Prepping for the Rosarito-Ensenada bike race

Rosarito-Ensenada 50-Mile Bike Race, 2018

For my birthday in 2018, I asked for a new bike. My wish was granted, and I upgraded from a Specialized Vita Elite to a Liv Langma. Captain Safety loves Rosarito, Mexico. And he loves cycling. Imagine our glee at finding out the largest bike ride in Mexico is from Rosarito to Ensenada. It was perfect! Unfortunately, the race was cancelled in 2023 and it looks like it’s not coming back in 2024.


The Rosarito-Ensenada Ride is billed as a fun ride, and it lives up to the name. There were more than 8,000 cyclists registered, and no corral system. We had seen pictures of the start, so we planned to get out early to get a good starting spot. Our last races had maybe a hundred cyclists at the starting line, so we were a little nervous about crowding, crashes and space. We got out to the start at 8 AM and had the place to ourselves. The race started at 10, and we would have had more than enough room if we had gotten out at 9.

The start of the Rosarito-Ensenada bike race

Mile 1-10

We planned to go out easy to 1) conserve energy and 2) avoid crashes. We succeeded in both. This area has a bunch of slowly rolling hills through small towns, and skirts along the ocean. You can’t see much of the water due to towns and oceanfront real estate, but lots of kids on the side of the road calling for candy. Lots of crowds the whole way through, which was really encouraging. About an hour in, I realized I hadn’t started my watch, so I missed the first hour of data. <cry>

Mile 10-25

Here we planned on sprinting, or at least taking it up a notch. It didn’t feel like we added extra speed, or took better advantage of the hills, but I was glad for it.

Mile 25-35, El Tigre

This is a long, extended climb with minor shifts in grade. It has a reputation for making people walk. I was not going to be that person. So I did manage to make the whole incline at about a 6 mph average, lowest gears possible, no stops, no rests, no walking. The incline skirts the side of the mountain, so you can see the cyclists ahead of you, and it doesn’t look too much higher, totally doable. It was really neat.

Mile 35-50

The topo map makes it look like there’s some rolling hills and then one smooth downhill after the big ascent. The topo lies.

There’s a bunch of nice downhills, but then another up, and another, and another. So mentally, these hills are harder, as you’ve spent most of your energy on the big one. But we managed to pedal through, with two stops – one official rest stop and one roadside fruit vendor. Scenery here is very different but still pretty. Goes through Mexican wine country, so hills and fields, although it is a dry desert landscape and not a lush green one.


The fiesta was a really hyped part of this ride. After being spoiled at American rides, with a complimentary lunch and sometimes a beer, we were surprised that the fiesta was a cash event. So we picked up our medals, listened to a pretty darn good cover band, noshed on churros and headed back to Rosarito on a group shuttle for ceviche and lobster dinner.

Would totally do this ride again, with some minor organizational edits, better pre-hydration, and more cash.

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