheeseburglar » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:24 pm

That is really cool. I don't think gringos can drive in DF without getting lost.
Makes me want to go trailrunning on Ixta!
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Re: Driving MEX to La Malinche?

Postby mtnjim » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:56 am

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