Where to begin? Women’s Radical Pursuits far exceeded my expectations. I was excited to venture out on something new that embraced many things that I love. Biking, human connections, foreign cultures, yoga and good food and experienced all of these. The biking in the mountains of Oaxaca was phenomenal, and I am from Colorado! Amy Schweim, the trip leader, is tuned into her clients’ needs and desires. She speaks fluent Spanish and is a great companion navigating the unknown in a new area. She understood the desires of the group and made sure we had the best time of our lives.
I had an unfortunate travelling snafu on my way to Oaxaca and Amy was supportive and engaged as I navigated the alternative travel plans. I highly recommend WRP and the incredible adventures Amy continues to create for her business. I felt safe, loved and supported the entire trip. It was more of a friendship outing rather than a trip for hire.
Thank you Amy! I am still reeling from my experience.
Andrea Schumacher, Crested Butte, Colorado
Peru – Sacred Valley
“Amy is amazing! I recently went on her trip to Peru and it proved itself an adventure of a lifetime. Amy is a fun and inspirational guide and she quickly became a friend. She is an incredible mountain biker and led us in the most amazing yoga sessions. We were able to watch the sun rise over the Andes in our morning yoga sessions and feel the sun’s warmth as it filled the studio. The accommodations were incredible, as well. We had views of the Andes in every direction, the rooms were comfortable, and the food was amazing: organic, local, and full of flavor. The trails offered a bit of everything: breathtaking views, amazing and buffed out single track, rocky descents, drops, pastoral scenery, high alpine vistas, climbing up beyond the treeline, and riding along the ancient Incan trail complete with ruins. I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible trip. I’ll definitely travel with Amy again.”
Kebrina Vinglas, Bozeman, Montana
“I had a truly wonderful time on the Oaxaca 2018 trip! I was motivated by the mountain biking, my true-love sport of over 25 years, and Dia de los Muertos. It was my first trip to Mexico. So many other things over and above those special events were such incredible bonuses for me: the food, ideal style yoga (and I never do yoga!), lodging, stunning day trip to Hierve del Agua, shopping, mezcal production places, and the new friendships with fun, friendly women on the trip. And Amy is one of the warmest, most genuinely kind people you could ever meet. She’s so culturally knowledgeable and for sure fluent in Spanish, and she is a superbly skilled mountain biker, yet quite humble. She constantly checks in with her trip companions to make sure we are doing well emotionally and physically etc. etc. so that we make the most of our rides and other activities!”
Peru – Sacred Valley
“Women’s Radical Pursuits trip to Peru was a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with amazing people, rugged single track, and beautiful places. The trip was very well organized and Amy thought of everything to have a complete experience with gourmet food, a trip to Machu Picchu, and lodging in an amazing location. The bike riding was phenomenal and we were able to explore huge valleys at high altitude. I would go on this trip or any other with Amy in a heartbeat.”
Lindsay Records, Boulder, Colorado
Peru and the Sacred Valley
“Amy is such an inspiration and will undoubtedly leave an imprint on your heart like she did mine! I was fortunate to be a part of the Perú maiden voyage trip in 2018. This trip will change you. Like any trip Amy offers, you will come back a better version of yourself and gratitude will be abundant. If adventure is calling you, with Women’s Radical Pursuits you must go! Go. Right now.”
Laura Corder Durango, Colorado
Oaxaca Day Hike
We had the most incredible time with Amy/WRP in Lachatao! There’s no better word I can think of to describe that town and our experience than magical. And it’s definately not a place we would have found without Amy/WRP. We enjoyed amazing views and heartfelt conversations during the 1.5 hour drive from Oaxaca, had the best chilaquiles for breakfast there, and then were guided on what was not a hike as much as a spiritual exploration. Amy introduced us to Oscar who walked our group through various Zapotec traditions that were new to us but at the same time felt innate. It was a wonderful experience that empowered a strong sense of connectedness between our new group of friends and nature. Thank you so much Amy/WRP for making this possible! We were so excited to hear that Amy/WRP did day trips as well as overnight treks (although we wished we’d spent at least one night in Lachatao) and are already making plans to come back for Dia de los Muertos!
