Posted by Editor on 10/5/05
La Ruta de los Conquistadores
Editor's Note: I have been invited to attend La Ruta de los Conquistadores this year, and we will be providing coverage of the event and photographs of the spectacular scenery.
La Ruta is not an ordinary race. Every year, mountain bikers face the challenging task of retracing the historical steps of the Spanish pioneers who settled across the territory of Costa Rica, a small Central American country blessed with hundreds of natural resources and treasures.
La Ruta de los Conquistadores covers 320 kilometres and climbs over 9100 vertical metres in three stages. The riders will cross from the Pacific Ocean to the beaches of the Caribbean Sea (the Atlantic Ocean).
The challenge will be not only the confrontation of the cyclists against their principal rivals, but also their clash with the implacable natural Costa Rican environment. It is a trip with memorable climbing in a land of amazing beautiful volcanoes and single tracks in coffee plantations.
And what can be said about the many different climates that the cyclists will experience along with the competition? From the punishment of more than 32 Celsius, up to the edge of the hypothermia that the temperatures produce in the highest points. All in the same day!
"More than a race, La Ruta is a personal growth journey. That's the difference with the traditional competitions of World Cup" explains Roman Urbina, the creator.
"There are some segments that cannot be traveled even in 4X4 vehicles or motorcycles. Imagine what type of event is the one that we organize!!!. The competitors will not have any access to external support and must trust in his their own tenacity and, in some cases, in the help of other competitors", adds Urbina.
Among the riders expected to be at the start line on November 11th are the Swisspower Team, led by world marathon champion Thomas Frischnekcht, the Spanish Champion Alejandro Diaz de la Pena (Maxxis-MSC Team), the 2005 Trans Rockies winners Marty Lazarski and Andreas Hestler (to be confirmed), and the local Pizza Hut Team of Federico Ramirez and Ivan Amador, who finished third in last edition of the Trans Alp Challenge in Europe.
Despite the international field of competitors that show up annually, the race has never been won by a non-Costa Rican. Ã¢â‚¬Å¾We hope that this year change the history!", says Roman Urbina.
A little bit of history
Thirteen years ago Roman Urbina reads about the Spanish Conqueror Juan de Caballon and his 20 years trip on the thick mountains of Costa Rica, in his attempt for exploring the country.
This expedition started at the Pacific Coast and finished in the Caribbean littoral. Urbina - a recognized Costa Rican athlete and adventure man - decided to emulate that long voyage himself.
Captivated by the histories of that Spanish General, he - and another 34 brave adventurers - started the trip across nine of the twelve microclimates that Costa Rica possesses. An adventure that led them to crossing the admirable rain forest, majestic volcanoes, amazing mountains and crystalline rivers.
Roman determined that such a trip a trip had to turn into an annual competition and that's how La Ruta de los Conquistadores was born. Today, more than one decade later, La Ruta is considered as the most difficult MTB race on the planet. The prestige that this competition has gained itself among the international cycling community is the best prize for years of hard work invested the organization.
Now, in the 13th edition, La Ruta is opened for local and foreign competitors as well, all anxious to take the challenge and start an odyssey which secret is to prepare the legs and the mind to overcome three days of hard competition.
La Ruta de los Conquistadores (The Route of the Conquerors) is the most important mountain bike race in Costa Rica and the only one that every year attracts a respectable number of competitors and international mass media.
The 50% of the entries are reserved for Costa Rican cyclists and the other half for foreign participants. Throughout 12 years of existence, La Ruta has attracted almost 2000 cyclists from around the world but, nevertheless, has always been won by a local athlete.
Photos from 2004.
Some 2005 participants:
-Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland)
Swisspower Mountainbike Team
-Walker Ferguson (USA)
-Alejandro Diaz de la Pena (Spain)
To be confirmed:
-Andreas Hestler (Canada)
Rocky Mountain - Business Objects Team
-Marty Lazarski (Canada)
Rocky Mountain - Business Objects Team
La Ruta de los Conquistadores 2005
Day One: From the Pacific Coast to the Central Valley
Start at: Hotel Punta Leona, Garabito, Puntarenas
Finish at: Santa Ana, San Jose
Distance: 114.1 Km (70 miles)
Max. altitude point: 1,158 meters above the sea (Grifoalto de Mora)
Total ascent: 4,526 meters (15,000 vertical feet)
Day Two: From San Jose to Turrialba
Start at: Los Yoses, San Pedro, San Jose
Finish at: Historical Church of Aquiares in Turrialba
Distance: 77.9 Km. (50 miles)
Max. altitude point: 3,010 meters above the sea (Irazu Volcano)
Total ascent: 2,729 meters (9,000 vertical feet)
Day Three: From Turrialba to Caribbean Sea
Start at: Turrialba
Finish at: Mawamba group, Moin Port, LimÃƒÂ³n.
Distance: 126.4 Km. (80 miles)
Max. altitude point: 898 meters above the sea (Santa Teresita de Turrialba)
Total ascent: 1,785 meters (6,000 vertical feet)
For more info please visit: www.adventurerace.com
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