Mountain biking enthusiast have a reason to smile: La Ruta, the iconic mountain bike race that has been pushing cyclists to their limits since 1993, unveils its renewed spirit in its 29th edition.
The much-anticipated event is set to span from November 30 to December 2.
This year, participants and spectators are in for some thrilling changes and surprises, making the event even more appealing to the international athletic community.
In a groundbreaking move, the race will commence on the Caribbean side and finish off on the Pacific coast. This change means that the climax will be on the third and final day, setting the stage for true champions to emerge.
Commenting on this shift, Román Urbina, the founder of La Ruta, remarked, “This is a dramatic alteration from the norm. Traditionally, the first day has been the most grueling. But with this reverse route, the true test comes on day three. Only upon completing that stage will we truly discern the victors.”
In a gesture of solidarity, SHIMANO will be donating 10 bicycles to students from the Cabécar community at CATIE, Turrialba, on the inaugural day.
The race is set to be a fierce competition, with internationally acclaimed athletes making their presence felt. The lineup includes national champions and elite cyclists from around the world, ranging from Hans Becking, the reigning national champion of Belgium, to the US multi-champion, Tinker Juarez.
In a concurrent event, a side competition known as La Siesta will unfold on the final day of the main race.
Prizes won’t be exclusive to the top-tier competitors. Cash awards, ranging from $750 to a whopping $6,000, will be up for grabs across various age categories.
The first day will see cyclists traverse from Polideportivo to Caño Blanco and back. Scheduled between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., this leg is characterized by a flat, sweltering route, weaving through lush banana plantations and tropical rainforest terrains.
Day two, beginning at 7 a.m. and concluding by 6 p.m., is a treat for mountain climbers. The route takes them close to the Turrialba and Irazú Volcanoes, presenting challenges like erratic weather, steep terrains, and dramatic shifts in temperature and altitude, with breathtaking vistas of mountain villages, cloud forests, and high-altitude woods.
The grand finale on the third day is pegged as La Ruta’s most challenging stretch. Covering 115 km filled with numerous obstacles, from thick jungles to rugged terrains, the racers will set out from Santa Ana, City Place at 5:15 a.m., aiming to reach Playa Herradura by 6 p.m. The day promises picturesque cliffside views of the Pacific coast and an adventurous trek through the Carara jungle, where cyclists will carry their bikes to ford the local river.
With these exhilarating changes, this year’s La Ruta promises to be a race for the history books.
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