“From the minute we connected with Amy, we knew we had to go on an adventure with her. We had in our minds that we wanted to do a specific hike between the Pueblos but Amy suggested to us a trip to Lachatao instead (she’s the expert, we figured we should listen to her). We quickly found out why she fell in love with this magical place, where I instantly felt more connected to the earth and myself than I have before. It was like Amy knew exactly what I needed in my life at the right moment. During a time of exploration, my day with Amy gave me more insight into what was holding me back and how to move forward than I had in all of the weeks prior. I feel so lucky to have been introduced to Amy and cannot wait to see the amazing things she continues to do. I’m counting down the days until I can return to Latin America for another Amy adventure :)”
Oaxaca and Dia de los Muertos
Do you love travel, cultural experiences, friends, new and old, yoga, and riding your mountain bike? May I suggest this trip to Oaxaca! It will exceed your expectations. A struggle arises when formulating words to describe a heart and soul experience. Amy met me at the airport with an infectious smile and joyful spirit that set the tone for an unforgettable trip. The warmth of Oaxaca was palpable to all the senses– the geniality of the locals, warmth of temperature, oh the brilliant and happy colors, incredible odors of food wafting through the air, the celebrations and traditions of the Day of the Dead, the richness of culture. Truly unforgettable.
Jude and Ita extended open arms and hearts at the Casa Chicatana, the resting place while in the city. The rooms at Chicatana were light, clean, quiet, and colorful with very comfortable beds and warm showers down the hall–perfect location to unwind after a day filled with activity. Each tasty meal at Casa Chicatana surpassed the previous and fully satisfied my taste buds and belly. The streets were filled with liveliness, including parades, live music, face painters, food, art, rugs, jewelry, and souvenir vendors. Did I mention the food? Absolutely amazing. Each meal stimulated all 5 senses. I am vegetarian and never felt hungry or wanting for more food options. Every meal was fresh, prepared with love, and filled with color and balance. Mezcal. Has this clean and smooth liquor touched your lips? The smoky flavor envelops the oral cavity and although it was not my beverage of choice; it deepened the experience. If dancing is your passion, your heart and body will relish in moving to the latin beats at night… and even into the morning.
Although I thrive in the mountains, you are now aware of the city of Oaxaca’s impact on me and the excitement I felt walking through the streets, experiencing each moment to the fullest. Amy truly creates a space for experience. Oaxaca itself shines on its own! The Sierra Norte mountains captured my soul. Bikes were rented from a local bike shop owned by a sweet man, Pedro. He sent 2 local guides, one to ride with the gals and one to drive the truck and bring food and fluids, for the mountain bike portion. The bikes were hard tail, but fully functional and in great condition. The MTB portion was simply FUN. And inspirational. My bike took me through winding single track covered in leaves, stunning views, double track, dirt roads, rocky technical sections, narrow trails, down steep descents and up even steeper climbs, mud, rivers/streams, and moments of uncontrolled giggling. It is in this portion of the trip that bonding began with the other ladies. Nights were spent in quaint villages, sleeping in beautiful, yet simple bungalows. And yes, the food was magnificent in those villages too. We communed with locals in cafe type settings; unforgettable.
Yoga. I practice limited yoga, primarily because it hurts. Ha. I’m the least flexible female on the planet. However, Amy created a comfortable and safe environment for my unique practice. Once again, Amy’s professionalism and aura of acceptance radiated from her being and encapsulated each yoga practice (the same was tangible on all the mountain bike rides). Each session clearly demonstrated Amy’s thoughtful approach to yoga, personal growth, and desire for me to create my own experience and progression in growth. Each yoga practice was unique–both in location and intention. I learned about myself. I learned about the other ladies. We shared stories about our lives. We shared dreams. We laughed, cried, and laughed again. True and honest friendships formed in these moments.
In summary, I fell in love… with the people, the city, the food, the experiences, the traditions, the mountains. Can you believe it? I road my mountain bike in Oaxaca! Pinch me. It is not a question of if I will return, but when. Sign up ladies!
No matter what your situation in life, take the leap of faith as you will return a different person. Bribe your mother in law or hire that babysitter to care for your kids even if that includes a sitter for your partner. In my case, I hired a dog sitter. Sell your material goods (my “radical” personal move in order to join the trip) in exchange for a spiritual, emotional, and physical experience. Whatever your reason for not going, find a solution, and go anyway! My life changed radically. My soul reset. A fire ignited and I was reminded of my true passions. You will be enriched by the MTB, yoga, culture, the Oaxacan people themselves, the food, dancing, celebrations/traditions surrounding the Day of the Dead, and new friendships. Just go!
Janelle Stewart – Durango
Oaxaca and Dia de los Muertos
In a nutshell: If you’re craving mountain bike adventure, open to practicing yoga and mindfulness to clear your head of modern-day trivialities, if you’re wanting to experience other cultures, are ready for loads of laughs and to get rad, you’re in the right place.
