Guatemala City and General || Second Antigua Ride with Backshop Bikes || El Zur with Old Town Outfitters || Tikal || Lake Atitlan with Old Town Outfitters || Rio Dulce with Old Town Outfitters || Acatenango with Old Town Outfitters
While the mountain biking in Canada’s Sea to Sky corridor is diverse and amazing, there are times in the year when its nice to leave the wet coast. Fall shoulder season is from Mid October to Mid November, when the rains come and before the snow falls, its a time when you want to hold onto summer before the colds of winter arrive. Where to go? Guatemala has been mentioned a fair bit as a mountain biking destination. Our friend Tom Pro of Gravity Logic raved about it as have others. Based on this we arranged a few rides with Backshop Bikes which is run by Juan Alberto DelaRoca. Juan lives part time in Colorado, USA and part time in Guatemala.
We booked our flights through Aero Mexico, don’t carry on bike tools or anything that can look like it can be used as a weapon, they’ll take it away in the Mexico airport. We rented Kona Processes from Old Town Outfitters so we wouldn’t have to bring our own down. This proved a wise move since in the Mexico airport you have to pick up your baggage on your connecting flight and go through security again. This also allowed us to do other trips with Old Town Outfitters we wouldn’t otherwise do with the burden of your own bike, such as a Trip to Tikal, a hike up Acetenango and a trip to Rio Dulce.
We rented Kona Precepts from Old Town Outfitters so we wouldn’t have to bring our own down. This proved a wise move since in the Mexico airport you have to pick up your baggage on your connecting flight and go through security again. This also allowed us to do other trips with Old Town Outfitters that we might not have been able to do if we were bogged down by bikes such as a Trip to Tikal, a hike up Acatenango and a trip to Rio Dulce.
Once in Guatemala we spent one day in Guatemala City. This story includes some of the other colour and culture of Guatemala which is a reason in itself to visit. In Guatemala City. We stayed at Posado Belen where we were well taken care of, they picked us up at the airport and arranged a taxi ride to Antigua on our departure day. While you can book through Trip Advisor, it was easier to make arrangements by calling their toll free number directly.
We arrived in Antigua where we would base for the next two weeks, and stayed the first week in the Hostel Casa Del Sol.
Three other of Juan’s friends joined us for our rides. Wes, who is staying here for 6 months (also from the USA) and , two local Guatemalans. Humber is a a young ripper while Pablo Jose is another avid skilled mountain biker who takes time away from growing Avocados and other vegetables through Good Life Guatemala, as well as being a dad to ride as much as he can. Pablo Jose has a pretty cool little Kia Truck common in Guatemala that we used as our shuttle vehicle. While nice on short trips, it would be tough on a longer drive.
Ride One with Backshop Bikes – Antigua Backyard Rides
Our first ride was on three trails just outside Antigua in the villages of Sta Tomas and Sta Lucia.. We rode Lecheria Trail off a place called Hobbitenango, La Pinada a popular downhill trail near Antigua and another zone being scoped out by Pablo Jose where we were able to finish our ride by cruising back into Antigua and our Hostel.
Lecheria was a classic Latin American trail using old Mayan trails that connect the fields and towns. Characterized by deep trenches that have been bermed and dotted with jumps, these features are unique to ride! Pinada has had more work on it to make it more mountain bike specific. While the trails are still shared by the locals, Pinada has a mountain biking feel to it. They were all blasts to ride.
Our shuttle truck and start of the first trail
Wes railing the berms
Sharon berming it up
Humber not getting distracted by the views
Then we drive back up for Lap 2
Pablo on his classic Santa Cruz V10 hucking it up!
Humber, steeper then it looks!
Pablo, why ride roots when you can air them?
Yup, old trails, but fun to ride
Juan heading down
Lap three we’re joined by Pablo’s dog, Solly
First a push up through the corn fields
Then into the forest
Back down we go
Through the trails and back into Antigua
Where shuttling seems normal
Where to Stay
Casa Del Sol. If you like communal living this is the place to stay. It has a kitchen, open concept living area and is a great place to socialize and meet others who stay in Antigua. If Backshop Bikes has a big group, Juan will book the complete hostel which would be an awesome experience. As we were only two there were people from many different places staying here, a Venezuelan, Germans, Swiss, Americans etc.
Where to Eat
Breakfast at Cafe Condesa
Lunch between Shuttle runs at Churrascos Gaby San Lucas
Dinner at Pappy’s BBQ
Picking up some beer at the Grocery store
Elevation Profile and Map
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