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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

La Ruta De Los Conquistadores. One of the hardest endurance events began this morning

At 6am Thursday morning at the Hotel Marriot, Herradura, about 3.5 miles north of Jaco, there was a hive of excitement with the contenders in the 20th ‘La Ruta De Los Conquistadors’ beginning their three day mountain bike race.

 

This is no ordinary race. It is the now, world famous coast to coast, three day event that crosses rivers, thick jungle, hanging bridges, high mountain passes, inactive volcanoes and sandy beaches, spanning a total of 240kms and about 40,000 feet of endless climbing. This is about personal endurance.

 

The only race that traverses the breadth of the American land mass, from Pacific to Atlantic is the utter test of endurance and is featured as one of the top ten endurance competitions in the world, in Time Magazine:

 

 

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1869820,00.html

 

 

The grandfather of mountain bike stage racing was created by Roman Urbina 20 years ago.

 

“I had the idea of following the footsteps of Juan de Cavallon and Perefan de Riberia (Spanish Conquerors of 1560) in their exploration of Costa Rica. Instead of using horses we used our beloved mountain bikes to tak us across this incredible country from the Pacific Coast to the Caribean”.

 

There are three elements to Roman’s idea for La Ruta: historical, athletic and conservation. It recounts a journey in history, that tests the human spirit and hopes to raise consciousness & action about conservation.

 

The competition has a strong social responsibility message to participants and spectators alike. They are enforcing a limit to the use of single use plastics, offering recycling for all trash along the route and are working to mitigate the races’ carbón footprint by using bio diesel for their vehicles.

 

They are also raising money for ALCCI shelter for kids with cancer, so please visit their website and give your support. http://larutadelosconquistadores.com/

 

Roman also told me that when the first race took place in 1992, there were only four athletes taking part in the race that was to become the birth of competitive endurance mountain biking around the globe. The race now has 500 competitors from 28 countries with over 200 international top riders. The elite group will see the US Olympian Todd Wells, returning to defend his title but we wish all the best to the Costa Rican contender,  Federico ‘Lico’ Ramirez in his quest to win (again) The 2012 La Ruta De Los Conquistadors.

 

Fourth year veteran John Stimpson from Alabama, USA told me that “even after three years, nothing prepares you for the first day nerves. Day one is the challenge, once you get past that, it becomes much easier.”

 

For first time “La Ruta’ rider Dante Medri, its all about preparation.  Not being a biker myself, I was amazed at the various things you need to take with you.  As Dante explained, “I have  packed three outfits one for each day, a flat tyre repair kit, a special brush for cleaning the mud clogged chain and pedals and the various energy capsules to mix with water to replenish calories every hour or so, we burn between 6000 and 8000 over a course of each day”.

 

When I asked what urged him to enter the race, Dante replied “this is about exploring what your limits are”.

This personal challenge does indeed explore limits. La Ruta day one starts from The Marriot Hotel and covers 110 kms bringing the tired riders to the University para la Paz, San Jose. Day two  sets off from Tres Rios Cartago and ends at around 5pm at Turrialba, Limon. The final days race is very special. To celebrate the 20th year of this epic race, the contenders have a rafting section first thing in the morning down the Pacuare river followed by the last section of the race from Squirres, finishing up in Limon 70 kms later.

 

 

For more information on La Ruta, please check out their website http://larutadelosconquistadores.com/ and give your support. Good luck!

 

All photos courtesy of La Ruta De LosConquistadores.

 

Dahlia Nahome is a wife and mother of two who left the rat race of the London advertising world for the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula .

As well as running her rental business,  www.costaricanvacation.com & www.purasonica.com  (a web radio station playing chilled music 24hrs a day & whats on Santa Teresa guide with her husband) she also enjoys writing about and raising the profile of the Nicoya Peninsula & Costa Rica and has work published on various travel blogs.

You may reach her at dahlia at costaricanvacation dot com.

 

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