Long-ish version: Dusting off the bike in April with ambitious singletrack goals for the Summer, Fall riding wasn’t remotely on my mind. Then I read a column in Mountain Flyer mag that mentioned Women’s Radical Pursuits and its owner Amy Schweim. After reading about Amy’s vision of empowerment through adventure and building bridges not walls with other cultures, I googled her website. The no-frills Oaxaca backcountry itinerary sounded like precisely my style and I shot an email to Amy through her website. She promptly replied, we scheduled a phone conversation and after chatting with her I determined that the trip was going to be rad indeed. With an achy healing broken arm, I was slightly hesitant to commit but was optimistic I’d be in good repair by the October departure so I sent my deposit to this rad woman whom I’d never met. I was stoked, and then the trip was placed on the back burner as Summer adventures commenced…
About a month before the trip Amy reached out to the three of us who were in. She had wanted to keep this group small, as this was to be the Women’s
Radical Pursuits Maiden Voyage. Perfecto! We were provided with details of the
trip and were offered additional perks, all with the reassurance that this trip was ours and that she was completely flexible to our needs. The week prior to departure frantic emails were exchanged between us all as we scrambled to stuff our backpacks for a week of international adventure. After an overnight flight and a six-hour layover with a nap in a corner of the Benito Juarez airport, I stepped off the jet into a warm Oaxaca day and was greeted with a ginormous smile from Amy. From the moment she picked me up from the airport to the moment she dropped me off at 5 AM eight days later, Amy’s guidance was seamless. Upon arrival at Chicatana Bed and Breakfast,
owners Jude and Ita gave me a tour before I settled into my private room, the “White Room”. Since the other gals weren’t scheduled to arrive until that night Amy and I walked to Tastavins where we each had a delicious salad and shared a bottle of Carmenere. Meanwhile, in Mexico City, Andrea from Crested Butte was stuck in customs and missed her connecting flight with no available flights for two more days. Being familiar with travel in this area Amy was able to walk Andrea through the process of navigating her way to a bus that would get her to the bus station in Oaxaca in the wee hours of the morning where Amy waited to greet her. There are certainly no guarantees in travel but Amy dealt with the situation calmly, proceeded to pick up Janelle (from Durango) from the airport, and we were all together in Oaxaca safely by Friday morning. We had the day to unwind from our travels, familiarize ourselves with Oaxaca and visit Pedro’s bike shop to get our bikes before having dinner on a rooftop patio overlooking Santo Domingo and a beautiful sunset. We were back at Chicatana and passed out in our comfortable beds at a decent hour ready to wake up and ride.
Waking up to the crow of a rooster was the first reminder that I wasn’t in the burbs, the second was the feral kitties roaming the empty lot behind the bed and breakfast. After a breakfast of papaya, granola, yogurt, crepes, and green juice we lugged our packs to where Roberto and Luis, our mountain guides, picked us up and zipped us out of the city. Within an hour we were winding up dirt roads as the air became noticeably cooler and cleaner. Before long Roberto pulled off amongst some dilapidated small buildings where we were to gear up and ride. With helmets and hydration packs and clipped into our pedals we took off down a dirt road and Luis led us to the first singletrack where we quickly dove in. As Colorado gals we love our singletrack- tacky, hero, smooth, or technical- but Mexican singletrack gave us a run for our money. It was awesome to be challenged on different terrain and there were many times on the first day of riding where I was grateful for my time on the Colorado Trail. Hike-a- bike? No big deal. Mud? No
problemo. We were happy to learn there were no leeches, which after a language exchange were translated from “barking worms “to” sucking worms, and eventually leeches. Many expressions and hearty laughs were had throughout our day of riding. We followed a river, had several stream crossings, popped out on dirt roads and had spectacular views. The air was ambient, a perfect temp for riding. Late afternoon we popped out on another dirt road that we followed into the village of San Miguel Amatlan. We grooved on the old church and took several photos before riding down some “singletrack” shared with a couple grazing bulls. I maintained eye contact, smiled and said hola hoping that would lessen my chances of being gored as I rolled by. The shoot opened up onto a cobblestone path where prayer flags were strewn overhead with long views of the lush mountains. Truly surreal. Mas fotos. We finally made it to our digs for the night and were bummed that we were divvied into two cabins. We all wanted to stay together, there were four beds in one cabin so we gladly cozied up in that one. After eco showers and chill time we met in the community kitchen and had a delicious and authentic dinner of soup, tortillas, and tea. Not sure how soup filled us up after a day of shredding but it sure did. Each kitchen we dined at throughout our journey accommodated those with dietary requests. With full bellies, we hobbled back to our cabin and proceeded to practice light yoga and meditation. A fire was built for us and the sweet little girl from the kitchen brought us hot tea that warmed us before we all passed out hard.
