I’ve got many friends who live and /or race on both side of the US/Mexico border. Some of them live in Tijuana or Ensenada, but many of them live north of that line in the dirt. Don’t let that border fence keep you from going down south and having a great ride.
- The racing is cheap. For example, my friend Omar Lozano is promoting a race in Tijuana On November 30th, and entry fees run between 180 and 250 pesos, depending on your category. That’s only $15/$20. That makes the entry fees about half of what they are in the US (Americans may have to pay $2-3 dollars more for insurance)
- Tijuana and Mexico in General are safe. I usually accumulate several weeks in Mexico each year, and I’ve never felt unsafe. Of course there are some bad neighborhoods, just as there are in any city. There are neighborhoods right here in San Diego where I wouldn’t want to walk around after dark. The same goes for LA, New York, or any big city.
- The racing is fun! There is just something about racing in Mexico that is different than racing in the US. Everyone races hard, but I feel like nobody takes themselves too seriously. The racing scene in Mexico reminds me of cyclocross and MTB racing, in that the racing is hard and the athlete are fit. But everyone is also having a great time.
- The border wait has been significantly reduced. For the last decade or so, the San Ysidro Border wait could be a big barrier, with borders waits reaching 3 hours at peak times. But recent opening of additional lanes, has reduced the border wait during those peak times to 45 minutes, and sometimes as little as 15!
- You don’t have to drive your car across the border. Many of the Americans that I know ride across and to the race, so that is always an option. You can also park your car on the north side of the border, cross by foot, and hop in a minivan cab to get a ride to the race. The races in Tijuana are not far from the border and a cab ride will be cheap. If you do drive, it is a good idea to get Mexican insurance from our friends at Baja Bound. Your insurance company may cover you for somewhere around 20-25 miles into Mexico, but if you get in a fender bender, the Mexican authorities won’t recognize it. Yet another option is to get a shuttle from Chula Vista to the race v I personally have an annual policy from Baja Bound, so I prefer to simple drive across.
- You can have some great food while you are there: Tijuana is a great up an coming culinary scene. And whether you prefer gourmet meals, or food from a street cart, TJ has some of the best. In fact I’ve never been much for ceviche or sushi but I’ve recently grown fond if it, And some of the best fish I’ve ever had in my life was from places with plastic tables and chairs in Mexico.
- It feels like a mini adventure: Even though I cross the border frequently, I still feel like it is a small adventure every time I do. It just breaks up the monotony of doing the same thing every day, or every weekend.
If you’d like to give racing in Mexico a try, you’ve got a great opportunity to give it a go on November 30th. But even if you can’t race that day, keep an eye on Omar’s website for his races in the US and Mexico.