Niko’s Kantina Ride: Copper Canyon

Eventually I stopped and sat mid hill, emotionally exhausted but physically numb…

Bags, check. Chileaquiles in my belly, check. Gas, check. A bit of water and a bag of cookies. Destination Urique Canyon. Up and down and up and down again. Try not to get killed by drunk truckers or narcos. Simple plan.
I check my bike and start the day with no phones. I want to hear if everything is fine. We do a couple of switchback turns on bad pavement and my trust in Mexicans is really low at this point. 50 kilometers is a 100 for them, potholes are impassable roads in their mind.

Soon I learned that they know what they are talking about. After we got up on top of the first hill we hit gravel. Easy, nice gravel. Keep riding at a good speed, passing trucks who keep throwing empty cans out of their cabin. Road pop… Eventually we meet with a trio of bikers, one from Switzerland and a couple of Texans. We exchange greetings, some info about the road so on and so forth. The Swiss guy points out that his bike is light (a very minimalistic DR 650) and mine is heavy. “Lots of loose rocks, it was a bitch going down, I can’t imagine I’d go up there. It took us 3,5 hours, should take you at least 4”. The other two gave fed me the same story. “It’s an hour to Urique”, we were 22kms from there!

I start to get worried. How would I tell to Danes dad that he got shot?! His dad is in the army… What if I get shot? I shrugged this unnecessary thoughts away. Let’s take less than an hour for that little canyon.

From 2600 meters down to about 560, almost a straight drop. In dirt, with trucks and a shit load of dust. That’s how it takes an hour. It was a hell of a ride. One of those rides when you feel like you should stop for taking pictures, but you also want to ride this road. So many roads like that in this life…

Urique

It was hazy and it was starting to get warm. Actually hot. I felt like a little ham getting ready for Christmas at that point. Once we got down and through Urique, crossed the river that carries the same name as the village we stop. Time for motocross shirt and gloves. We were about to enter the “technical” section.

Most of the road that day was something like that
And this was probably the hardest section…

Lose rocks. Ok, but somehow I was expecting lose boulders on a non-stop clutch burning steep incline. I was almost disappointed til we got to the part pictured above. It took us to stop and study the line. I almost dropped the bike because I didn’t want to go too fast and eventually went too slow and stalled right up on that corner. For the rest, it was a ride in the park. A huge, awesome park.

And the narcos you’d ask? We met a couple, saw a couple of guns and a machine gun, I stopped to talk to them, they were all polite and ok dudes, so I soon forgot about this. The actual scary part were the bulls. The bulls in the middle of nowhere, usually standing opposite to a deep ditch, freaking out as you passed. That was scary.


As we climbed to the top, took us about an hour, we got to see street signs! I was so amused, took me way too many pictures, analyzing the bullet holes and vandalizing a little bit. In the end, we are in the land of outlaws.

The other side was as fantastic as the Urique side. We could already see the river Batopilas, but we had no idea how long it will take us. My gps was useless for that matter. The roads are way different as on it’s maps.

These views make you feel small. Almost as small as you feel when you check the map to see your 2 month progress. We are like a little shit that a fly drops on your helmet… ok, lets not got there one again!
The other side was steep I guess, and it was getting hot once again. It was like how I picture a colonoscopy. It was getting old. Engine brake, rear brake, switchback. And repeat. Over and over again. Once every now and then I’d stop, enjoy the scenery for a moment and then go back to work. At that point, hanging off the cliffs, I could only wonder how our destination looks like. Sincerely, I was expecting a shitty little village, full of degenerates. But home was there. There is no other place anyway.

Finally we are at the bottom. Took us about 3 hours, 3,5 with stops. I can already smell tacos de machaca and beer! The ride was not hard as for physical strain, but it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Mostly very positive, but at times I felt like “why I’m I doing this?” It was, I admit, fear of the unknown. Sometimes it happens…

We connect to a road that seems like we’ve got way out of the canyon. I’m intrigued. The village, is way bigger than expected, has it’s share of degenerates (first person to approach us), but it has a very quiet, relaxed feel. We find a place to eat called restaurante Carolinas. And the waitresses? Wow, my eyes were indulging in all that beauty, I still cannot believe what you can find in the most remote places on Earth. The food was great too, and hey, we found a really nice place to stay. Which formed a sacred triangle of goodies. Carolinas for food, right across the square our little oasis where we stayed and right across the street a shop, that would carry pretty much anything you could imagine.

But that mysterious road was calling upon me. I had to ride it. At least a little bit. I was said it leads to the deepest point of the canyon.

So I take off the biggest bag and go for the last ride of the day. Sunset, nobody on the road and something that got me completely by surprise. That road. That road!

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