The three-day mountain bike race they call the most grueling in the world concluded Saturday as Colombian Luis Mejía won the men’s overall title for the second consecutive year. Mejía, who is the first foreigner in the Ruta de los Conquistadores’ 24-year history to win back-to-back titles, completed the agonizing, 253-kilometer journey from Costa Rica’s Pacific to Atlantic sides in 10 hours and five minutes.
The Colombian rider finished just minutes ahead of Costa Rica’s Josep Betalú, who actually won Saturday’s heat after coming in narrow second-place finishes on the two prior days.
“This is victory goes out to all my teammates and family,” Mejía told reporters after crossing the finish line. “This year was pretty hard. I think that I came better prepared and I had a great race that we ran well, and got the results we wanted.”
Angela Parra, another Colombian who, like Mejía, was on the CBZ Asfaltos – 7C Santa Cruz team, was the top female finisher in the competition and finished Day 3 with a time of 13 hours and 42 minutes, a full hour ahead of the next woman cyclist.
On Friday, Olympic triathlete Leonardo Chacón was helped by two fans after passing out near the route’s conclusion in Santa Ana. Still, Chacón managed to finish in the top 25 on the second day of competition. Chacón, who just had recent success at an international triathlon in Hawaii, finished 14th in Saturday’s final leg.