La Ruta Race Reflections
La Ruta: The Hardest Mountain Bike Race in the World
Let’s face it: if you’re looking for a challenge, that title catches your eye. Not only does it boast of 39,000ft of climbing, but you cross a jungle, hike through flowing rivers, ride over multiple volcanoes, and battle the heat and humidity of Costa Rica in the 4 days of racing. Inspired by the route of Spanish Conquistadores whom traveled from West Coast to East Coast to conquer the untamed country of Costa Rica a few hundred years ago, we’ll be taking a similar journey, only on bikes! Follow this race report & SRM power file analysis for all the info you need to know, so that you too can prepare for what is said to be the hardest mountain bike race in the world!
Day 0: Pre-Ride
The day before a race, it’s a good idea to hop on the bike and make sure your rig is dialed: cables are shifting, bolts are tightened, and everything is working as it should, including your legs. You don’t need much, just enough to break a sweat, spin the legs, and get everything to normal. For some of my athletes, I’ll have them do an easy spin with a few “openers” or ramp ups to max efforts. For others, just an easy spin is all you need. Today, we took a team of riders out to preview part of the first climb of La Ruta de los Conquistadores, and trust me, that was all they needed. Plenty of sweat in 60min and all the bikes are dialed, thanks to our mechanics and seigneurs of Lava Tours.
What’s an easy spin? Take a look below:
Where yellow = power (watts), red = Heart Rate (bpm), blue = speed (mph), green = cadence (rpms) and orange = elevation (ft)
As you can see from the SRM PowerFile, we’re not doing anything fancy or secret here. Heart Rate is low, power is lower to moderate, and overall stress of the ride was low relative to our fitness levels. The group starts out easy on flat terrain; the elevation brings some natural intensity as the power increase slightly but staying in what we call “endurance miles” at CTS, or just an aerobic effort. We stop part way up the climb to turn around and keep it short and sweet, which was a perfect time to give his “La Ruta Speech” which can be summarized simply by saying ‘You never, ever, ever, give up. You have to be missing a limb or unconscious… don’t even think about quitting. You will finish at all costs.” Enough said. This race is an adventure, a personal challenge for all racing it. Whether your CTS Athlete Manuel Prado going for the win, or CTS Athlete Kurt Helwig going to finish, you’ll be tested in every way possible to make it to that finish line each day, and the person you become through it is someone you’d never thought you’d be.
Stage 1 starts tomorrow; now off to dinner tonight, but keep checking in for race reports and power file analysis from La Ruta!