The annual La Ruta de Los Conquistadores Race is a true test of man and his capabilities. This is for the serious Mountain Biker. Top local and international athletes compete in a 3 day tournament which was first staged here in Costa Rica over twenty-one years ago.
Today, there are other competitive events organized in other countries, but it is difficult to find one that can equal the challenge, diversity, and spectacular beauty of ‘La Ruta De Los Conquistadores’.
In 1993, Roman Urbina an avid Costa Rican Mountain Biker, athlete, and adventure seeker retraced the path of the Conquistadores that first landed in Costa Rica in the 1500’s on his Mountain Bike. The Conquistadors journeyed inland crossing from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica to Limon on the Atlantic coast. Urbina set out, along with seventeen other riders, to follow their steps across the country.
That was the beginning of what is now a world recognized, annual sporting event. The mission behind the event is to draw the public’s attention to the needed protection for the environment and the endangered wildlife in Costa Rica. Urbina named the event ‘La Ruta’
During the first 12- years of competition the top honors went to Costa Rican riders. Entrants grew steadily from the initial 17 riders to 500- competing by 2005. In that year, Thomas Frischknecht, a Swiss champion-rider took top honors and was the first ‘visitor’ to win the event.
The most winning rider has been Federico Ramíre, a Costa Rican who has won the grueling event five times. The 2014 overall winner of the ‘Elite Men’s’ is Luis Leao Pinto of Portugal; the ‘Elite Women’s’ event was won by Angela Parra of Colombia.
Considered by many to be the toughest mountain bike race in the world, the Race Organizers describe it as follows:
“La Ruta riders get a chance to see and hear many of them as they travel through nine of the country’s twelve different microclimates. As the route snakes through tropical rain forest, 12,000 feet volcanoes, banana plantations and tiny farm towns, it alternatively drenches you in rain and freezes you in high elevation. Over every imaginable riding surface— singletrack and fireroad trails, gravel, hard-packed dirt, pavement, thigh-deep mud, sand, volcano ash, and more — the route will have you making endless granny-gear chugs, hike-a-bikes, and white-knuckle descents through and over rain forests, sweltering jungle, steaming volcanoes, breezy coastline, suspended bridges and deep river gorges.
This is not a race for the novice rider, experts often shake their heads as the recount their ordeal in a race that took everything out of them.”
If you are ready for a challenge, and are in the best physical shape of your life, contact the La Ruta de Los Conquistadores – Adventure Race Organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org or call then at 506.2280-5067.
The current entrant categories are*:
• Elite Women
• Elite Men
• Masters ‘A’ 30-39
• Masters ‘B’ 40-49
• Open Men
*Details of the event are sometimes altered e.g. for the last two years there has been a category for ‘Fat Bikes’ added to the list of competitors. Check the Race Organizers for updated details for the next event.
The three day race runs from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast, covering terrain that most people would think twice before hiking over. Competitors cover nearly 400 kilometers of mountain bike trail. A handful of full-time Organizers work to manage the business of race organization annually; over 100 persons are involved in the actual running of three-day event.
Entrance fees vary, and will include breakfast, lunch, fresh fruit and electrolyte drinks, etc. Red Cross and rescue services travel on the route; race insurance is included in the entrance fee. Accommodation for the two nights is included in the package. Sponsors provide promotional material, prizes, and the event is very highly publicized by the media internationally.