Just seeing the word Resbaloso, much less speaking or hearing it, gives me an adrenaline rush. It’s a Spanish word that translates to “slippery” in English and is the name given to an infamous trail descent into the town of Creel, Mexico.
Creel is in the highlands of the Copper Canyon area and is something of the adventure sport and tourism hub of the region. It’s not that there aren’t other ways to drop down into the town from the surrounding mesas. But the Resbaloso, for whatever reason, became the preferred way. The elevation loss from the top of the complex of mesas down to the town is only a couple of hundred feet. But it comes dramatically and in about as short a distance as possible, making it steep.
Undoubtedly, it’s mostly walked. As one of the more direct ways into the town, it likely came to be used since it was one of the fastest ways to go either up or down. I certainly walked it from time to time but ended up riding my mountain bike, mostly down it, more than just a few times. Even in the best of conditions, plenty of things can go wrong when riding it. Not the least of which includes falling or riding off its downhill edge. But when the conditions are less than prime, such as after a rain, just staying upright can be a challenge.
I realized early on that successfully riding up the trail was not realistic, at least for me. Through the years, I worked out the technical moves needed for riding down it without crashing and ultimately rode it numerous times and under various conditions without auguring head-first into a tree or some such thing. But still, I never started down without some measure of trepidation or concern. Maybe, that’s because I witnessed, more than once, others riding off the edge, crashing into giant rocks, or doing face-plants. Every time I rode down it with a group, I breathed a sigh of relief whenever we got down to the bottom with everyone and everything intact.
Through the years, I repeated the riding technique adage of ”Look where you want to go and not at what you want to avoid” when instructing others in mountain biking skills. For the most part, I stuck to those words myself. And I found them applicable to various situations, and they helped me ride successfully to the bottom of the Resbaloso without crashing more than once. And so, that 200 yards of steep trail that most people have never heard of convinced me of the ultimate power of visualization.