Saturday, April 3, 2010

Carrera Route for 2010 Announced

Old Acqueduct in Zacatecas

The route of the 2010 La Carrera Panamericana has been announced. Here are the cities where the event will start, finish, and stop for the night:

Tuxtla Gutierrez (start), Oct. 22
Zacatecas (finish), Oct. 28

This will be first time, at least in 13 years, the race has ended in Zacatecas, which is 426 miles from Nuevo Laredo, the traditional end of the event.

By returning to Morelia, the comeptitors will be treated to a run down the famous mountain road, Mil Cumbres ("one thousand peaks").

Unfortunately, the race returns to Guadalajara and maybe the village of Tequila, which is a long drive just for a fancy dinner. 99% of the people in Guadalajara, Mexico's second city, do not know La Carrera.

Puebla and Aguascalientes are old Pan Am stops. Both are big, industrial cities, but with interesting old colonial downtown areas. Aguascalientes ("hot waters") was also the railroad center of Mexico--with a magnificant museum in a locomotive factory devoted to this history.

The race will finish and spend the last night in the beautiful old silver city of Zacatecas, one of the undiscovered wonders of Mexico. At 8000 feet in elevation, it tends to be cool and windy, but it's a magnificant city. All competitors are encouraged to spend at least on exta night in Zac to explore and enjoy the city before heading home. There is parking for trailers at the Don Miguel Hotel, on the main highway through town.

All of the cities on the route have airports which have direct flights to the U.S. or connecting flights through Mexico City. Another good option is the airport in Leon-Guanajuato (BJX) that serves the Queretaro and Aguascalientes area as well. The race will go by the Leon airport on its way to Aguascalientes.

European interest in the event is high again this year, and the organizer expects another sellout. Entries from the U.S. are coming in more slowly. The entry fee goes up $500 on May 1, so it's time to fish or cut bait for "los norteamericanos."