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Rosarito-Ensenada bike race Saturday: fewer folks but festive

April 14, 2009 | 10:04 am

Ensenadabikerace

The start of Saturday's Rosarito to Ensenada Fun Bike Ride will not look anything like the 1998 scene pictured above (it's one of only a few race photos in our database.)

Because of a poor economy and safety concerns stemming from Mexico's drug war, crowds are expected to be down substantially, but the mood among competitors should be just as festive and the Tecate girls at the finish line just as beautiful.

"Sadly, we are anticipating only about 3,500 riders, and we attribute it mostly to bad press in the United States," said Gary Foster, race director. "For our business, 7,500 is average, and break even is 5,000."

Foster's frustration is understandable. As mentioned before on Outposts, some media outlets have unfairly implied that all of Mexico is unsafe, even though victims of the drug war have been almost exclusively people involved in the drug trade or authorities waging the  war against them.

"We in the U.S. are fueling the drug demand and supplying the weapons, yet we are quick to assign blame on Mexico and paint a distorted portrait for the sake of sensational ratings," Foster continued. "The media campaign against Mexico is doing nothing to hurt the bad guys. It's hurting no one but the average citizen: the taxi driver, the hotel housekeeper, the cook, the souvenir shop owner. Tourists are not the target, nor are they in danger."

Registration will be open from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Rosarito Beach Hotel. For details, click here.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Associated Press

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