Waking up in Amatlan was my favorite morning of the entire trip. We each crawled out of our beds on our own time and tiptoed out the door to take in the awe. The mountain air was cold and crisp and the clouds lay low in the hills. As the white sun rose above the mountains it radiated warmth allowing me to shed my layers- down, flannel, wool. We took full advantage of our spectacular surroundings as Amy led us through sun salutations and meditation to calm our hearts and minds before our shred session for the day. After a breakfast of something authentic and delicious that I don’t remember we got ready for another day on the bikes. The immediate decent didn’t last long before we had to settle our sore tushes on the saddle for a long-ish climb to a trail called something vaca (Spanish for cow). The climb was worth the fast singletrack ahead. I think we all felt like kids again hauling ass on our bikes and during a bano break our Spanish animal names for each other were born- conejo, tortuga, colibri, y jaguar. After some rolling singletrack through the forest, we popped out into an opening where there was a fiesta going down. The little girls screamed with delight and called us funny-looking- creatures-on-mountain-bikes monsters. Another hop and skip and we were at another trailhead marked “Desenso Extremo”. As we were refueling with fruit, trail mix, cookies, and left-over tamales a carload of guys pulled up, unloaded and took off. We dropped in right behind and played cat and mouse to the end. The rest of the afternoon was spent maneuvering downhill and stream crossings before popping out
on pavement, cruising into town and settling in on a patio with a table full of food and margs of course. Dirty and sweaty we piled into the truck and drove an hour-ish back into the mountains. It was dark when we got to the village (forgot name), we stumbled down the cobblestone to our cabins and decided to cozy up in one again. The lukewarm eco shower trickled, I dried off, bundled up and crawled into bed with the fire roaring. Next thing I knew the sun was shining through our window.
With another good nights rest, I hopped out of bed and snuck out the front door to another surreal sunrise on the mountain village. On our own time, we found a spot in front of the clotheslines to practice yoga and meditation. I felt the sun shine directly into my open heart and in this moment was reminded of what a guru told me while at an ashram last year- In the back of the heart there’s a cave, in the back of the cave there’s a light, in that light you will find your true
self. What a beautiful morning, what an incredible group of women to share it with. Once again we were warmly welcomed into the kitchen and were fed a hearty Mexican breakfast to fuel another day on the bikes. We all asked for and had seconds. We groaned a bit as we flung our legs over our saddles and settled on our sore tushes but soon forgot our aches and pains as we were quickly flying down a dirt road that led us to another climb, a couple gates we hoisted our bikes over, and then some singletrack that eventually petered out. We turned around and made our way back to catch another trail. Riding through the countryside was so peaceful. We rode up on a gringo solo hiking who was lost. After the translating I had the thought that I would never travel solo through a country where I couldn’t speak at least a little of the language. On we pedaled and the sky slowly opened up and the rain began to fall. We put on our rain gear and the climbing kept us warm until we had to descend again. Wet, cold, aching arms and hands clenched to the brakes we finally made it to our final destination. Not 100 meters from where Roberto was to pick us up Andrea’s tire sprung a leak and she had a flat in less than 10 seconds.
We were grateful for favorable weather up until the last day, were sad to leave the mountains but excited to head back to the city for the Dia de los Muertos festivities. After settling back in at Chicatana, Jude and Ita prepared a fabulous dinner feast where we had dinner guests from Spain and France. The flowing wine broke the language barriers, sort of. Needless to say, we took our time getting to the yoga mat the next morning followed by filling our bellies with Americanos, green juice, and flayudas at the organic market. We took the afternoon to chill out with hour-long deep body massages for every body before gearing up for Dia de los Muertos. The festivities including face painting in
the zocalo, visiting the Xoxo cemetery where families were celebrating the lives of their loved ones, and another fabulous dinner at a restaurant (forgot name) in the middle of the whole party. We were all pretty spent and walked the 12 minutes back to Chicatana and passed out. The next day we had our morning yoga practice, visited the Zapotec ruins, and had a scrumptious dinner with chocolate enchiladas at Zandugas washed down with mezcal margaritas. Stick a fork in me. The ladies stayed out all night Salsa dancing. I opted out of the visit to the petrified falls the next day and had a relaxing day at the bed and breakfast before packing my bags to go. Our last supper was at Tastavins where we feasted on tapas washed down with more Carmenere. Back to Chicatana for a few hours of shut-eye before we were up at 4 AM to head to the airport and back to our lives in Colorado.
What an adventure and what a dynamic and energetic group of women to spend a week with. I’m grateful for the experience and would do it all over again. If you thrive on adventure, like to ride varying terrain, experience different cultures, are open to practicing yoga and mindfulness and are looking to connect with like- minded women to do it with I would highly recommend traveling with Women’s Radical Pursuits. Amy is well-traveled, experienced, knowledgeable, proficient in Spanish, patient, kind, and can shred! You will not regret it, it’s worth it. Do it!