By Kyle Kirby
After an early morning and a quick drive down to the Tecate border crossing, three of us from Marc Pro (Dave, Nate, and myself, Kyle) got suited up and headed out to the start of the Baja Bike Race. There’s not too many races where you have to ride across an international border to get to the start, definitely a cool experience.
Baja Bike Race is an interesting format, technically a gran fondo, but prize money is given in hopes of attracting a solid pro field to race from Tecate to Downtown Ensenada. As we rolled out from Tecate the excitement started, with the local and federal police shutting down the roads and letting us fly through the busy town center. As we hit the first few climbs the group dwindled down to about fifteen riders, many of whom were local Mexican pros including 4 time Baja Bike Race winner Eder Frayre. Everyone knew he was the one to watch as we hit the climbs, but he still somehow managed to escape with two other locals, establishing the winning move. While racing hard in the chase group with Dave, Nate, and myself it was nice to be able to look around and see the beauty of the Baja Wine Country that we were grateful to race through.
The different vineyards and roadside markets were a beautiful and drastic change of scenery to what we see just a few miles north, back in the US. Racing into downtown Ensenada, Dave and I tried to counter attack our chase group, attempting to cause a split or get away and grab 4th. As we turned onto the coast things got exciting, as the roads were still open to traffic so we dove in and out of cars, racing through rush hour in Ensenada. In the end, Dave ended up 7th and I ended up 10th, with Nate close behind just outside of the top 10.
But the fun didn’t stop when the racing did, as we were treated to a finish line fiesta complete with tacos, cervezas, and any other classic Mexican cuisine you could think of. After relaxing and enjoying the party we packed into some shuttles and made the road trip back north to Tecate, and finished out the day with a short ride back across the border and back home. A big thanks to the organizers of this great event for giving us a taste of racing south of the border, we’re all looking forward to going back to the Baja Bike Race in 2019!